As a business owner- more specifically as a start up- one of the biggest obstacles you are going to face is trying to find the right client. Heck, if we’re being completely honest, you’re probably just trying to find any client. That is completely understandable and it isn’t uncommon. Yes, it’s true. But to some businesses it comes comparatively easy. Based on the strength of your own network, product or service offering or just being in the right place at the right time you could find yourself getting an early lift.For example, my company Steelmark Business Services was incredibly lucky (and grateful) to have had ready-made opportunities presented to us- from friends and colleagues alike- in the early stages of this company. It made this company and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how appreciative I am of their support. But having said that, it also forced us to diversify our service offering at a much faster pace than we were ready for. In reality it probably strengthened us more than it hurt us. It forced us to learn how to adapt early on. And by adapt, I mean we made mistakes a lot sooner on in the process and we learned from them.So anyway, getting your first client through the door is one obstacle. Finding the right client is another obstacle. Getting the right client mix is a whole other complex issue.I have had “gorilla” clients to steal a phrase- both in my past life in the corporate world and in my own business- that exceeded our comfort levels because we knew how much risk they represented. Some wielded a very big stick and others were true partners. Gorilla clients by definition represent a larger percentage of your revenue than what you would like. They can sway your corporate direction, affect decision making, become a resource drain and impact your culture if you’re not careful.But as a business owner, you can’t really shy away from that revenue at that point in the game because frankly, they might be your only option. Rather, embrace them, and understand what you are going to do to offset the risk by diversifying your client portfolio and adjusting your marketing strategy accordingly. This is a good problem to have after all. As I always say, “it sure beats the alternative” which in this case is having no client(s), no revenue, etc.The real challenge in that is not becoming complacent. Leads, clients and subsequent revenue surely won’t always come this easy will it? Not likely. If 100% of your leads are organic that isn’t a sustainable strategy in all likelihood. There are exceptions to every rule, I’m sure, and if you can comfortably sustain that, I applaud you because it means you are doing something right. That is your secret sauce. Write a case study. Embrace it. But ideally, I like to have referrals represent no more than 50% of my marketing mix, if you will. I won’t delve into the cost benefits of repeat business or creating more opportunity than capacity in this post. I will expand on that in a different post.But back to my point…even if you continue to get those proverbial lob balls tossed your way from your network, you have to fight the urge to become complacent. What you know now is that there are probably a finite number of leads in that pipeline.So now that we know that, what can you do about it? Well, it is critically important- and admittedly difficult- to not forget about the importance of the following:Balance your client concentration. Subjectivity and justification can set in more quickly than you will realize so…It’s important to formally schedule time for you and “the company” to review the following:
Risk mitigation strategy
Current and future revenue opportunities
Exploring existing marketing channels
What’s not working?
Cost per acquistion by channel
Define your boundaries quickly. Internally you should be discussing not only what it is going to take to retain that client as long as possible, but discussing the inevitability of that client walking and what that will mean to you if they do walk.Many start ups, small businesses and the like find this out when they’re way too far down the rabbit hole and it proves to be the tipping point and the difference between success and failure.It’s never too late to start. So be proactive.This is the second part in the series “Confessions of an Entrepreneur- The Hidden Truth- One Man’s Guide in the Pursuit of Sanity and Success”- See more at: http://steelmarkblog.com/the-hidden-risk-in-not-proactively-managing-your-client-mix-confessions-of-an-entrepreneur-the-hidden-truth-one-mans-guide-in-the-pursuit-of-sanity-and-success/#sthash.2REemqMV.dpuf