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Do you turn down business?

September 10, 2012

I met a client for breakfast the other day and he mentioned (in a nice way) that he was surprised I had turned down some work that he was offering me.

Looking back, I have actually turned down quite a lot of work.

It’s not that we don’t need the money- we do!

It’s great that people want me to do their work because of their confidence and trust in me as a person, but over the past years of working for myself I have relished my independence. – being able to pick and choose who I work for and what work I do.

The reasons I have turned down work?

Last week it was because I felt there was a slight conflict of interest with other clients. This comes from years of working in the law, where it was an ingrained principle that you didn’t act for someone if there was a conflict of interest.

When it comes to thebestof, we have turned away business because we did not feel we could truly recommend someone, or they were too close geographically to an existing client. We are very protective of our clients.

At other times I have felt that I wasn’t the best person for the job. I have suggested other people who I think would do a better job for that particular type of work.

It is nice to think clients would rather I did the work than someone else – that is such a compliment – but I know I do a better job when I am doing something that I enjoy.

Having my own business means that I can take a long term view of things rather than looking for short term results and quick returns – after 6 years of building up the business and the trust of local people, last month was our best month ever.

And my client? He realised it is better to have a number of people working for him, all focussing on the areas they specialise in and enjoy. He has built up a strong team of people with specialist skills.

What do you think?

Do you think it is right to turn away business?

Do you think it is a good idea to have a team around you all specialising in their own areas?

Sara Greenfield

The Best of Norwich
Bright Yellow Marketing

From → Personal

  1. John Burroughes permalink

    Sarah, I am always coaching that you should only focus on those customers/clients that you trust, like and highly value what you are best at. Otherwise you will ‘burn up’ any passion you initially started your business on and find yourself ‘working uphill’. Best wishes John

  2. Thank you John, you always give insightful feedback.

  3. It is really easy when you are a small business to think you should never turn down work as you never know where the next job is coming from. But that can be such a mistake as it can make you shift focus from what you are good at and/or what you enjoy and then dilute your success at what you really want to be doing.

    Great advice as usual, Sara.

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