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“You’re fired”: We sacked our biggest client and would do it again: Inside Small Business

"When a client asked us to manage a nine-figure sum they’d liquidated from an asset sale, it sounded like a career-defining opportunity to take our business to the next level.

"Today, because of that client, we’re undoubtedly a much better business. But it has little to do with the returns we generated for them. Instead, the making of Alvia Asset Partners has been the learnings we gained from managing and, ultimately, severing that relationship..."

Many thanks to Inside Small Business for sharing Eddie Barrett’s ‘lessons learned’ article: “You’re fired”: We sacked our biggest client and would do it again.

The article offers up a great insight into how ‘stepping up’ and making the hard decision to sack a big client (and taking the inevitable financial hit) can turn into a bonus, helping a business grow, retain staff, entrench firm values and culture, and safeguard the long-term financial prosperity of a business.

Highlights:

  1. Why, even if they are the being the biggest revenue driver for a business, the cost of retaining a client who doesn’t ‘fit’ the business is even higher.
  2. How the best way to demonstrate genuine leadership is by refusing to shirk the hard decisions.
  3. What a business should be prepared to compromise on, and what it shouldn’t.

“It was a real bellwether moment for the leaders of the business to practise what they preached around tough decision making, demonstrating that the right decisions aren’t always easy to make, be it a hard call on a client or an investment.

“And as far as decisions go, it was undoubtedly bold. But had we opted out of making it, I trust that the resulting working environment would have cost the business far more by way of weakened social bonds and employees voting with their feet.

“Back when we took on that mega-client, we were happy to work with anyone. Now we’re a little wiser, we’re focused on finding the right clients, cementing our cohesive team, and offering a truly compelling service. And in those respects, we’re richer than we’ve ever been.”

Eddie Barrett, COO (Inside Small Business, Feb 28, 2022)

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