Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fire your customer

It is most important to choose what type of people you will do business with. Choosing the right customer will make your business enjoyable and more profitable.

I learned this first hand when I worked for a small machine builder. My manager at the time was green and said yes to any work that came through the door. As the least senior engineer, I was assigned the less desirable projects. 

One of the projects was for a guy who inherited his father’s business and had no clue what he was doing. To his credit the company was still running, but not growing. Instead of growing his method was to reduce spending. It seemed to be working, but my job was part of the reduce spending.

Working for this guy was wasting a lot of time. He kept wanting more than we quoted him. I was wasting so much time explaining to him that what he wanted wasn't what he was paying for. When I finished the work we originally agreed on he was annoyed and complained that he was paying too much. This was frustrating and drained my energy.

Contrast this with working for a fast growing business within a Fortune500. This job was fantastic! The business was growing and the faster I finished my job, the more money the business would make. They made every effort to make sure I had what I needed and were gladly paying for overtime and providing me with the best tools. It was a win/win relationship.

I spent the same amount of time working on both projects and used my same skill set. The difference was that one customer was growing fast. For the same amount of time and effort, I was rewarded with praise, money and a happy business partner.

-Spend time carefully choosing your customer.