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Growing with your clients: How to build on an existing relationship

With a growing number of startups becoming successful your company is likely to experience the change of reality when dreams turn to success. The small company you started working with will turn big profits and their business model, as well as the way you approached them in the beginning, will change in some ways. This is a good thing, but we often see the growing pains belonging to each side can cause a fracture within the relationship. Here are some ways to prevent this from happening.


1 - Develop new plans before you reach goals

For the initial part of your relationship, your firm will be hard at work to achieve the client's goals as well as developing a solid professional connection. Prove yourself early, and this can turn into a bit of a honeymoon phase where the flowers of success are budding and the birds are singing. A few months at this rate will most likely reveal what the real grind is going to be. You'll start to see the true colors behind the success as well as the potential road blocks.

The best way to sail smoothly through this transition is to anticipate it and prepare accordingly from a long way out. Understand the expectations of the client and the reality of growth. Don't doubt them, but prepare to be encouraging if they begin to doubt. Conversely, if there is a chance they will grow rapidly, you need to make sure you'll be able to handle the workload and new demands before they come. Map out the many possible directions and adversities that may arise and create plans for each one. When they do come up they won't be exactly what you anticipated but you will at least have a solid structure in place to build upon.


2 - Have meetings from their point of view

Another reason things can begin to fall apart is one side feeling the other "just doesn't get it". The fact is, this is often true. As the relationship grows it becomes harder for each side to be perfectly understanding of the other. The client and firm see things from different perspective, so it's natural for this feeling to come up now and again. As a practice, it may be helpful to hold board meetings and approach issues as if you were seeing things completely from their angle. Talk about the things about your company that make you nervous, cause doubt, and wonder candidly about the unknowns of the relationship. Then you'll be able to see and solve the areas you can work on or communicate better. Understanding from someone else's point of view will help state your own concisely and efficiently, eliminating the feeling of misunderstanding or worry that may come up.


3 - Don't forget where you came from

Like we talked about on monday it is important to take time and reflect on the history. Include growth and progress in ideas as well as numbers in your report. Encourage the idea of unity through a maturing confidence as time goes on. Then include the questions of where you will go and how you intend to get there. Take time to consider the life of the client outside the office too. Invite them to celebrate milestones with you. Know their employees from top to bottom and encourage their brand voice and mission at the corporate and individual level.

Keep a level head and an atmosphere of confidence and humility as you grow. You should have every bit of confidence in your company but not feel the need to overstate your ability or ride on the wave of a past accomplishment for too long. Make sure to approach relationships as long term endeavors rather than stepping stones. In other words, don't let yourself become opportunistic and earn the reputation of someone who is in the games merely for themselves.


Lastly, if you want to last you need to enjoy what you do. Putting so much pressure on yourself and those around you often results in making promises you can't keep, pushing people too hard, and causing internal resentment, resultin in a fire within that is hard to put out.

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