Why Small Business Owners Should Avoid the Trap of A Single Demanding Client

by / Monday, 19 May 2014 / Published in Small Business Advice

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In a great blog post on the subject, Dave Schneider related the case of a business idea he had that went afoul because of the picky nature of his major client. Within this anecdote, there is a real lesson to be learned for small business owners, and that lesson is that, no matter how much they can potentially stand to gain from a client, if they are running their business into the ground trying to please them, then they should step back and compare the value the client has brought them to the negative value of their difficult nature.

Are you constantly going over your budget or time-frame in order to please your client? The profit that your client brings you is not actually profit if it is constantly being eaten into by extra hours and resources. There is a big difference between being nice to a major client by throwing in something extra from time to time in order to keep them satisfied and putting in extra work on every single project they give you because they are never satisfied.

Are they stopping you from working with other clients because of their demands? If the growth of your business is being stymied by the time it takes you to satisfy your one picky customer, you should think to yourself if it makes rational sense for you to continue bending over backwards. If in the time it takes you to work for them you could satisfy two or three other clients, then the money side of the argument for sticking with them may not hold water either.

Lastly, are they constantly asking you to change your product or processes to better suit them? If the product that you are offering is not lining up with the expectations and demands of your client and they are requesting that you modify it, then you should probably not be working with them, since what you offer and what they want are two different things. Simply because there is money to be made, that does not mean that the relationship has the potential to be profitable in the long term.

Photo Credit to Crosa on Flickr

2 Responses to “Why Small Business Owners Should Avoid the Trap of A Single Demanding Client”

  1. Completely agree with you that in working for a customer we shouldn’t sacrifice our happiness for that of the customer because at the end of day we end up shooting ourselves on the foot.

    Concerning changing our product for a particular customer; I think there is need for one to take into cognizance, the input the customer is making. We need to ask ourselves: is the suggestion best for the majority of the client, if it is, then the suggestion should be included in likely changes that can help improve the offering.

    However if the suggestion is goins to benefit only them as against the cross board of your audience then you should politely tell them that the situation isn’t in your best interest. Thanks for your article

  2. Interesting article and it rang rather true for me, or it used to anyway. I’ve been stuck in that trap before, and it’s def not a fun thing. But what I have learned is that I have to set boundaries and clear expectations of my clients. My clients aren’t the only one’s that should be able to have expectations, right?

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