When you’re reviewing your business, it can be a great idea to consider your current and former clients. You can use the information you get when going forward with goal setting, strategizing your marketing and planning your content. It might even bring about changes in the profile of your ideal client.

I learned all about reviewing clients from Mike Michalowicz in his book The Pumpkin Plan. He had such an easy system (as part of a more extensive way to review your business and make a strategy going forward) to see how your current and former clients are doing on scales that are important to you.

Reviewing your clients can be part of your yearly review or part of your business review when laying down the business foundations. Read ‘Reviewing the year‘ and ‘The Guide to your Dream Business‘.

Below is my version of how I do this reviewing of clients myself and with my clients now.

Reviewing your clients

There are multiple reasons to studyyour current and former clients:

  • To see if your ideal client’s profile match your actual clients
  • To see which are your VIP clients and if you are treating them right
  • To see if it might be time to end your time together for other clients
  • To get more good clients and recognize the bad ones before you take them on
  • To improve your ideal client’s profile or change your marketing strategy

By reviewing your clients, you can sort them into three categories of clients:

  1. The Great Client
  2. The Good Client
  3. The Bad Client

The Great Clients are those fantastic clients that you love working with, that bring in enough revenue for the time and energy they take, the ones that you love working with and would clone if you can. Bad Clients are those that are frustrating you. They demand a lot, pay a little, communicate poorly and keep you up at night.

By reviewing your clients, you can see who are your VIPs, whom you should fashion your ideal client profile after, and who you don’t want to work with anymore.

How to review your clients

Let’s review your clients right now. Get a piece of paper or open a spreadsheet program. You can have conditions in columns and your (former) clients in rows. Decide whether you are reviewing the last year or a more extended period (3 or 5 years maybe?).

To start this process, pick the conditions that make up a Great Client. The basics are how much revenue they bring in, how quick and well they communicate, the pace in which they pay (are they always paying a month after the due date). But there might be other conditions that are important to you. Are they recurring clients? What is their revenue potential? How do they react when you make a mistake? How open are they for your ideas and feedback? How much passion do they have for their business? How well do you get along? Can they refer you to new business? Do they match your core values? Pick the conditions that are important to you and write them in different columns. Add an extra column next to revenue for ‘revenue review’.

Write your current and former clients in rows. Now use a 1-5 system for each of the conditions. From 5 being ‘perfect’ till 1 ‘ugly’. For revenue, you calculate the revenue over the period you picked out. Once you have the revenue broken down by client, you can decide what deserve a 5 and what deserves another score. At the end, add an extra column to add up all the ratings.

The Great Clients

The 10 with the highest rating are your top 10 VIP clients. Imagine you would have more like this. How would you feel? Pretty great right?

So treat them well. Ask them what else you can do for them. Ask them for reviews to other people like them. Use them as your guide for perfecting your ideal client profile.

The Bad Clients

For the lowest 10 or 10%, it might be time to say goodbye and stop working together. They are probably taking a lot of your time and energy for a small amount of the work and pay. Imagine if you would have more of these. You would have trouble sleeping, you would work a lot for lousy pay, and you would feel much frustration. It would hurt your business. So stop working with these people. Find common characteristics if you can and remember them to be your red flags for future clients.

The Good Clients

The rest of the clients are Good Clients. They are ok to work with; they have some good and bad things going on. Please keep working for them and do the best you can for them. See if you can bump them up to Great Clients. If not focus your extra time and energy on the Great Ones and what they want and need. That is how you will attract more great ones, not the ones that are just good.

Now go and get some more Great Clients by focusing your marketing and content efforts on those Great Clients!

Reviewing your clients