Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coming from Greatness

What do you do when someone asks for a refund? In small business, how meaningful is a single customer? How do you treat someone when you feel that returning their money is not fully fair? Particularly in a tight economic time? What if a client simply doesn't pay you for services rendered?

Wow - these things do come up, perhaps more often than any of us would like. For me, in the last 4 years, I have been been in the situation of a client owing me money three times. In each case the money was substantial (to me) and my angst over it was significant. In none of the instances was I short of providing value - something had changed on the part of the client, and they were either unable or unwilling to pay me. The first two times I really got upset about it, by the third time, I was simply resigned.

Small business ownership exposes us to risk. This risk comes in many ways, but most often, we are held at our word and expect others to hold to theirs. My recommendation is to realize that a small percentage of projects/clients/customers will not follow through, but the majority will. That being said, when someone asks for their money back or simply never pays you - hold your tongue, take a deep breath and realize that if you come from greatness and simply allow it to pass, it will come back to you in ways you never expected. As I near Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the people who I have touched (or who have touched me) in my journey with Black Marble Consulting. So remember to come from greatness and be particularly thankful for each and every experience.

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