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Every so often in my businesses, we get a significant client who’s revenue stream is equal to or more than the combined total of many small ones. Sometimes, my team has been tempted to cater to the needs of our larger clients, but when I’ve seen this drift begin, I’ve requested that we stay the course.

Every business gets one, or a few, of those big “whale” clients.

Yes, I get it. It’s exciting. And when you catch a few of those major clients, it can mean lots of exciting things for your business, such as an expansion, investment capital, or a profitable quarter or year.

Here’s the scoop, you can’t forget your smaller clients––ever.

Treating All Clients the Same

I’m a business person that believes that every client, no matter the size, should be treated with the same consistent and exceptional customer service.


For starters, we live in a hyper-connected world, and if your small clients think and feel that they’re getting shafted because you’re too busy with larger clients, your company runs the risk of having a complaint at the Better Business Bureau, Yelp or on social media. I’m sure you agree with me when I say that you want to have integrity in your business and that means––always––treating big and small clients the same.

Small Leads to Large

There’s also something else that I’ve discovered, and maybe you have as well, and it’s when you focus on your small clients, your company will eventually be led to medium and larger clients over time.


In our business, we have many small clients, and I think it’s fair to say that most of our partners are small groups. But, because we aim to please everyone, we’ve gotten referrals, which is a considerable part of our business that has led us to larger clients. Additionally, when you work with a lot of small clients in a particular market, the larger organizations eventually pay attention because you become the market leader in providing that service.

Other Reasons You Should Focus On Small Clients

Aside of the fact that as a matter of principle, and for referrals, you should keep an eye on small clients, several other reasons also make sense for you to consider.

  • Job-changing: Have you ever had a client who loves working with you, but then changes jobs to another company? The chances are high that this person, particularly if they’re a decision maker, that they will recommend your business if the new company needs your services. It’s happened to my team and me many times.
  • All eggs shouldn’t go into one basket: Some entrepreneurs have made the error of putting all of their eggs into servicing a significant client, only to lose that partner for a reason. It can be devastating financially. It’s better to spread the risk by working with your larger customers but making sure to properly service smaller ones since clients change vendor partners for all sorts of reasons. You never know….
  • Small clients are decision-makers: When you partner with smaller clients and make it a point to serve them well, the chances are high that you’re speaking to the decision-makers. Larger clients have more management layers, and you might end up in situations where you’re waiting for approvals and getting things accomplished takes a little more time.

One of the most important reasons you should always service your smaller clients also has to do with money. My team and I have worked with many small customers that are not only committed and enthusiastic but also have the resources, including money, to pay for services. Don’t assume that just because you have a small client that they don’t have money. Remember, when you service small clients properly, you minimize financial risk to your business, and they can ultimately lead you to the larger partners.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact”(Free Digital Download)

© 2018 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.