Victor Fatanmi

5 proven strategies to manage and sustain multiple clients

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Starting a business is a journey filled with dreams and aspirations but comes with its fair share of challenges. Take the story of two friends, Lolia and Efe, who ventured into entrepreneurship together. Lolia, with her expertise in marketing, started her consultancy while Efe began her event management service. Both were passionate and skilled, ready to take on the world.

Lolia thrived, managing multiple clients with ease. Her business grew steadily, and she built a reputation for reliability and excellence. On the other hand, Efe struggled to keep up with the demands of her growing client list. Her inability to effectively manage her time and resources led to missed deadlines, unsatisfied clients, and, eventually, social media dragging. The backlash on Twitter was so bad that she took a temporary break from her business.

The best friends' different experiences teach a vital lesson for anyone managing multiple clients—effective management is crucial for success. This article will explore five strategies that can help you manage and sustain multiple clients.

1. Master your time & energy

Successfully managing multiple clients starts with managing yourself. This means taking care of your health, maintaining your mental well-being, and minimising distractions. While tools and systems are important, the foundation of effective organisation is your energy and focus.

Here are some specific tips to help you:

  • Create a daily routine: Plan your day the night before, go to bed early, and rise early. A structured routine sets a positive tone for the day.
  • Refresh and refuel: Incorporate healthy habits like balanced eating, meditation, journaling, and walking into your daily routine. An accountability partner can help you stick to these practices.
  • Stay connected: Spend time with friends and family or call them. Positive relationships help maintain your energy.
  • Practice deep work: Dedicate 2 to 4 hours each day to deep work, where you turn off distractions and focus on a single important task.
  • Limit social media usage: Use social media in designated time blocks rather than as a constant companion throughout your day.

2. Clear documentation & communication channels

Rushing into a project without establishing clear documentation and communication channels is like building a house on sand. Every seasoned professional knows skipping this crucial step sets you up for problems. It leads to time wastage and could potentially damage client relationships.

To build a solid foundation for success, you need to:

  • Prioritise regular check-ins: Commit to frequent check-in meetings with each client to discuss project progress, concerns, and next steps. Depending on the project's scope and complexity, this might be daily, weekly, or monthly. These meetings will help you stay accountable, reduce procrastination, and build trust.
  • Document on agreed deliverables: Don't rely on memory or verbal agreements. Religiously document everything about the project. From detailed project scopes to invoices and legal contracts, ensure everything is written down.
  • Leverage technology: Tools like Fullgap can streamline the documentation process. With it, you can consolidate essential project information–deliverables, invoices, and contracts–into one easily accessible link. This further simplifies communication, provides transparency, and saves valuable time.
  • Break down deliverables into smaller tasks: Break down project deliverables into smaller, manageable tasks with granular deadlines. Also with Fullgap, you can keep your clients informed on project status. All you have to do is tick a task as done, and your client sees the progress on their Fullgap view.
  • Set clear expectations: Set clear expectations for your and your client's response times. If circumstances change and you won’t be able to deliver a deliverable as agreed, communicate ahead of time. Honesty and transparency about potential delays will go a long way in maintaining strong client relationships.

3. Client selection and intentional framing

As your business grows and your bills are covered, it's important to be selective about the clients you take on. Ensure they meet specific criteria and align with your values as much as possible. Many client management issues arise from a mismatch in values or expectations. Being clear about your work's values and choosing clients willing to align with them can save you a lot of stress.

This doesn't mean you should immediately dismiss clients who don't fit perfectly. Instead, discuss expectations and their willingness to align with your values. Even if a client doesn't naturally align, initiating these discussions can set a positive tone and improve their behaviour.

To streamline your client selection process:

  • Define your ideal client: Reflect on past positive experiences. What client behaviours made those collaborations run smoothly? Consider clear communication, willingness to engage in formal agreements, and a genuine appreciation for your work. While no client is perfect, identifying these traits will help you recognise potential red flags early on.
  • Create a client profile: Develop a detailed profile outlining your ideal client's industry, company size, budget, project scope preferences, and communication style. This will guide your positioning efforts and help you focus on attracting clients who are a good fit for your business.
  • Set clear expectations: Establish "rules of engagement" through a formal document, contract, or onboarding call. These guidelines might cover communication preferences, feedback cycles, collaboration style, and other factors essential to a successful partnership. If "rules" feel too rigid, consider calling them "engagement guidelines."
  • Don't be afraid to have tough conversations: If a potential client doesn't seem like a good fit, don't hesitate to address any concerns you have about their expectations or working style. Open communication from the beginning can prevent misunderstandings and set the stage for a positive relationship.

4. Client relationship building

Client relationships often begin formally, and their initial experience on a project sets the tone for future interactions. However, actions taken during and beyond the initial project engagement are crucial in building client trust and rapport. Strong relationships foster loyalty and satisfaction, leading to happier, more cooperative and understanding clients. Imagine managing multiple happy clients…

Here are some key strategies to build and maintain strong client relationships:

  • Regular check-ins: Use regular check-ins not just to discuss project updates but also to engage in conversations about personal interests and other societal issues. This helps form a more personal connection.
  • Personalised interactions: Remember important dates, milestones, or personal preferences of your clients. Use tools like Fullgap to keep notes under client data, ensuring you can reference these details in future interactions.
  • Thoughtful gestures: Send small gifts on their birthdays or significant milestones. These don’t have to be expensive—handwritten notes or discount coupons for your services can be a great start.
  • Proactive engagement: Actively ask questions, address concerns, and offer solutions. Sometimes, going beyond the agreed scope (without overextending yourself) can show your commitment to their success.

5. Boundaries

While going above and beyond for clients is commendable, becoming overly available can backfire. It can lead to burnout and an unsustainable work-life balance. Remember, you're not a 24/7 helpline. Establishing clear boundaries is needed for your well-being and the long-term success of your business.

Here's how to strike the right balance:

  • Define scope: Prevent scope creep – the gradual expansion of project requirements – by clearly outlining the scope of work in your contracts and project documents. A tool like Fullhap will come in handy here.
  • Set realistic expectations (and stick to them): Be upfront about timelines, deliverables, and your availability. Factor in potential setbacks and communicate any changes promptly. Underpromise and overdeliver whenever possible.
  • Establish "off-limits" time: Clearly communicate your working hours and days (like weekends) when you're unavailable for calls or meetings. Respect your own time, and clients will learn to do the same.
  • Don't feel guilty about charging for extra work: If a client consistently requests work beyond the agreed-upon scope, don't hesitate to issue additional invoices. Your time and expertise are valuable.

Effectively managing multiple clients isn't just about juggling tasks; it's about having smooth-running projects with happy, engaged clients. When each client relationship thrives, your business's ecosystem flourishes. By implementing these five key practices, you'll streamline your workflow and build a reputation for excellence.

Ready to take your client management to the next level?

If you want to simplify the complexities of managing multiple client projects, consider exploring Fullgap. From streamlined onboarding with auto-generated invoices, contracts, and scope documents to easy project execution and communication, Fullgap offers a comprehensive solution to empower your business.

Discover the difference Fullgap can make:

Victor Fatanmi
We use Cookies
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience and more relevant content on our website.