“Bagging the elephant” is what we used to call landing the BIG client account.
If you’re confused at what I mean, think Bud Fox getting his first order from Gordon Gekko in the movie “Wall Street.”
For the 28 million small business owners in the United States with BIG GOALS, this may sound like the dream scenario, finding that one big client that will provide you with enough revenue to have you living on easy street.
On paper, it sounds AWESOME, but BEWARE.
The adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies to how you build your small business just as much as it applies to investment diversification.
Because landing that one big account is not for the faint of heart.
Problems, sometimes significant ones can arise when the bulk of your revenue comes from a single source, and if you’re not careful your dream scenario can become a nightmare.
Why Is Working with One Big Client Such a Challenge?
The challenge with working with one big client is that the dynamic of your business changes.
A big company can use its leverage over you to begin enforcing its will on your product design, your core processes, management style or even your company culture.
When you have customer diversification, your customers need you just as much as you need them. You have a great product at a great price, they’ve got money. That’s a win-win proposition.
However, when you are dependent on a single source of sales for your company’s continued survival, you are at THEIR mercy.
You need them more than they need you. You’ve become dependent.
The big company has been in business long before they ever heard of you. If they dropped you tomorrow, they’d go on about their business.
You, on the other hand…could be out of business quickly. That’s not a good position to be in, and it’s neither pretty, nor fun.
They control what they pay, and many times when they pay you. This could be problematic if you have high overhead or employees with specialized skills that would be hard to replace.
If you’re not careful, like our friend Bud Fox they could have you doing a lot things that you are not comfortable with.
What to Do Once You’ve Landed the Big One
Let me be clear by saying “bagging the elephant” is not the problem. Becoming overly dependent on one client is THE PROBLEM.
So, what’s the fix?
Reinvest in your business and DIVERSIFY YOUR CLIENT BASE.
How do you do that?
This is the point where you reinvest your profits in new marketing strategies that attract your ideal clients and build your customer base so that if your client pulls the plug, you’ve got a stable of other customers to carry you through the loss.
When I say reinvest, I’m not talking about tired legacy tactics, like trade shows or a yellow page ads (do people still buy those?).
I’m talking about the most effective marketing strategy for most B2B and many B2C companies.
It’s time to look at inbound marketing to drive your business results.
What’s inbound marketing?
Inbound Marketing - The New Paradigm
Inbound Marketing for business is the new tactic that businesses must use to deliver quality and targeted leads. Inbound Marketing relies on earning people's interest instead of buying it.
Using engaging and interesting content that is created, usually around keyword research, to pull potential customers from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing and bring them to your website or specifically designed landing page.
This gives the user exactly what they are looking for and starts the process of building trust and loyalty.
Then, by adding additional resource information designed around that essential search, you can begin to draw the customer further down your sales funnel and ultimately reach your goal of a call, consult, or free quote.
By the time the customer has gone through your sales funnel process, they are already a very good prospect for your service or product. Closing the sale from this point is much easier, since the customer has already bought into what you have to offer.
Understanding what your customers need from you and then delivering content to match that need, will bring you the right customers and the opportunity to convert them from a lead into a customer. (Source: Inbound Marketing For Business)
It’s Not Easy, But Needs To Be Done
Reinvesting in a new strategy is easier said than done, because the big company might be straining your employee and financial resources to the limit, and it can be hard to grow when you’re operating at full capacity and dealing with pressures from a big demanding customer.
It is, however, what needs to be done.
The sooner the better, because once you move out from the shadow cast by your big client, your business returns to equilibrium. The dynamic shifts once again, and you don’t need them for survival, and their influence over you decreases.
David, a HubSpot Certified Inbound Marketer is the Chief Content Creator for InTouch Marketing and its clients.