I was working on a project when I came across a wonderful quote. It’s intended to be light-hearted, but it contains a spectacularly important message. And rather surprisingly, it also carries a valuable lesson for every business owner.
“Real wealth is never having to spend time with assholes.” – John Waters.
In the speech that quote came from, Waters talks about being rich and how it’s given him the freedom to avoid assholes. Similarly, one of the many freedoms of owning a business is that you get to select exactly who you choose to work with. This means there’s no need for you to spend time around bad customers or clients, (assholes, as Waters puts it).
And that message is really important to remember. It’s important because somewhere along the way, many business owners forget that they have total freedom to only work with great customers.
Beggars can’t be choosers
Whenever I speak about this with a group of business owners, someone will usually tell me that they have to take whatever comes along. And in support of that factually incorrect statement, they’ll tell me that ‘beggars can’t be choosers’.
I then remind them.
- They’re not beggars… they’re business owners.
- And that as a business owner, they need to be extremely choosy who they work for. You can’t build a great business on a foundation of bad customers.
No one wants to work with whatever their definition of a bad customer is. The problem is a natural consequence of operating from the mindset of fear, which accompanies poor marketing results.
The business owner knows the customer is toxic. They don’t want to work with them. But they’re scared to fire the customer. Because if they do, they genuinely have no idea when they’ll be able to replace the bad customer with a great one.
The good news here is that bad customers are not an unavoidable part of being in business. They’re just what you end up with, when you don’t deliberately choose to attract, and work with, great customers.
Here are a couple of suggestions
The first suggestion is often overlooked. It’s simply this. Take some time to describe what your ideal customer looks like. Include as much detail as possible. And remember that you’re describing your ideal customer. So be picky!
My second suggestion is to get serious about attracting new, great customers, like those outlined above. Put a plan in place. Then work the plan.
To help you get it right, I have a free marketing tips section. It runs to over 4,000 words and has scores of marketing ideas you can use, covering 13 specific areas of marketing. I hope you find it useful, my friend.