Experiencing a big client breakup can put your business in a tough spot quickly if you aren’t careful. Here are the 4 steps to take after losing your biggest client in order to rebuild your business.
It’s Monday morning. Your phone rings and it’s one of your biggest clients.
You answer and hear the dreaded words, “We would like to discontinue our relationship with your company effective immediately.”
Whether this was a company mistake that drove your biggest customer away or an unfortunate case of running out of funding to pay for your services… it sucks regardless.
Especially when that company provides for a majority of your revenue.
Now, this could be a time for panic. But it shouldn’t be. In reality you have two choices: to let this break your business or to keep fighting.
If you chose the latter, congrats! It’s time to switch into high-gear for the next 30-60 days (whatever your sales cycle time-period is) in order to recoup what’s been lost. Below are 4 solid steps you can take to persevere through business loss.
1. Communicate with your existing customers
The best customers to acquire are the ones you already have! Go through your existing client roster and look for areas of opportunity. Have you offered any add on products that could benefit your customer? Have you followed up to make sure they’re happy? Have you sent over a promotion to keep them incentivized?
These are all areas that if you aren’t already acting upon – you should be, especially in times of despair.
2. Work in overdrive
We understand the importance of work-life balance but sometimes, you need to get out of your comfort zone with your work to make sure your business stays afloat. In dire times, every minute counts. Get your team together and go over OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results) that will bring in some quick business. Have each department write down what they think is necessary for their team to handle. Once you have written down a list, go through them as a group and sort through the “absolutely’s” and the “nice-to-have’s.”
From there, you can put together a specific plan of attack to implement over the next few months. After losing your biggest client, you will need to put in the extra hours to make sure you can make up for what’s lost.
3. Don’t be the source of ‘business insanity’
For us, ‘business insanity’ is the act of doing something the same way over and over again and expecting different results. If you’ve put yourself in a position of client saturation, you’re hopefully going to learn your lesson to not do that again.
Client saturation is when your business is dependent on another business’ decisions. Large clients are always tempting when you imagine the payout, but if they take up more than 20% of your total sales (our rule of thumb) then you’re setting yourself up for potential disaster.
To avoid this, make sure that your client acquisition is evenly dispersed. Replace your itch for bigger clients with multiple smaller clients that will take less of a toll if they bounce on your company. It’s a lot easier to deal with a client loss that only affects 5% of your revenue rather than 20%. While one is replaceable, the other can tank your business.
4. See this as an opportunity rather than a setback
When you’re forced to bootstrap your operations in order to make ends meet, it’s amazing what kind of epiphanies it can bring. Not only does it reignite the flame or desire to do anything it takes – but it also forces you to realize where you may have gotten lazy and ways to improve that moving forward. Losing your biggest client may seem like a huge setback, but it’s your perspective and what you do to move forward that will define your business.
If you prose this as an opportunity rather than defeat to your team, it will hopefully light the fire underneath them as well. Let them know that the storm will pass, and that you appreciate each and every one of them and their efforts to do what it takes by your side.
Want more ideas on how to be resourceful in your business? Check out our blog on the 10 Ways to Market Your Company Without a Big Budget.