Is the fit right? Choosing Providers and Clients

In the early days of Kona Impact, we would do business with anyone who came in the door. I think most businesses are like this when they begin–desperate for customers and willing to do anything to make expenses for that month.

Now, after several years, we are a bit more picky. We often invoke what we call our 5% Rule; that is, five percent of the people who walk into our door are not a good fit for us…and for them. That’s right, it’s a two way street. We’re not a good fit for some businesses, and, yes, some businesses are not a good fit for us.

We’ve learned the following are characteristics that give us pause, and taken as a whole, give us a good indication if the potential client will be someone with whom we probably do not want to do business.

  1. We know more about your business than you. Potential clients that assert the time to accomplish a project or a cost of project, are almost invariably way off. If we can’t find a common ground quickly, it’s best to recommend a different provider for the business.
  2. Champagne tastes on a beer budget. All projects have costs, and it’s just not sustainable for a client to expect a business to cover the costs for the clients’ project. In other words, if a client expects to pay a little and get a lot, the business can’t exist in the long term.
  3. We have no ideas. A client that comes to us and is unwilling or unable to identify things he likes and doesn’t like, design-wise, will be difficult to work with. Sure, we are professionals and we do this all day, every day, but we can’t work in a vacuum.

If you’re looking for a web design or online marketing team, here are some things that should make you second guess a business:

  1. Poor communication. If the provider does not answer emails or phone calls promptly, move on. It will only get worse worse and become more frustrating as you try to get your project done.
  2. Limited portfolio. If the business can’t show you an extensive portfolio of websites similar in design level or function as you want, move on.
  3. Overconfidence. Be wary of a designer that asks too few questions or seems to be too self-assured (without a portfolio to back up his confidence), move on.
  4. Unreasonable price quote. If the price seems too good to be true, it is! Businesses searching for quality, professional work should expect to pay for it. A low price often means beginner-level skills, a bait-and-switch or simply a project that will never get done.
  5. Guarantees for online visibility. All websites should be found easily online. That said, if someone promises top placement on Google, move on. Nobody can guarantee placement on Google (other than by using paid ads) and anyone who does is either lying or ignorant.

Selecting clients or providers should be done with great care, as almost every design or marketing project takes a considerable amount of time, energy, focus and communication. We at Kona Impact actually feel that we are doing a favor to potential clients when we ask them to go elsewhere. If we know, based on our experience, that we are not a good fit, we feel it’s our duty to tell a prospective client.