A long-time travel package SMB (small and medium-sized business) client thought about continuing her business for one more year. Her husband wanted her to retire.
But the site’s design was 9 years old (I know, because I created it), which is ancient in web years. Their small business didn’t make tons of money. It was getting harder to drive business to her site as she got more and more competitors (and her site wasn’t made for mobile phones at all — not really a thing at the time). I told her she either needed to commit to her business for more than 1 or 2 years in order to recoup her investment in the site redesign and marketing, or to go with her plan to close down.
An Honest Moment of Truth?
It’s hard to be honest with a client, but I can’t knowingly ruin them in order to make money for myself. I sent her an email that respectfully but firmly spelled it all in black and white, then waited for an offended response. We’d worked together a long time, and she’d been talking about making it her last year (for the last year). It can be hard to hear the truth, though. Instead I got an email back telling me she knew I was absolutely correct in every issue I raised. She and her husband were going to have to discuss this, and she’d get back with me. They told me they’d always appreciated my honesty. They decided to retire. I think.
Your SMB clients need to know that you have their back, and that you’re not trying to take advantage of them. They need to feel like you are a partner in their success. Always keep an eye and ear out for things that could help them, even if you have to refer them to someone else. With small businesses, you become a trusted friend if you do things right. Some clients won’t appreciate your honesty, even if you’re as polite as possible. You might not be a good fit for them.
Do you need an honest partner in your business’s success? Contact me at MindSqueezeCreative today!