Startups Need to Be More Selective with their Clients

If you’re a startup it may be hard to let any client go. But in the real world, not all clients are equal. You’re bound to have those who are your favorites and those who are your greatest frustrations, and sometimes treating them in relation to your headaches will get you better results. Marty Zwilling explored these five keys to being more selective with your startup clients.

  1. Favoritism. It’s a good thing. To give top clients and customers that special feeling learning to play favorites is essential. Going out of your way to do that extra something will speed things along, but it’s not something you can do for every client.
  2. The customer isn’t always right. If you and your team approach your clients with rules no potential client will feel left out
  3. Under-promise and over-deliver.  Master this technique and let your business be measured by lots of action that back up the words.
  4. Don’t hide the secret sauce. With the internet, being the first to share your expertise  demonstrates that you are better, that you don’t keep secrets. Showing your secrets generates trust and reliability.
  5. Keep yourself an inch ahead of your competition. Equal isn’t good enough anymore. Manage your resources (and focus) carefully to be that little bit better, more helpful, more creative so that you and your clients will come out winners.


Sometimes in the effort to attract more customers you attract some less attractive candidates. While still providing good service here are some ways to help them find another company so you can focus more time on your favorite and more profitable clients.

  • Prioritize the stars. A basic approach that is two fold is to prioritize the good. Giving the best clients service first will earn you brownie points with them and give the rest a subtle hint.
  • Eliminate services. Sometimes you just have to say no. This can mean getting rid of current service or when the time for renewal comes along, devoting your energy to something else.
  • Raise prices. Raising your prices equals increasing your perceived value. The complainers will complain and you can take the opportunity to kindly direct them to another provider.
  • Refuse to two-time. You can positively break ties with a demanding client by explaining you have another agreement with a major client that demands exclusivity. Introducing them to an alternative will end the relationship gracefully.


The bottom line is not all customers are created equal and it pays big dividends to use criteria for both evaluating those you have as well as for those you will pursue. Read more from Marty’s post.

Photo Credit: White House Photographic Office Via WikiMedia

About the Author Bill Ringle

Bill Ringle is a CEO, former Apple exec, published author, and angel investor. Through Grow Business Now, he offers strategies and tools to elevate growth for executives and entrepreneurs from more than 46 industries. Bill has conducted nearly 200 podcast interviews on My Quest for the Best, where industry and business leaders share their secrets to success.

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