I was talking to a friend of mine recently discussing a client she had been working with for many years. She had a major realization that many of us can relate to and all of us need to be very concerned about.
We were talking about how reassuring it was to have had this client, in terms of financial security, even though she had outgrown them long ago and the work she was doing for them was not what she wanted to be doing now. And of course the rate they paid was less than half of what she charged new clients. But the biggest realization were the words that came out of her mouth next, she said, "worst of all, they've made me lazy".
I can totally relate. Over the years I've had clients that have given me financial security on a monthly basis, but I did get lulled into a false sense of security by having them and even worse, I became lazy by working with them.
So what do I mean "lazy"? My friend explained how this security caused her to compromise herself, especially long after she had outgrown the client and really should have moved on. She didn't bother with business development or even really make as big or as professional an effort with her other clients. She didn't need to grow her skills as there was no real reason to and so on. I'm sure you get the picture.
This came to a head when her work with this client stopped for some internal reason at their end. All of a sudden she had to go out and chase business and she found it really hard. When she started to go to networking events she realized how many new competitors there were in the market and how detached and out of touch she had become. All of a sudden she was the new kid on the block. She had forgotten how to network, how to business develop and no one had heard of her because she had kept such a low profile. Her years of hard work amounted to little.
As hard as it may be, if we have customers who make us lazy, we really should move on. It's not really good for them and it certainly isn't good for us. We all get lulled into a false sense of security, but the longer we keep them, the harder it will be when it finally comes to an end, and every business relationship comes to an end at some stage.
My question to you is do you have a client or two right now who have made you lazy? If so, what are you going to do about them today? Well maybe not today.........