Business accounts (i.e., clients) are an awful lot like bank accounts… You have to be mindful about how much you’re putting in them and how much you’re taking out, or you could end up in trouble!
How’s this work, you ask? Well, generally speaking every relationship starts at a neutral, or “zero balance” level. Every time you do something, you actions are clearly a “withdrawal” or a “deposit” into that relationship account (and vice versa). I’ve seen this a lot at clients that were being taken advantage of by their former vendor… Sure, it was a well established, long-term relationship… But they were extending a seemingly endless line of credit–right up until the point they had enough and cut it off entirely. After that, you better believe they’re ready for a new relationship with someone who deposits more regularly!
There’s an easy way and hard way to keep your account balance in good health. The easy way is to shoot for a win/win, or equal contribution, from both parties. But this can be trouble, though. It’s simple to say this, but harder to weigh which actions are truly equal. End up on the wrong side of a disagreement, and you might be in the red! So what’s the hard way? Make liberal deposits so you have a safety net. Yes, that means going above and beyond, being proactive and putting the other party first. It’s easier said than done, but you can’t overdraw if you’d putting in more than you take out!
So watch out: Every favor, “IOU” and request you ask of another is a withdrawal that better eventually be fulfilled, or you might by overdraw! Some “banks” are more forgiving that others… But eventually, creditors will catch up to you if you’re not depositing enough. And if you’re taking the easy route and playing the zero sum game, know that even a perfectly maintained $0.00 balance is not a very impressive account! In business and in life, smart people save.
Partners, clients and vendors alike are not immune to the bank account metaphor. How’s your business account balance these days?