How to reassess your Pipeline
Every cloud has a silver lining and every change presents an opportunity to evolve. The financial crisis has presented new hardships and difficulties, and while the demands of your job may be different now, your work remains as important as ever. Take an inventory of your current client list and prospects (otherwise known as a pipeline) and consider their viability as future clients on the following metrics:
- Likelihood of ongoing business relationship
Potential revenue amount from the job (big or small)
How much resources would be required (monetary and labor)
Pitfalls that could lead to early project termination
Potential growth in the industry over the next couple of years
Possible referrals generated from service to client
Cut loose your low margin clients
A significantly low rating in any one category could disqualify them from future service, depending on your current demand. In economic hard times, it becomes much more important to operate on the margin and only take on the best clients possible, those that will improve your bottom line by the most. Could you anticipate any potential problems with these clients? Are these clients a strain on your operating resources? Is there any way that you could improve your relationship with a client to make the partnership more viable?
If you are having trouble deciding which clients to keep and which to finish your work with, try discussing your criteria with fellow consultants. Try to weigh the relative importance of each metric against the other and assess which clients will remain the most attractive in the future. By comparing your own criteria with others, you may come up with new ideas or glean new insight that you may not have otherwise considered.