Scaling New Heights General Session
Joe Woodard spoke during the General Session of Scaling New Heights about 'barnacle clients' impacting your business performance....read more about it.
At the General Session of Scaling New Heights (SNH), Joe Woodard, the creator of SNH and also the National Advisor Network, spoke to an audience of more than a thousand attending the conference at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fl. Joe told those attending how he went about building his own business to “be barnacle free”. Woodard said, “Some clients are like barnacles on a ship, they drag you down.”
A barnacle is a type of crustacean which clings to almost anything it can find in ocean waters (primarily), on boats they cling to the hull, increasing the drag, and slowing boaters down. Joe said, “On a sailboat, barnacles…drag you down…they’re under the surface (of the water)…all you know is you’re going slower and you don’t know why.” Barnacles are hidden from sight, and yet they have a significant effect upon performance.
Joe spoke of the typical ‘barnacle’ client; these are clients who carry-on and whine about almost everything, from the quality and quantity of your work, to the fees you charge; they can even complain about the 'good job' you are doing…they are just never satisfied. (By nature they are not happy being barnacles...yet they can do nothing about it.)
Woodard told of having to terminate his relationship with these kinds of clients in order to grow his business into a success,“I never had anything but a net gain from firing a (barnacle) client.”
We all know of clients that are ‘barnacles’ to our business, no matter what we do, or how much time we spend with them (even free time), they never really appreciate what we are doing. They are the first to call and ask “should I install this QuickBooks update”, and you tell them, “No, let’s wait a week to see how others get along with the release.”
You know in the back of your mind that they are going to be calling you the very next day to tell you about their problems when they installed the update (despite your instructions). You also know that they are going to ‘blame you’ for not being more emphatic when you told them ‘No’; with a ‘barnacle’ it is ‘never their fault’, because as with the crustacean ‘it is their nature’.
On ships, there is really only one thing you can do when you have barnacles…..you have to ‘scrape them off’, sometimes you even have to dry-dock to ‘scrape the hull clean of them’. Left unattended, barnacles can build up enough to not only slow you down, but ultimately their weight exceeds the buoyancy of your vessel and your boat can actually founder. In business, too many barnacle clients can bring your business to a ‘watery grave’ as well; it is just part of good maintenance to ‘scrape them off’ and rid yourself of that client’s dead weight. Then you are free to go, like Joe Woodard, “Full Speed Ahead!”