Is one big client giving you a ton of new work—so much so you can hardly keep up?
Are you rubbing your hands together in glee at the thought of all the revenues about to roll in?
Congratulations—but don’t get too comfortable just yet. Now is exactly the time when you need to start thinking about landing more clients. “How can I go after more clients when I can barely handle the work I’ve got now?” you may be scoffing.
I hope you don’t have to learn this the hard way, but the reality is that in business, it’s easy come, easy go. And it’s all too easy for one big client to stop working with you, leaving your business with a gaping hole in the middle of its revenues. Even if you’re doing great work for your clients, there are many factors outside your control that can lead to a shakeup. Budget cuts could leave them without the finances to work with you; they could decide to bring what you do in-house or find a cheaper supplier; their business models could shift; or the decision-makers you work with could get promoted, transferred, laid off or find other jobs.
How can you prevent getting caught short? Here are 3 must-do tips:
1. Monitor your business finances.
Be aware of how much of your business’s income comes from each client, and know the “danger zone”—the point at which one customer accounts for a percentage of your business’s income that would be devastating if lost.
2. Hedge your risks.
One way to take on more work without putting your business at risk is to outsource some of what you’re doing for the customer. For instance, if 50 percent of the work you do for your biggest client is handled by an independent contractor and you lost that business, the loss would be cushioned by the fact that you wouldn’t have to pay the contractor anymore, either.
3. Always be marketing.
No matter how busy you are, regularly devote a certain percentage of your time to prospecting for new business. When you don’t have a lot of time to spare, social media is an efficient way to expand your networks. Referrals from existing customers are also a good shortcut that not enough small business owners take advantage of. Using references from your big client as a steppingstone to others in the industry can be an easy way to parlay your experience working with them into new clientele.
No matter what industry you find yourself in, always be careful when it comes to your clients and don't place too much of your company's dependence on one or two clients. It could ultimately hurting or destroying your company.
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