How to choose the right clients and why it’s important
James Nicolle explains why it’s important to choose clients who align with your business’s purpose, vision and values. It isn’t always easy saying no to projects and clients, especially with a looming recession and total uncertainty of Covid-19. Many companies will be scrambling for clients and taking on all the work they can. I don’t […]
James Nicolle explains why it’s important to choose clients who align with your business’s purpose, vision and values.
It isn’t always easy saying no to projects and clients, especially with a looming recession and total uncertainty of Covid-19. Many companies will be scrambling for clients and taking on all the work they can. I don’t blame them.
On one hand, the cashflow helps with growing a business, scaling up, hiring more people, and all the stimulus of the economy that brings. But just like hiring a person that isn’t a good fit for your organisation, relaxing your choice on who you work with has the power to do a lot worse damage.
A company will have its own way of doing things – from how the office is set out, to flexibility of working hours and location and, of course, the coffee supply for the team.
“Aside from the reputational risk of working with a conflicting client, how happy will your team be if they’re forced into working on a project they don’t enjoy?”
At Boost here are some of the considerations we have when choosing who we work with. They might work for you too!
To start with, we have adopted a matrix that we run every project through, asking the following questions.
Is the customer committed to the way you work? All our work is led by agile methodology, and so straight off the bat, we see if this potential client works or is happy to work in the same way. We’ve spent a long time building our business and the way we work – it works for our team, works for our business, and works for our clients.
Reinventing ourselves for one customer, no matter how exciting or trendy they are, is never a good idea.
Can you do the work within the time the client wants? Well, can you? If your team is already stretched to the gills, piling another project on is only going to create an unhappy and overworked team, and probably a sub-optimal delivery result.
Do your recruitment plans fit taking more work on?
How about future work? One of the best kept secrets in business is that it’s much easier to sell to an existing happy client than a brand new one every time. Is it a one-and-done project? Or is there room for further scope to help with your own business scale?
High on the list is ability to do the job. Can your team actually deliver what the client wants?
An Internet meme went around a while back saying “Say yes now, figure out how to do it later”, and while it certainly sounds dreamy and opportunistic, putting your team in a space where they are uncomfortably challenged isn’t a great move for morale. A gentle stretch with innovation or complexity is great, but teaching a fish how to climb a tree? Not so much.
And the final cherry on the top of our decision matrix? Quite possibly the most important. Does the client and the work align with your purpose, vision, and values?
This one is important because aside from the reputational risk of working with a conflicting client, how happy will your team be if they’re forced into working on a project they don’t enjoy? Will you get the best work from them? Probably not. As a business owner or someone in charge of running a company, there are things or tasks you might not wholly love. The difference between sucking it up as a business owner, and making your whole team do it is irreparable damage to your reputation, your company culture, values and direction.
Is all that damage really worth it for that one client? I don’t believe it is.
If you find the right combination of factors that work for you, and clients who align with your purpose and values I’m confident you will see many positive gains across your business. We’ve seen improvements in team happiness (which we measure each month) engagement and productivity, and these all affect the revenue and bottom line of the business, so it’s worth paying attention to!
James Nicolle is business development manager at Boost – which keeps him busy between raising a five-year-old daughter and playing basketball when time allows.