This is the curse and the blessing for an entrepreneur lucky enough to land a big client. That one large client can take your company to a whole new level, increasing your billings dramatically. You’re able to hire more people, upgrade a few things, maybe even expand.
It’s fantastic. And also terrifying. What if you should lose that client? Entrepreneurs with a disproportionate share of their income stream coming from one source often lose sleep at night worrying about what would happen to the company if something happened to that client.
If one client represents the largest slice of your business, here are five tips that might help you worry less:
1. Market yourself to other large clients. This one is the first and most obvious. The best way to even out the business would be to add at least one other large client, which could be easier now that you can brag about that first big client. The ideal scenario is that your largest client become a smaller percentage of your overall billings, while increasing the total of those billings. First though, make sure your company has handled any growing pains of taking on that first large client.
2. Create other revenue streams. Can you add another service line or product so you have something else to sell? If your core business is accounting services for professional companies, like law firms or architects, you might develop some seminars on AR collections, or managing banking relationships. Or maybe you could offer training in Quickbooks or some other accounting software to help companies too small to afford your services handle their own accounting needs in-house.
3. Ramp up just enough. Yes, a large client may require you to add to your staff, company fleet, office space or IT capabilities. But don’t get carried away. Clients come and clients go. Explore ways to stretch the capacity you already have, before you significantly increase your operating budget.
4. Have a plan for scaling down quickly. This is like having a fire evacuation plan for your family. You hope you never have to use it, but it’s a good idea to have it in place. Outline a plan for how you would reduce expenses quickly if your largest client were to walk. You might think through who you would have to lay off, whether you could handle a salary decrease yourself, if you could sublet some of your space. If you were to lose your biggest client, you’d want to minimize the impact by streamlining your spending quickly.
5. Trust that you could survive the blow. This is the most important one of all. Although you can nurture that client relationship and do the best job you can for them, there all kinds of reasons beyond your control that could result in the loss of that account. Don’t worry too much about it. If it happened, you’d deal with it. Some entrepreneurs even report that losing their largest client was actually a blessing in disguise.