Were you a fan of the TV show Friends? Anyone remember what Chandler‘s job was? Neither does anyone else because his best friends couldn’t even explain what he did. (See: What Was Chandler Bing\’s Job?) As a consultant, I can relate. For eight years I struggled to explain to friends, family, and networking partners what exactly I did for my clients. Then, last year, my good friend and President of The Strategic CFO Jim Wilkinson helped me come up with a good explanation – I help companies clone their favorite clients.
Have you ever had a client that you liked so much that you thought to yourself “I wish I had 5 more just like them!” These are the clients that you enjoy working with, you make good profit on the business you conduct with them, they pay on time and they value your product or service (see Anatomy of a Favorite Client).
The flip side is the client that can potentially bankrupt your business. I’ve seen several growing businesses crater under the weight of what they thought was going to be their flagship client. Possibly a big name client that instantly doubled their revenue, but perhaps also instantly shrunk their profitability. Or you might have several smaller clients that don’t value your service and want a low margin deal, but high margin service. Either way, once you take into account all the hidden costs, you may find yourself underwater financially and your employees miserable from dealing with these high maintenance folks.
The good news is that with a little analysis followed by some strategic planning, you can get more of the best and less of the rest. For the next few weeks I’ll be publishing a series of posts on how to clone your favorite™ client, but for the now the real question is – could you answer the question – “what is Misty’s job” in a Jeopardy lightening round?? If not, please leave me some feedback and in the meantime, happy hunting!