You need to turn some clients down. Here’s why

In some cases, turning down business may therefore be the wisest decision

There is a temptation to say yes to every client in order to build your business. Turning away a paying customer seems counter-intuitive. However, there are circumstances when it is wise to turn down the chance to work with a client. Refusing business can be the smart long-term decision.

In the early days of your business, setting the right tone is crucial. Finding your niche, establishing what it is you are creating, selling or solving and developing your brand. Landing a large client raises the spectre of them being able to define who you are and what you do.

It may be wise to stay away from the big name clients until you have clearly defined business parameters. Build your confidence and establish yourself with smaller clients. That way when you land the corporate giants you remain in control, focused on your business as well as theirs.

Once you have established who you are and what you do, stick to it. Ensure that the ethics of your clients match those of your business. Reputations are hard won and easily lost. Working with clients who share your business ethics and morals will attract and win you more of the type of clients you actually want to work with.

Like attracts like. Aligning yourself with a client you know isn’t a fit risks ruining your reputation and threatening potential business from other clients.

The quality of a potential client’s product is another important consideration. Only work with businesses with which you are happy to be associated. This means businesses producing a quality product or service, one in which you have faith. Your obligation is not only to your business, but also to your existing customers. Keep them in good company.

Whilst you have obligations to your existing clients, there are occasions when it makes sense to call time on the relationship. Both your business and theirs are in a continuous process of evolution. Your standards may be more stringent; their standards may have slipped. By reviewing relationships periodically, you ensure that your clients remain a good fit for your business.

Saying no or severing ties is never easy. However, in rejecting those clients who are not a good fit, you can make more time for those who match your ideals, meet your goals and will ultimately help your business to thrive.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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