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How to Work Less For More
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When I talk with business owners about building their business, I often get an interesting response... "No more. Please! No more! I couldn't handle any more work; I'm flat out as it is." This seems strange, because many times their business is far from what would be considered massively profitable and by their own admission is often not a fun place to work.

The problem lies in a common mis-perception that 'building business' means just getting more leads. The reality is that business building is more about 'quality' than quantity. You can achieve a better quality of client in four steps:

Step One: Define Your Clients: We all have clients that drive us mad. They might always pay late or complain and haggle over invoices or prices, wait until the last minute to lodge important paperwork, put unnecessary demands on you, have questionable hygiene habits... the list goes on. The first step is to define your clients into 4 classes A,B,C & D class clients. The definition is up to you. You might also find an 'A' class client might be one that always pays a month late but never questions the price.

Step Two: Tell them where they rate: Send all your 'A' and 'B' clients a letter telling them that you appreciate their effort in the relationship, that you enjoy working with them and will always strive to do the best for them. Then send your 'C' and 'D' class clients a letter suggesting that it might be time for a 'new approach'. State your commitment to service and explain how important their participation is in the relationship. If there is no change after a couple of more contacts, you might refer them to your competition. It costs you to work for these clients. You make a living working with numbers... if you make £100 profit on doing a job for a client who haggles, complains and wastes another few hours of your time and then starts on your staff members, you'd be better off without them. In the least they vastly increase the chance of a heart attack or other stress related disease (like divorce).

Step Three: Fill the void: The time you recover when your 'C' and 'D' grade clients take their business to your competitors and driving them mad, can be used for marketing; attracting clients that want to work for you and that you want to work with. Alternatively you could work on systemising to increase productivity in your practice. You could even go home early and spend some extra time with your family or on that neglected hobby or passion.

Step Four: Maintain the system: Its important to inoculate yourself against more 'C's & 'D's... Make sure that your new clients are educated on the fact that the unique and outstanding level of service that you provide for them is possible because your clients commit to participating in the relationship and define what you expect of them. This is an important strategy to get YOU more in control your business, improve your profitability and most importantly, reduce the stress levels of you and your team.
 

Added: 7th October 2010

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