How and When to End Your Business Relationship

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Breaking up is hard to do but sometimes it has to be done. I've had a few of my own moments where I was torn doing what I know needed to be done and needing help getting through to some real "toughies". Either way, it was worth going through the process.

When it comes to being a Solopreneur, there are times it becomes necessary to end a business relationship. This could involve a client or business partner. It doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with the person as a human being, but it may mean that you’ve both outgrown each other or will simply never see eye-to-eye. Or even some other reason may have arisen that causes you to want to end the relationship and cut business ties.

I've experienced a few scenarios where this was the case and I'm happy to say they have been very few and far in-between. Either way, when those times popped up they had to be dealt with as quickly as possible. If you are going through the same issues or found this article before having your own experiences, check out some reason why it is good to end a bad business relationship and how to get things done – professionally.

Reasons to End a Business Relationship

  • You’re Suffering from Scope Creep – When you started with the client, you had well-defined responsibilities which you’ve allowed to get out of control. You’re now doing work far outside of your niche and you don’t enjoy it. You’re not being paid enough to outsource, and you’re starting to feel resentful.
  • They Make Unreasonable Demands – Remember that what is unreasonable to you is reasonable to them, so it’s best not to confront them on this behavior but rather try to set limits. If you try to set limits and they won’t let you, it may be time to end the relationship because you are a bad fit.Bklyn Custom Designs bcd-breaing-up-in-business-blog
  • They Keep Trying to Make You Reduce Your Rates – Anyone who agrees on a rate then keeps trying to talk you down, doesn’t respect your business. They may even think of you as an employee or a liability instead of a partner in their business, which may cause them to feel resentful of paying you at all. If the issue of pay comes up a lot, it may be a good idea to move on.
  • They Are Slow Payers – Any client who won’t pay on time on a consistent basis is a liability to your business and your cash flow. As a service provider, you need to get paid for the work you do on time. If you have an agreement to get paid in a certain way, you should get paid. Give your client a warning and set a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” Rule.
  • They Don’t Listen – When a client hires you as an expert in your niche but they will not listen to anything you have to contribute, yet they still want you to be responsible for ROI, you have a serious problem that has to be fixed. If you cannot fix it, let them go.
  • They Are Unresponsive – If you ask for information and they won’t ever give it to you or are often late with the information, and it affects how you perform your duties, it may be best to let the client go. Their unresponsiveness can ruin your schedule and affect not only the work you do for them but also the work you do for others.
  • They Are Disrespectful – You know when someone shows you contempt or disrespect. You are a business owner now and you don’t need to put up with any of that. When you feel as if someone is disrespecting you, ask them if they’re saying what you think they are saying so that they can clarify. If they are being disrespectful, it’s time to part ways.

The Best Ways to End the Business Relationship

  • Look at Your Contract – Check the contract to see what the rules and methods of ending the relationship are and stick to that.
  • Keep It Business Related – Even though sometimes ending a client relationship feels personal, it’s best if you don’t get personal but keep it all business. Only address business things in your notice. Don’t get personal. If you must be vague rather giving details remember to keep it professional.
  • Give Notice – In most cases, it’s best to give notice according to the contract. Usually, you can safely give a month’s notice, which is longer than a typical employee relationship because it may take them time to find a replacement. But, if the relationship is contentious you may try to end it sooner.
  • Refund Money – If you work on a retainer, be sure to refund any part of the money you’ve not yet earned. Even if your contract says you will not offer refunds, it’s better to do that as you’ll leave on a higher note.

The Rundown

Ending a relationship is never easy, but once you do let go of clients who aren’t ideal, you’re going to free up space to attract your ideal clients. Plus, once it’s over you’re going to feel so much better about your business and yourself.

Charlene "Creative Naturalista" Brown

Charlene "Creative Naturalista" Brown

founder. branding consultant. web & logo designer. creator. explorer. book junkie. foodie. road trip adventurist. I love to help dreams come true and turn websites into memorable, effective brands. Here to take on the stresses that web and graphic design can bring.

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