I’ve been running my own businesses now for 21 years.

And over those 21 years I’ve been lucky to have formed some great relationships with our customers. many of course have become friends. Many have been customers since day one, even though they may have moved roles and organisations.

The great business gurus and mentors are often heard to say something like, if you want to go into business, make sure it’s something you really enjoy! And of course, working with great people is a major part of that. People in our own organisations as well as our customer’s.

I think it takes a few years as a business owner, but I find that you develop a keen sense of who might be good or bad customers. The ones that will be a joy to work with, and the others quite frankly, who are likely to be more trouble than they are worth.

These are the ones who change the brief every week, who appoint a new project manager every month, and who try to stretch the scope of work well beyond what is reasonable. These are the companies who also tend to have quite a high staff turnover.

Often, we find we are sadly ‘too busy’ to help these types of companies.
But then I was thinking about another important element of the customer relationship. This came up recently with a new customer. Trading terms!

We are quite used to 30-day terms. Sometimes we’ll agree to 45-day terms. But this customer was asking for 90-day terms? Hmmm. What would your reaction be?

For me, it leaves me thinking they don’t really value their supplier relationships.

Or am I missing something?

Do please comment below.


Rob O’Byrne