One thing that makes our industry very unique is that our clients are also that, very unique. Unlike some service providers, we don’t work with the same type of vendor or business owner or consumer demographic time after time. We work with a broad range of clients, from accredited universities to established businesses to start-ups. I would say that start-ups are our most frequent type of client, but among those, we have doctors, military members, college students and small business owners to name a few. Whether this is a first website endeavor or if the client has plenty of entrepreneurial experience, there are certain qualities that we love to see in the people that we work with!
1. Willingness to consider expert advice
When a client can appreciate your expertise as a service provider, listen to suggestions and ideally accept at least some of them, it is an absolute breath of fresh air. Having the openness to marry their ideas with our expert advice keeps our team invested, and typically keeps their project closer to the cutting edge. Knowing that we have the opportunity to make a good idea great can be very motivating.
2. Fully funded with a plan
Embarking on a project without short and long-term goals and a plan to meet them is a recipe for disaster, and adding a shoe-string budget on top of that is guaranteed to be problematic. If overages occur as a result of unplanned needs, or when a post-launch plan is lacking and requires additional support, clients are usually left trying to squeeze additional work out of their development team without the proper budget, and consequently straining the working relationship.
It goes without saying, but working with a client who can express concerns and work through project challenges with professional courtesy earns a lot of points in my book. Nothing is ever easy, but staying on the same page with effective communication is possibly the best quality a client can have in my opinion. Appreciating that this is very much a team effort and one that requires frequent and civilized conversations is a must!
The cost of not having an ideal client is simply having to work harder to keep everyone happy. The reality is that the “perfect client” is like Prince Charming, he or she or it doesn’t really exist. So while I wouldn’t turn away work to everyone who I didn’t consider ideal, there are tell-tale signs of an impending problematic working relationship. The extreme opposite of an ideal client will invariably end up costing you money, not making you money, which is important to consider when taking on new business.
On the flip side, the chance to work with someone who has all their ducks in a row and can trust you to do what you are best at is a great experience, and it’s why we do what we do.