Avoiding Scope Creep and Costs With Clients

Ideal client
Getting clear on what makes an ideal client can help you avoid misery in your professional services.

Yes, there is always more that is able to be done in the world of professional services. If I show you what is under the cover and you can see more, then there are many things that can help you grow your business or become more productive in your work. However, the work has to be accounted for and not blended into current projects.

For professional service providers, there is the concept of scope creep. It happens when the client increases in their perspective and knowledge of what is possible. Their gains in clarity lead to desiring more from service providers outside the original agreement or scope of work. The problem is that the work can be endless and costly to the consultant doing the work. It costs the consultant when more work is added to the mix without (or perhaps knowingly) regarding the costs or providing compensation for the work.

A lot of times, hourly consulting billing keeps the costs in check and clients can understand that they can ask for whatever they want, but the effort and time will be on the client’s invoices. It is a hedge to account for scope creep and makes doing business clear between the service provider and the the consulting client.

For me, I like to have clear agreements and good business relationships. Having a sense of someone’s motives and their desire to get something for nothing is pretty easy to detect. It can communicate mistrust if it is a repetitive behavior by a client. These are the difficult clients. They make it so out of their own greed.

Working With The Ideal Consulting Client

Yes, I have fired clients who have abused the business relationship. If they operate in scarcity and continually try to get something for nothing, then it is a losing situation. Why operate in a relationship of mistrust?

On the other hand, I have had wonderful relationships with ideal clients that understand the difference between work agreed upon and a wish list. They want to ensure there are good agreements in place. They also value my knowledge, skills and the business relationship. They are not takers.

I would like to say ideal clients are the norm. However, if you have worked with people in today’s business culture and the illusion of control and access that the connected economy incubates, then you have likely experienced your fair share of takers. It makes doing business frustrating when compared to the fun and mutually satisfying relationship with an ideal consulting client.

So, much of the game of providing world-class services is having discernment about who you are working with. For the misers and takers, be on your guard, kindly obsolesce the relationship and replace them with ideal clients that pay on time, value your knowledge and that you enjoy working with. Life is short to do anything less.

If you are a client, perhaps it is good to ask yourself how you can be a grateful and ideal client to make your own business soar. How can you get someone’s best if there is mistrust and holding back, otherwise?

In your dealings with people, what has been your experience? Feel free to comment.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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