While your business is in the early stages of development, finding clients might be the biggest worry you have. It can take a long time to get busy enough to even contemplate turning away business but trust us, it will happen. The trick is avoiding damage to your hard-won reputation by giving in to the temptation.
A good sense of schedule
If you don’t already, you’ll soon work out how much work you can concentrate on in a day. Putting yourself into a permanent state of overtime by taking on too many clients can be hugely detrimental to your mental and physical health. And you’ll need a bit of time to spend that cash you’ve been earning!
If your schedule is saying ‘not yet’ rather than ‘never’, let your prospective client know when you are available, so they still have the choice of using you in the future. It tells them that you care about their project and are committed to giving the best to each project you take on (and lines up some work for the future, too). Avoid disappointing clients with slow responses or rushed work – it’ll be better in the long run.
Sometimes this great opportunity just isn’t for you
If, for some reason, a deal doesn’t get you any closer to your goals, or if it just isn’t to your taste and skills, it makes perfect sense to avoid it. In the beginning, you may be taking on any and every piece of work out there. But once you get over the hurdle of starting out, you can afford to get pickier. Tailor your business for the future you want, and grow it within the niche you would like.
Be courteous and polite
Turning down a client in a polite way means that door isn’t closed forever! If you have a good reason for not taking the deal, explain it to them. It may mean that you’re still be able to work with them in the future on a project more in line with your ideas.
Avoiding burning bridges will carry you a long way in the business world, especially when it comes to making new contacts. As we know, bad news carries further than good news, and keeping an untarnished brand name is key.
Have you had any experience turning down a big client in the past? How did you deal with it and what was the client’s response? Let us know your experiences in the comments section below, your stories may help out people who are in a similar situation.