Donald Trump has certainly made a new career for himself by uttering those words to his would be apprentices. As a small business owner, you might have had your own share of staff upheavals requiring you to utter those two words but what about your clients? Have you ever felt the need to fire them? Many business owners go with the philosophy that any client is a valuable client. Although you could make that argument, there is an equal argument to be made that a client who is a drag on your business is not worth the trouble.
The following are some of the warning signs you should take note of when it comes to deciding whether or not to fire a client:
They love to micromanage: A client/business relationship is built on trust. You are providing your client a service and they have to trust that you’ll deliver on your promises. Unless you have given them a reason not to trust you, a client shouldn’t be constantly looking over your shoulder to micromanage the process. A client that needs to approve every detail in every step of a plan is someone who is going to be taking up a lot of your time. What if they don’t offer a timely approval? Now the entire process is put into jeopardy. A client needs to let you do your job; that’s why they hired you in the first place.
They can’t make a decision: The opposite of the micromanager is the client who seems incapable of making any decision. You present them with viable options but they just can’t decide. Or they are constantly asking for changes, tweaks or adjustments. Often this happens when you are courting a potential client. If they can’t make up their mind in the pitch phase then imagine how they’ll be when you’re doing the actual work? It might be better to cut and run.
They need everything ASAP: There are some clients who are like adrenaline junkies. They’re not happy unless everyone is rushing about servicing their needs. With every project you should be providing a kind of production schedule. Your responsibility is to adhere to that schedule. If a client comes along and disrupts the process by asking you to speed up delivery, then you are putting your entire business as risk. Will it be worth it in the long run?
They question every expense: This is a nice way of saying they’re “cheap.” There is nothing wrong with a client who wants to make sure their money is being well spent but that doesn’t give them the right to question your business expenses especially if you are working overtime to accommodate their desires. If a client is constantly nitpicking money matters, there really isn’t a lot of hope for a profitable future with them.
If you do have to fire a client, keep in mind that you don’t want to burn any bridges. You should always take the “It’s me, not you approach.”