March 22

How to Survive When A Major Client FIRES You

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It’s possible, are you familiar with Trello? The text messaging service where they make it where you can notify all your customers through text.

They have a whole system where you can APIN, and it makes text communication simple. Guess who one of their biggest customers was? UBER.

That made up a large portion of their revenue. Trellos publicly traded. Uber made an announcement one day that they’re going to be building it in-house and not use third-party providers. What do you think happened to Trello’s stock?

It tanked. Drastically, not like five, 10, 20%. It tanked hard. That’s okay; you can’t always control your major customers. You can build up that relationship, but many businesses, especially in the B2B world are going to be like that.

Even in the B2C world, I have a friend, Dr. Fresh I call him. He is as I call the Gurunanda, and he’s talking about fragrances and everything that you can do for like eucalyptus, lavender, essential oils, and stuff like that right? Walmart makes up the majority of his revenue. Even though he’s in the B2C niche.

He knows that if he provides an amazing product or service, yes they could cancel, but it’s a lot less likely. If you guys have any issues where one client is making the majority of your revenue, congratulations first off for getting that amazing, large contract. You should also think about it that way. If you got that one customer, go to their competitors and try to get them as well.

In addition to getting another type of companies to sign on board, diversify. Go after other clients who are smaller, that’s okay, they’ll pay less. Your margins might not be as good. That’s okay. Go after them. That way if you do lose a client that makes a majority of your revenue, at least you have some income coming in.

Make sure your business is also set up in a way where you can cut the fat. I know that sounds ugly, and I loathe firing people. I’m a big believer in where you tough it out and if I had to move back in with my mom and dad just so I can pay people who are working on my team, I will and at one point I almost did. This was years ago, and I was dealing with losses, but I was willing to do whatever to make sure my team members were taken care of first.

Don’t waste your money. Save it, so that way when you have a rainy day, you still have the funds where you can keep going. Then if you have to cut people, try to help them find another job. Go above and beyond, because if you don’t care for the people, what’s the point of being in business? Without them, without your team, you’re not going to have a company.

I learned that from Richard Branson. We were speaking at the same conference in Brazil; he was like it’s not you who builds a business, it’s your team. Without a team, you can’t build a big business. Google, Bank of America, Facebook, whatever company you say, it’s not the entrepreneur.

Elon Musk, he’s an amazing entrepreneur, but he wouldn’t be able to build a multi-billion dollar company on his own. He needs a team as well. So, make sure you try to take care of your team, and if you have to cut them, help them find a job. There’s not many other options other than that, and best of luck.

As I mentioned on a positive note, look at it this way, you did well. You closed a big customer, good for you; you can get more of them. We’ve all been in situations where we lose that one big customer who pays the majority of our money. When I was 16 or 17 or 18, somewhere around that range, I had one customer paying me $25,000 a month. That was the majority of my revenue, but it was my largest profitable client.

The majority of my profit would come from that one client. Eventually, I lost it, and I did recuperate. It took me a while, but it’s probably going to happen to you where you’re going to lose that big customer. Don’t worry about it, just be prepared for it.

It’s not a question of if it will happen, it’s a question of when it will happen. So best of luck to you, I hope you don’t lose them, probably will, but I hope you do succeed and keep pushing forward because you can come on top.


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