All Business is Personal
Way back in 1999, I took on a new client. Just a few months later, Janet joined their team.
Over the years, Janet became my favorite example of the perfect client. Many of your have heard me refer to her with that title.
She's the one who . . .
- Takes all of our advice
- Openly talks about their technology and budget
- Hold regular roadmap meetings
- Buys equipment when we ask
- Upgrades when we ask
- Moves services to the cloud when we ask
- Doesn't argue about bills
- Pays in a timely manner
- Engages us in all technology decisions - so there's never a surprise
Basically, that company became the perfect client, due in large part to Janet. She strongly believes that technology is an investment, not a cost.
This week Janet is moving on. She's off to her next adventure. And I still do some occasional work for that client. That means I've been with that company longer than any of their employees.
Who is Your Ideal Client?
In many ways, it is the Janets of the world that keep us in business. Great clients see the value in what we do. They support us. They trust us. They make work enjoyable rather than simply bearable.
I always encourage companies to define their ideal client. Some of my requirements are listed above. You ideal will probably have some different criteria.
And I have to emphasize: It IS possible to build an entire business around your ideal clients. There are only three pieces to this puzzle. First, you have define your ideal client. Second, you have believe that you do not have to take every client! And, third, you need to be patient. You don't build a perfect-client-focused business overnight.
Rebuilding your business around your ideal client is a long term strategy. It requires you to be committed to only taking on clients who fit your model. Sadly, this is where most people fall down. Each short-term decision to take on a non-ideal client moves you further from your goal.
Deep down, you know you're lying to yourself when you take on client you're not sure about. You tell yourself it's a side-step or a temporary thing. Or you tell yourself that you don't have any choice.
But those bad decisions accumulate over time. Eventually, you find yourself surrounded by clients you don't get along with. You end up frustrated because they don't take your advice, don't want to spend money, and don't treat your services as an important part of their organization.
Over on the "Relax Focus Succeed" side of things, I am constantly reminding myself that I built the life I have, one brick at a time. If I don't like where I am, what I do, or the business I operate, I have to admit that it's all my fault. No one else built my life or my business. That was me.
Do you have an ideal client? Do you seek ideal new clients? I recommend it highly.