Business Owners – When should you walk away? 6 scenarios

Business Owners – When should you walk away? 6 scenarios

Hello everyone. Traditionally when you start a new business you have a lot of ideas, enthusiasm and of course, a business plan. Lets assume that you are in the 59%* of businesses that survive the third year. This is a great achievement – it seems that your ability to make things happen and to please everyone has paid off. Well, maybe or maybe not. You are probably aware of Pareto’s Principle – apply this your business and you will realise that 80% of your business will be coming from 20% of your clients and conversely 80% of your clients or customers are not the best customers for you. The potential therefore is to choose who you work with and only to work with the better customers. Dealing with difficult customers will always be a pain. It can seem counter – intuitive but there times when you should say no to a possible client or new business opportunity. Below I have listed 6 scenarios when you should walk away.

Dealing with Difficult Customers – 6 scenarios when you should walk away

1. Poor Relationships

Business is about relationships. If you work in professional services your focus should already be on relationships rather than transactions but you will know that there are some clients or potential customers that you do not automatically connect with – the working relationship can seem heavy going. This relationship will not suddenly click into place down the line – the best course of action is to extricate yourself from these relationships and walk away. Instead focus on nurturing those great relationships that you have with other clients.

2. Haggling over Price

If you have a prospect who is haggling over price what this means is that they do not value the service that you deliver. For me, this is a non starter – knowing how much value you bring to the table is essential for any successful service business. This should be a red flag for you – you will end up over-servicing this client and being underpaid. Do not go there. The same applies to those who complain that your fee is to high. Politely suggest that they find someone who can meet all their requirements within their budget.

3. Client asks you to do Some Work for Free

It is reasonable to expect to have initial meetings for free, possibly introductory Skype calls but when an existing client or new prospect asks you to do some actual work for free it is a reason to walk away. You are running a commercial entity and not a free consultancy. Customers who respect the work that you do will not ask you to work for free.

4. Does not Share Values

A lot of credit has been justifiably given to the millennial generation for wanting to find work with purpose and fulfillment rather than looking for fulfillment outside of the work place. If a client of yours does not share your values or perspective this is another reason to walk away. Working with a client without the same values as you will lead to conflict later on. Remain true to what you believe and your vision.

5. Does not pay on Time or Tries to Change the Terms

In our professional lives we should always attempt to work with people that we know, like and trust. The moment you have a late payer within your client portfolio this should set the alarm bells ringing. This act of breaking their agreement means that you will not be able to trust them in future. The same applies when a client tries to change the terms of your working relationship as the project is progressing. Extricate yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

6. The work Required is not Your Core Focus

Focusing on a core activity for a specific audience is a route to success whereas accepting projects that are not your core activity is not. You may not even be passionate about the sort of work offered or it may be something similar to projects you used to do many years ago. Stay focused on your core activity and refer the project to those you feel will be more suited to it.

I have been through all of these scenarios and in removing myself from the situation and following the advice of Craig David I have been able to nurture much more rewarding relationships with clients and partners who truly appreciate the work that we do. Every hour spent haggling with a prospect over price is an hour that could have spent on a more fulfilling relationship.

We hope you find this information useful. Give us a call on +44 845 2264 247 or email us via if you’d like us to discuss Content Marketing and how best to use Social Media to promote your business or enterprise.

Best regards,

Mike Pitt
Founder & CEO – Marketing Fundamentals Ltd

* Business survival calculator here –

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Founder of Marketing Fundamentals Ltd, Blogger, Author & Content Creator