When I told an acquaintance recently that Ann Marie and I had turned away a potentially lucrative client, he asked me “Are you crazy? In this economic environment?”  His reaction was somewhat surprising, but understandable, which got me thinking, “I thought that this person understood what Ann Marie and I do at AMM Communications.  Obviously not. What can I share with others from this experience?”  Small businesses often have trouble meeting expenses early on and therefore aren’t in a position to pass on work (luckily, AMM Communications has a stable base of existing clients). It all boils down to what you and your company do best.  If you can.

Why would we turn away business, you ask? Because working this potential client would have been far outside of our core expertise, which is working with financial and professional service firms.  As part of the strategic planning for AMM Communications, we spent a great deal of time developing our Mission Statement and refining our ideal client mix.

Some people may argue that taking on a variety of projects expands a person/companies’ expertise and could increase the client base down the line, but what happens if this project becomes too big or too difficult?  Would you end up spending more time, effort, and expose yourself to more stress than the project is worth.  And if you fail to deliver the expected results, how could this affect your professional reputation?

Protecting your personal and professional reputation is of the utmost importance and is arguably the most valuable thing that you have.  Other projects will come, provided that you maintain high levels of expertise, professionalism, and deliver what you promised.

So the next time you are faced with the prospect of taking on a new client, ask yourself, “Is this in the core expertise of my company?”