Over the last few months, I’ve lost quite a few clients in my bookkeeping business. Fortunately I can say that I didn’t lose them because they were unhappy with my service. I lost them on purpose. That’s right, I dumped them!
Why on earth would you dump clients? Clients = $$$ don’t they? Yes they do but as you’ll see further on in this blog, dumping my clients has actually improved my bottom line.
At the end of last year, I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with certain clients. They weren’t adding to my business in any way and were instead becoming a liability. Rather than enjoying our professional relationships, I found myself harbouring feelings of anger and resentment. These clients were basically badly behaved. I’m not talking about their personal habits – most of them were lovely people. I’m referring to how they conducted business with me. I expect my clients to do certain things to enable my business to operate smoothly and these clients continually failed to do these things.
So what things am I talking about? When I begin working with a client, I always write an engagement letter that clearly spells out what is expected of the client and me. We both sign this letter, which acts as an informal contract signifying how our professional relationship will operate into the future. The engagement letter typically outlines that the client is expected to do the following things (among others):
● Provide accounts data by the date requested by me
● Respond to all communications within 24 hours of receiving them
● Attend accounts meetings on a monthly or quarterly basis
● Pay my invoices by the due date
Some of the clients I dumped (or sacked),) were long-term and as such, the decision to sack them was not done lightly. Some of them had become my friends! However, constantly having to chase these clients for their accounts data, responses to my emails etc. and also my payment, has taken its toll. So, I made the decision that this all had to stop. Slowly, slowly as this year has progressed, I have sacked these clients. I am over poorly behaved clients!
But what about losing $$$, I hear you say. Yes, I was concerned about this – losing $$$ is never a good thing! But two welcome and unexpected things have come out of my decision to sack clients. Firstly, I found that I had more time. I decided to use the time to direct my energies towards my “good” clients. I have been consistently and regularly offering extra services to them which most of them have accepted. Secondly, I have been able to accept some new (and very well behaved!) clients who have replaced the ones I sacked.
So basically, I haven’t had to worry about the $$$ situation. Getting rid of my bad clients has opened the door to better ones and an opportunity to provide an improved service to my current clients. I should have dumped the naughty clients years ago – best decision ever!