Hand on fire

The pitfalls of having one client

Having one client is a risky way to run your business. You’ll 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 isn’t like having a job. It’s a lot easier to lose a client, then it is a job.

Time is always an issue for small businesses. With 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. This involves the need to set boundaries and train our clients right from the beginning. You need to walk the fine line of offering fantastic service but not letting them push you around and determine your schedule. If not, you’ll 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 them. If you have a trusted relationship, approach them, sit down and create a schedule, this could be 3 days a week so the other 2 days you can go looking for more business.

If this client is big enough to keep you busy 5 days a week 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 your time to look for further business.

Most small businesses think they have to do all the work themselves to keep their customers happy, this is not the case. 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 keep yourself the main contact but have your employee do all the backend work.

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.

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