The concept that 20% of the people control 80% of the wealth was expressed by Vilfredo Pareto in the early 1900’s. The 80:20 rule is worth remembering and applying to many aspects of your consulting company.
You will come to realize that 20% of your clients require 80% of your time. Likewise 20% of your clients cause 80% of the headaches. You need to know your clients and their track records. You know that time is more valuable than money and you need to guard that time carefully.
Every so often, consultants should examine their client list. Your product has value and if 20% of your clients are problematic, you simply cannot afford their business. You face the uncomfortable task of trimming your book-of-business.
These are tell-tale signs of a problematic client:
- Difficulty scheduling meetings
- Client reserves access to decision makers
- Late Payments
- Complaints about invoices
- Client delays review of key documents
- Your profits are shrinking
- Your efforts are not impacting the client’s business
- You are not developing new skills
If these symptoms characterize your relationship with a client, it is time to end the job and move on to a new account. This transition may be uncomfortable, but these clients are holding your consultancy back. Respect your value and rid yourself of those clients. Move forward without regret.