One of the best and hardest things you can do as a small business owner is to start saying no to clients. Potential clients, paying clients. Clients that suck you dry and leave you depleted for your work and their attitude. Saying no is good for your business. The more you say no to people you don’t want to work with the more time and energy you have to say yes to the clients you want.
There is also a conspiracy where everyone is busy and you are expected to say that business is great, thank you very much, even when it’s not. If people think you are too busy you may miss a referral for a client you want.
All customers are not created equal. Think of a transaction you’ve had, a project you’ve worked on that you are not proud of. Why? Was it the job or the client? Was it the work or the relationship?
When we have a seamless project, it feels good. it feels easy. If only they could all be this way. They can if you start saying no.
But only you will know that feeling, only you know who you like working with and how you like to work.
I was inspired, once again, by #Anh Doh. In #Stellarmagazine this weekend he talked about how he was motivated to take up his passion of painting after a good friend died. he said “it made me realise that if I put off ding stuff until I retire. I might not ever get there.” So he studied painting and his TV show Anh’s Brush with Fame came about. He gets to work with people he admires.
So I encourage you to paint a picture of your ideal client. Real or imagined.
Who do you want to work with? People who engage you in the entire process or clients who give you the brief and leave it up to you.
What kinds of relationships do you want with your clients? At length or intimate. What part of the project do you want to ‘own’ and what do you want to outsource.
When you have visualised you ideal client, write a short elevator pitch to use within your networks to describe them. Next time someone asks you how business is – you say – ok – but it could be better if I had clients like… (insert spiel here).
In my experience you have to join the dots for people. Generally we are all too busy to read your messages if they are anything less than obvious!