I had a meeting the other day with another small business owner. They mentioned that they have a few potential clients that could come through and then their next few weeks would be really busy so they weren’t really looking for new clients right now.
But, um, no.
The thing about having a healthy sales pipeline is that when times are GREAT you can start to book clients out a few weeks (or months). During the campaign I managed last year I decided not to take on any new clients in Q4. And guess what? I had new clients ready to go in January when I was ready for them. I gave them work to do so I had everything I needed to start when I had capacity to take them on, and they knew that they weren’t going to get pushed aside through the end of the year.
Not every client is going to come through right away. Instead of looking at your plate as completely full, don’t forget to look ahead at what the next few weeks have in store. No I can’t take on 3 new clients in a month but if I have 4 potential clients that want to get started soon, then you can tell them – I have space for 2 new clients this month and I have talked with other folks who are interested, just an FYI. When they lallygag and get back to you in 3 weeks, that’s great. We can get started next month.
“Hurry up and wait” isn’t a great business model. Constantly filling your pipeline and knowing your capacity so that when clients say YES you are ready to GO, or they have to wait until your schedule allows it, is a more anxiety reducing approach. The right clients are willing to wait to work with you when the time is right. This also means you aren’t taking on projects to pay the bills, but working with the right clients at the right time.