This article first appeared January 2nd, 2012.
I’ve managed to secure one main client but I’m worried about what will happen if they ditch me. What should I do?
Having one client is always a risky way to run your business. You will always be looking over your shoulder for the tap that says, “Hey, I’m off to someone else.”
Having just one client bringing in your only source of income is not like having a job. It is a lot easier to lose a client then it is a job.
Here we will look at some ways on how to wean that client from you and free yourself up to create new business.
There is always an issue that small business face and that is time. As they have limited funds, small business owners wear several different caps.
In the beginning and throughout business we always aim to give our clients the best service. We also need to set boundaries and train our clients right from the beginning.
If we go around to their house every second day and help out there as an added service because we are trying to win them as a client, they will expect this type of service all the time.
You then become bogged down with them and it becomes like a job without the holiday benefits and sick pay.
If you currently have one client that is taking all your attention you need to very carefully re-train them. This will involve setting boundaries. It will not happen in the first week nor do you want to be abrupt with it.
If you have a trusted relationship, I would suggest approaching them to sit down and create a schedule on meetings and providing your services, this could be three days a week. Try to include a Saturday so you have the other three weekdays to go looking for more business.
If this client is big enough to keep you busy five days a week for 12 hours per day, you do not want to be losing them and you may need to look at employing a staff member to help you keep your current customer happy and free up some time to look for further business.
Most small business think they have to do all the work themselves to keep their customers happy, this is not the case as long as you have someone you trust.
You just need to make yourself available, you need to be able to take phone calls and answer their questions and show your face at meetings and the rest of the time have your staff doing the work that keeps them happy. You will, however, need to attend to the larger stuff.
One of the biggest skills you can learn is delegation, master this and you will have all the time in the world to source new clients.
However, don’t forget you still need to oversee and review to make sure the work is done correctly.
Don’t forget, big businesses started off small as well and know the struggles you face. They are also aware that one person can’t do everything, hence why they delegate and have staff.