The above statement may seem ridiculous at first glance. Not to mention counterintuitive. Every single business owner needs as many clients as they can possibly get right?

Right… EXCEPT the wrong ones.

Now here’s something even more counterintuitive…

By the wrong clients, I’m not necessarily referring to people who don’t need your services.

Unfortunately, I have vast experience in this area. The circumstances of life and marriage caused me to take on clients that were waving checks at me. It (temporarily) solved my immediate money issues. There were only five problems:

  • They were not the kind of clients that advanced the goals and objectives of my company.
  • They were not long term clients so repeat business was highly unlikely.
  • The money they paid me was not concurrent to the many hours needed to do the necessary work.
  • They were unpleasant, difficult, dishonest and since one of them was “family” they had no qualms about crossing professional boundaries (calling at any and all hours of the night, demanding that I go well above and beyond what anyone would consider reasonable service)
  • They had very little money.

The fault lies with me. I, as the leader, allowed my former company to go off the rails for one very simple reason. I took on clients who paid my immediate bills but destroyed my business. Taking on these types of clients also led to the dissolution of my marriage, my financial stability and my self-esteem. The worst part is that subconsciously, I knew what I was doing and didn’t put a stop to it.

I want to help leaders who are in the same position I was to avoid the mistakes I made. We all have or have had clients who are not good for us or our businesses. Conversely, we all have clients that have helped our businesses grow and prosper. As simple as it sounds, one of the key functions a leader must do is to focus and nurture their best clients and get rid of (I did say get rid of) the bad ones. Fast!


The exercise below is one of the most important a leader can do. It should be done at least every quarter. Take two sheets of paper. On one sheet, list your best clients. On the second sheet, list your most difficult clients. Here are some key questions to ask as you go along:

  • Does the client pay? On-time? (Anyone can run into a cash crunch. It happens. When it becomes chronic, a red flag should go up)
  • Once you have completed your work for the client, will they come back? (Otherwise known as repeat and recurring revenue)
  • How much revenue does this client add to your bottom line?
  • Is this client a prototype for your company?
  • Are they pleasant to work with?
  • Do they communicate effectively with you and do you do the same with them?
  • When issues have arisen, has this client worked well with you to resolve them? (If not, I’d advise you to get rid of them quickly. Troublemakers cause trouble for the fun of it.)
  • Will this client potentially refer others to you?
  • Do you have a history with this client? (It’s always a good idea to be extra loyal whenever possible to a client of long-standing.)

These are vital questions to the overall health of your business. As the leader, you are obligated to yourself and your team to make sure you come up with the right answers to these questions. They are not always easy questions to answer. They are crucial. By not answering these questions properly, I failed as a leader when I ran my last company. I don’t want to see that happen to you.

Please send me an email or drop me a line if you are struggling with this process. I’ve been there and I can help. Good Luck!

#Leadership #Success #Coaching