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The impact of bigger clients.

I reckon if you surveyed business owners, at least half of them would be looking to work with bigger clients.

When you first start up your new enterprise, the priority is survival. And that means you probably sign some clients that you know will be a nightmare. We've all had them!

But as your business starts to grow, and the nightmares build up, you find yourself striving for the golden egg that is the 'big client'.

In my own business, I did just that. I kissed a few frogs in the early days, but actually also worked with some smaller clients that stayed with us all the way to the end. But, as we grew the size of our clients, life got much, much, much easier.

In this blog I'm not going to tell you how we signed the bigger clients. Why not? Because I've already done it in various other blogs (here for example).

Instead, I'm going to cover what impact the move from small to large clients had on me, the wider team and my business.

Bigger clients = bigger showrooms.

On me

Lets face it. Running a business is an emotional rollercoaster. And few things can torture those emotions like a client can.

There is something incredibly delicate about a small client. They are themselves experiencing the ups and downs of business and your fate lies within those peaks and troughs.

On a lot of occasions I would look through our list of clients and feel very confident that everyone was happy, and there were no risks of resignations.

And then boom. 3 resign at once.

"You guys are doing a great job, we're just shifting strategy"

"We've had our funding pulled"

"Can we pause our contract"

You know the messages. Usually sent at 5pm on a Friday to ensure maximum disruption to your life.

Well let me tell you something. Big clients. The ones that are paying you far more money. They don't just pause their contracts out of the blue. They don't suddenly shift strategy. They just don't have time! Things happen slower in bigger companies, and that can be beneficial as a supplier of those companies.

In a smaller client you tend to be dealing with the person who's money you're taking.

In a bigger client you're working with someone that controls a budget that they want to spend in order to make themselves look better.

A much different dynamic. And a much more enjoyable one to navigate.

Once we started signing bigger clients, I was far more confident that our contracted revenue was safe and that even if a client wanted to leave, we'd have a chance of getting them to change their mind.

In summary, bigger clients equalled much better mental health!

On the team

There are exceptions of course, but in general I found there was a big difference for the team when they worked with small clients or big ones.

Small clients felt like we were working for them.

Big clients felt like we were working with them.

The early team at my agency were very resilient and managed the relationships with our smaller clients brilliantly. But you can't scale up a team hoping that people will be OK with being shouted at, or have strategies change every week.

As soon as we shifted to bigger clients, the team started asking to work on clients when we won them. Rather than keeping their head down when the sales bell rang!

Bigger clients give people opportunities to grow in their careers, and achieve much bigger things. They can also feel pride when they tell their friends who they work with.

In summary, bigger clients equalled a happier, more ambitious and fulfilled team.

On the business

Success breeds confidence. And confidence attracts success.

As soon as we won one or two big clients, we felt like we could win them all.

Sounds corny. But it's true.

The confidence that we gained from winning the first bigger clients really shifted the mindset of the business. We went into pitches expecting to win. We really believed that the client should pick us because we could do the best job. And, being able to show that we were working with household name brands also put us on more radars, to deliver more pitches.

Plus of course there's the money.

Bigger clients get more value from the work you do, and can therefore pay more.

But don't mistake a big client for someone paying a large fee.

Instead think of it as someone that could pay a large fee.

Our largest client started off paying us just £2,000 for a training session. They went on to pay us £50k+ per month.

Big clients have budgets everywhere. So if you can win them, and build their trust then the further opportunities are almost endless.

In summary, bigger clients equalled more confidence to win more clients and grow the ones we had.


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