In Six Words, Some of the Best Business Advice Ever
August 25, 2012 18 Comments
I don’t remember who said it to me first, many years ago, but the advice has always stuck with me:
What does this mean? Simply this: there is business you can take on that will likely hurt, not help you.
We are all tempted to take on certain clients and projects because of one overriding factor: Revenue. I’d like to suggest that you make each of those decisions based on a different factor: Purpose.
Here are examples of business that may NOT be good business:
- Taking on a project with a client who is hard-nosed, and/or cheap, and/or indecisive. There is such a thing as a bad client. Avoid – let some less wise competitor suffer.
- Taking on a project that has very poor definition, and in which you cannot seem to get more information. This will become a moving target of scope creep that will frustrate you for months on end – guaranteed.
- Taking on a project that is a good bit out of your sweet spot, with an existing client. Don’t endanger the relationship with a high-risk-of-failure attempt to keep all the client’s dollars to yourself. Short-term gain often equals long-term loss.
- Taking on a project or client that moves your company and its resources into a direction that you really don’t need to pursue. Rabbit trails waylay any kind of focused growth and dilute your message.
- Taking on a project or client despite warning bells of good judgment and conscience. Don’t let dollars delude you into ignoring your better instincts.
- Trying to compete in an area where you are just one of many potential suppliers, and your offering cannot rise above a commodity level. Find a more narrow niche that you can dominate.
Over and over again, as I’ve counseled small business owners and consultants, I’ve heard the tales of woe that result from pursuing or taking on not-good business. The best way to avoid this trap: have a clearly-defined purpose and highly-focused offering (including the clients you wish to pursue) so that you have a solid basis on which to say no. Otherwise, you’ll dilute your efforts by chasing (ultimately) unprofitable revenue. And that’s a game at which nobody can win.
What would you add to the list? Put your lessons in the comments!
Do you need a clearer purpose and message? Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy!
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