You’re thinking I must be the Scrooge of agency life — suggesting you fire someone during the holiday season. It will ruin their Thanksgiving and the rest of their year. No one hires during the holidays.
Relax — I am not talking about one of your employees. If they’re doing a good job — send them a note this week telling them how grateful you are that they’re part of your team. If not — then you’re like most agency owners and you’ll hang onto them for another six months before they drive you to the brink and you finally fire them.
I’m actually talking about firing a client. Yes…a revenue producing client.
Every agency has at least one client that is:
- Tough on employee morale
- Demanding without being equally appreciative
- A bad planner which means their emergencies become yours
- Drags projects on and on, burning through any hope for profitability
- Always nitpicking every invoice or project authorization
- Keeping you from pursuing a better client in the same category or industry
You keep them on for cash flow. Or because they’ve been a client for a long time or maybe because they’re a marquee name and you like the recognition. Whatever your reason is — it’s not good enough. Those kinds of clients are wearing. They beat up your staff, teach them bad habits (like complaining about the clients), will drive your best employees away and are a huge boulder in the path of you getting a bigger, better client.
Yes, it’s scary to fire a client when they generate a healthy income for your agency. Or in many cases, maybe the income isn’t really there but they help with cash flow. When was the last time you actually looked at the numbers? That make be the slap in the face you need to realize this client isn’t serving your agency, it’s just got you and your team in a position of servitude.
Here’s what will happen when you fire that client.
- They ask why and actually work towards being a better client.
- They go away which gives you the time and freedom to pursue a bigger, better client in that category
- Your employees will be thrilled and appreciate that you stood up for them over the all mighty dollar
- Your new business efforts will get a kick in the butt to motivate you to pursue targets more aggressively and more consistently
- You will feel good about taking care of the agency and not selling out for a buck
I’ve never known an agency to regret firing a client, once they got up the courage to do so. This isn’t something you should do every month or without serious thought. But, you know in your hearts of hearts that you have a client that really needs to go. It’s time.
Step up and do the right thing. Fire someone today.