Walk Away

by Bob Poole on February 10, 2010

A bit of advice if you're thinking of starting your own business. Sometimes you won't be able to choose who you work with. But, if you decide to coach, consult or mentor others, you have a choice and you need to think very carefully about it.

A friend from Australia is considering launching a new consultancy to help companies greatly improve their customer experience – or guest experience if you are in the hospitality business. She wanted my advice as a friend and as someone who has been providing these types of services for 25 years.

The most important piece of advice I gave her was to choose carefully who she agrees to work with. That might sound strange when you are just starting out and are looking for any kind of work from anyone. Shouldn't you accept the job and take the money even if you're gut says this client isn't right for you?

NO!

You will not be happy. The client is not likely to be happy. And, you'll leave the engagement feeling like you got too close to a black hole and it just sucked all the creativity and energy out of you.

When your gut says tells you to walk – walk. After first talking with some prospects, I've realized their way of conducting business or even their business ethics are not in alignment with mine. I nicely walk away. I've seen prospects publicly berate their staff (sometimes family) while telling me about how they need to do something about attracting more talented employees. I walked. And, I've been asked if I would be open to padding an invoice and splitting the money with the client. I ran.

Life is too short to spend it with people who make you feel the way I described.

You know what I'd do. Now, you have to make your own choice. 

Photo compliments of Jeremy Brooks

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi Kaplan February 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I had an experience similar to yours. They were as an employee (not a consultant). Several printers offered kickbacks, or padded invoices (for which they’d buy me lunch).
No thanks.
P.S. Snowing nicely here. Got shovels?

Bob Poole February 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm

@Jodi – that one was eye-opening for me at the time. More of that goes on that you even want to think about. It has been snowing heavily here for the last 21 hours and we have gale force winds and blizzard conditions. This one is going to take a while to clean up. Philly area got hammered and I have the dubious distinction of living north in the eye of it. Happily, neighbors and kids have stopped by to clean walkways and drives. But, they fill back in as fast as you shovel.

Peter February 11, 2010 at 11:58 am

Absolutely, Bob! You’re 100% correct. Not only will it suck the juices from you but it has the possibility of creating such a negative experience for everyone that referrals that should be positive slide towards the negative.

Bob Poole February 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm

@Peter – great to see you here! Peter is someone I want to introduce to the Water Cooler gang so please take a look at this website. http://keadydidit.com/. I think you’ll enjoy. And, one day with Pete’s permission, I’ll share his story here.

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