When a client dumps you: Hard lessons for a small business when a client fires them

During the 7 years of my coaching practice, I’ve been lucky that I’ve only lost a couple of clients. Each time that it happens I’m reminded again of the lessons that I’ve learned and I hone my skills and services to be that much better. If you want to grow your small business, do yourself a favour and learn from my mistakes. Here they are:

  1. When the client isn’t getting results, no matter how good your relationship seems, the client might resent you.
  2. When the client is frozen in inaction, stop all attempts to move forward until the core of the problem is resolved. Refer to therapy if problem is rooted in the past.
  3. Unless a milestone of success happens, do not ask a client for a referral.
  4. Do not become friends with a client. Some can handle it, some can’t. You may not be able to handle some.
  5. Specify right up front and in writing, the scope and method of what your service entails and doesn’t entail. Leave no doubts.
  6. Learn to spot a mismatch of styles in the initial meeting before the contract is signed.
  7. If there’s an issue that comes up that is strange or different upfront—let them go with no further questions. The situation will only get worse for both of you if you don’t.
  8. Re-evaluate the relationship every other month and talk about what’s working well and what isn’t for both of you so that you can course correct. Avoid nasty surprises at the end of the contract.
  9. Do not go above and beyond the call of duty unless the client is progressing well. If they’re stuck and you’re carrying them, they won’t thank you for it in the end.
  10. Don’t soft-soap or coddle clients who aren’t getting it done. Tell it like it is right up front that they’re letting things slide. If you let them keep sliding, they will hold you responsible later.

When a client who wasn’t happy leaves, it makes room for you to get a new one who will be a much better fit for you and you will continue to experience the joys of growing both your small businesses together.  

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!


  1. Great advice Chala
    I just fired a client because something strange came up at the first meeting.
    Never regretted it.

    • Oh that sounds great. I’d love to find out more so we can all watch out for it!



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