The perfect client would be one you work with for the life of your business, and in order to do this you need to be better than your competition and maintain a great relationship with your client. You should develop a reputation for honesty and integrity with everyone you work with, and treat every client you have as special – thank them and reward them on holidays and special occasions.
Keep your promises and deliver on time
The fastest way to damage a relationship with a client is to over extend yourself not be able to keep up with your promises. It is much better to underpromise and over deliver, and be sure to make good on all and any mistakes, or you risk losing your customers in the long term.
If you are finding that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything on your to do list done, why not consider sub-contracting some of your admin or non-core tasks. There are many virtual solutions who offer admin support, and outsourcing social media or website design to someone who knows how to maintain this better than you could, is a no brainer! You can even have family members or friends doing these tasks, and whatever you pay them is deductible as a business expense, and leaves you time to focus on growing your business and looking after your clients projects.
Ensure everything you do is helping your business objectives. It is easy to get distracted by the latest software, branching out into a new industry, just because it is being hailed as the newest, greatest thing. Stay focussed, and stay disciplined. Delay immediate gratification for a greater reward down the road, reinvest in your business rather than taking all profit out to spend personally.
As well as being focussed on your objectives, you should also embrace industry innovations on pricing, branding, social media etc. It takes being flexible to try these new things and make adjustments to your business when something works or doesn’t work. Be curious about what is happening in your industry, listen to podcasts, watch TEDtalks, be interested in what other contractors are saying. There is always something new to learn.
Don’t let your business become your entire life. If you are working long hours and putting all your energy into work then it leads to a decline in physical and mental health. We all need a well balanced diet, and to make time to exercise. Many contractors work remotely which means all the time you save commuting can be spent with family, or going to the gym, or relaxing with a book.
Neil is co-founder and CEO of ten80. With a strong background in SAP, Neil has worked as an end user, a consultant and as a contractor. He set up ten80 to allow clients to access the best SAP resources worldwide, and save money in the process.
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