1. Not very profitable, but time – consuming demanding customers tend to refer prospects and customers who reflect their style and values.
2. Customers who value you and what you do are the best referral sources.
3. Set boundaries for your customers from the outset, tell them “This is how we work…”, otherwise they will create their own boundaries.
4. Pay attention when your prospect complains about being treated badly by the rest of the world including partners, vendors, consultants and former customers – you may become the next entrepreneur they will complain about.
5. If you are a coach or consultant, try to avoid customers who have never worked with a consultant, unless they show sure signs of their willingness to learn and implement new things.
6. Social networking is important, but prioritize – plan your activities and their frequency, otherwise social networking becomes a burden.
7. Get to know your associates, subcontractors and business partners before you commit to long-term projects – mavericks may be crucial to changing this world, but they may not always contribute to helping you achieve your goals.
8. Become a frequently improving, always up-to-date resource for other small business owners and your customers.
9. Reward your best customers, subcontractors and business partners.
10. If you are very driven, results oriented, nimble and forward looking – don’t take on customers who are not.I am sure that 2009 will be a year of re-evaluation, reinvention, recycling and repurposing as we all try to find smarter cost-effective ways of living and conducting business. Will small business owners see a light in the end of a tunnel in 2009?