I love working for clients that appreciate what we provide.  They appreciate the report quality and the responsive service.  But, as in any field, there are clients you love to work with and clients you’d like to poke with a sharp stick to get them to wander off in the direction of some other consulting company.

For me, the best clients actually read the report products we produce.  Yes, they read virtually every page and don’t hesitate to ask us to fix a typo if they find one.  That’s exciting.  That means the quality poured into every paragraph is appreciated – and it means you better make sure you don’t take your eye off the ball and don’t fall into the trap of focusing primarily on the executive summary or PCR tables.  My favorite clients appreciate detail and quality.

The best clients challenge us to be better.  They can set up outrageous project deadlines and scopes of work, but they will reward us when we jump through the necessary flaming hoops and actually deliver.  They thank us for accepting projects with challenging parameters and they further our professional and company development in the process.  They appreciate it when we solve some problem caused by another consultant.  It’s not uncommon that these clients end up being friends, people you respect and enjoy the company of.  People you actually want to send a holiday card to and love to get getting a chance to visit with in person.

One of the best things about owning your own business is being able to choose your clients and your associates.  These days I hear many people talk about having no other choice but to put up with certain horrible clients because of the economy.  I understand that but I’m not interested in that.  I’m interested in being happy and working with people that add to my happiness.

I’m interested in working with people that love what we do and aren’t too busy or self-centered to let us know when they think we’ve done a fantastic job.

I’d rather be cleaning fast food restaurant restrooms than have to go back and work with some of the tyrannical and egotistical personalities I had to put up with while working for large consulting firms back in the day.  Those large consulting companies can keep that type of client.  I’m much happier with clients that I consider family and that consider us family.  Give me that, and a sharp stick at the ready for clients from the dark side, any day.