Evaluating Opportunities

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Over at Salon is an article called, "When a Designer Should Turn Down a Client." Despite its rather narrow focus, I think it holds lessons for almost anyone, particularly those who do any kind of freelance work, or who have wide latitude in choosing what kinds of projects to focus on. Here's the opening paragraph:

The failure most of us frequently face in the business of design? The failure to recognize that a client project is something you should decline. Here are common situations where working designers fail to decline an opportunity that may be a poor fit.
Later on:
You will be continually thrown opportunities you don't really need or have the depth of knowledge to fulfill well. You need to be prepared to walk away gracefully as part of any ongoing negotiation. So you've recognized that you should be declining a prospective project. How do you do it?
I can think of quite a few instances I could have used advice like that found in this piece. Read the whole thing.

-- CAV

--- In Other News ---

Can the NFL lockout help the New Orleans Saints? It sounds like it: "'Players around the league look at the lockout differently,' [linebacker Jonathan] Vilma told me. 'Some see the lockout as a time to relax. Some see it as a time to heal from serious injury. Some see it as a time to party. We're definitely not in that last category.'"

Australian columnist Richard Glover starts off saying that global warming "deniers" should be forcibly tatooed -- only to back off before using fellow leftists who "relish climate change" as a foil. The whole piece is a distraction from the one dangerous "boneheaded belief" that goes unquestioned: That unlimited government power can be anything but dangerous.

They report this like it's a bad thing: "US Said to Be Falling Behind in Green Tech." The auto industry roared into life without government "encouragement," so perhaps the failure of this hothouse flower of an industry here is telling us something.


Anonymous said...

As a small business owner, I have a motto. "The customer is always right. Sometimes they just have to go somewhere else to be right."

When I had a retail store, my oldest employee, who was gifted in her customer service talents, ended up dealing with a "customer" who was quite unique. She was the only customer who inspired my employee of 20 years to actually swear at her in front of other customers.

My employee, a lady in her early 60's had never, in my hearing, used profanity of any kind even when she fell off the sidewalk and broke her leg.

When I got to the office that day, she told me what had happened; one of our long term customers had hung around to endorse her story.

The upshot was that my employee had processed a certified parcel with return receipt

The sorting equipment at the USPS had stripped the return receipt and the "customer" got receipt of it without the appropriate signatures.

An alert postal clerk at the other end noticed that a return receipt had been paid for, filled it out and had the recipient sign for it. She then went to the extra effort of faxing us a copy.

When the "customer" came she was verbally abusive, referring to my employee as a "stupid bitch" and employing the f-word and c-word etc., My employee lost her composure and referred to the "customer" as a "stupid little shit" after having pointed out that the "customer" had received all of the services paid for due to a diligent Postal clerk and the she really had no legitimate gripe.

The "customer" pulls out her cell phone and calls the Better Business Bureau right then and lodges a complaint, that my employee had called her a "little shit." My employee corrected her and said, "I called you a STUPID little shit. At least get the words right!"

I get a phone call from the BBB about the complaint and the "customer's" demand for a refund and I retail the whole incident.

Then I tell the BBB, "I will issue a full refund if she will sign an agreement to never patronize my establishment again." The BBB rep was rather nonplussed and the "customer" never showed up for the refund.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

The end of your story reminds me of a customer I tried (unsuccessfully) to rid myself of when I was a paper boy way back in high school

During monthly collection, I'd stopped by his house for payment and was treated to a long (possibly drunken) rant about what a lousy job I was doing (I folded the papers rather than rolling them up. Never mind that rolling them would have been very impractical.) and how lazy I was (I used a car rather than a bicycle. Never mind that using a bicycle would have been physically impossible for that route.) Oh -- and he didn't pay me.

So I reduced my daily paper order and stopped delivering to him. He complained, of course. Since this guy was technically the paper's customer, and not mine, they made me re-start delivery. At least, after I told my side of the story (and mentioned that I did not want this person as a customer), it would be my supervisor, rather than myself, who would have to do the collecting.