The three types of clients every small business person should avoid


Friday, July 21, 2017

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Here is a description of the three types of clients that every small business person should try to avoid.


This person comes to you on the Friday before the Wednesday night the project is due. He tells you that he “needs you to literally work a miracle”.

Though you may be tempted to help, taking this project has quite a few dangers. First of all, the fact that this project is rushed could suggest that someone else had embarked upon it, but could not complete the task. This could mean that the task is simply too much to complete in such a short time frame. In addition, projects on limited time usually require a bigger budget to maintain a high level of quality. Before you start work, be sure the client is clear on this. If not, you may spend sleepless nights and countless hours working on a project, even though the client won't take such sacrifices into consideration when it's time for remuneration.


Everyone tries to get the best price possible for a service rendered. So it is not surprising if a client attempts to drop your price or asks for a discount. However, when a potential client seems determined to reduce your asking price significantly and unreasonably, this could be a bad sign, and I suggest it may be best to walk away.


The client's actions could firstly show that he simply does not see the value in your work. If he believes that your work is worth only a fraction of what you charge, you may have an issue receiving payment after completion. I've heard countless stories of clients who agreed to one price, but then simply refused to pay the balance after completion. In their minds, the work was never worth the price. They have not yet understood the value that your product or service offers to them. Or maybe, even if they see it, they really just want to get the best value at the lowest possible price. This is known as “champagne quality on a beer budget”. It is a mindset issue, not a budget problem.

These clients also tend to be particularly demanding. Even though they request a reduced rate, they generally want the best possible quality of service. This can cause issues when the project is over or the product is delivered and they realise that cuts or adjustments have been made. If you do decide to take the project, be sure to let them know that when the price is adjusted, so should their expectations. Inform them of what any price adjustment would equate to in terms of service. With that 30 per cent discount, is it that they get only email access instead of a private weekly meeting? Let them know early and up front.


The client who doesn't follow your professional recommendation can be particularly challenging. You may spend hours sitting with him, discussing strategy, making plans, outlining objectives. You then give instructions, which are either not followed, or totally replaced with what he considers best. Here one of two things is happening.

This client knows what he wants, but has not quite accepted that you are the expert. He still has a need to manage and control each step you take. If you have such a client, bring him on board in the planning stages; otherwise this could turn into a constant back-and-forth process to make minuscule changes.

Another version of this client is the one who honestly has no time to do what you are instructing him to do. He is either too busy, or in some cases has no interest.

If you are a service-based business who depends on the results of your clients to sell your services, the solution is probably to either encourage them to trust you and hand over the reins, or to avoid working with them. A client who is cooperative and follows through gets better results for himself and for you.

Finally, in business, not every client is your ideal client, and not every client who can afford you is a good client. Similarly, not every eligible person of the opposite sex is your ideal partner. A good client-service provider/business relationship, if well handled, will produce excellent results for the client, satisfactory remuneration for the business or service provider, and can be long and enduring, often spanning years. Do your part; give your clients the best possible service. But also learn when to walk away from a client, even for a while, until he understands clearly what he wants and precisely what you have to offer.

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