Maintaining a healthy client-business relationship
As an engineering consultancy firm Inventory Pty Ltd applies itself to helping people with start-up ideas make their dreams come to fruition. At Inventor we endeavor to not only design and produce people’s ideas but help them establish fully functioning businesses. We work with our clients from the conception of an idea to the establishment of a solvent business.
Because of this, we put an even greater emphasis on client relationships. Our “every step of the way” model makes it imperative that we build and maintain stable and strong relationships with our clients, relationships that can withstand the test of time and the ups and downs of start-up life. Here at Inventor we have devised a 5-dimensional model to client relationships that has been embedded in our office culture and philosophy. A short summary of the different dimensions of our 5-dimension model is provided below.
The honesty dimension of our approach to client management is crucial. Honestly is an expectation all clients are entitled to. Unfortunately, honesty in business is not guaranteed. This is especially true with companies that are looking to make a quick buck. That is not the Inventor business model, and subsequently Honesty is at the forefront of our philosophy.
When establishing and maintaining long lasting client relationships it is important that you make it clear you will be approaching everything with a realistic perspective. It isn’t beneficial to anyone to be superficially overconfident about a product or the outcomes. That kind of hubris will blind both the client and the company to potential problems that need to be addressed. Eventually the truth always comes out, and if you have misrepresented the reality of the situation the client will find out. If you are looking to cultivate a long-lasting relationship and cater to the needs of a client in multiple stages of their start-up experience it is crucial that you are honest. Telling them what they want to hear might keep them happy for a time, but eventually the truth will sift through the cracks and permeate poison into the relationship. To ensure a long term and stable relationship don’t tell the client what they want to hear, tell them what they need to hear.
This philosophy is imprinted in many different aspects of the business model. For example, in the creation of a roadmap, we ensure that we do not anticipate an unrealistic smooth run. We build in allowances for unexpected events and cater to our past experiences of natural progression. Being unrealistic or dishonest about the time it may take to achieve a goal can lead to disgruntlement on behalf of the client.
Knowledge has two parts. Firstly; Research is an unequivocally essential first step for any project we take on. We scour academic papers, books, media publications and business websites to uncover the macroeconomic market that relates to the idea of the client. By constructing a well-rounded understanding of the target market, we can conduct a preliminary feasibility evaluation and grow our own understanding of the industry. An in-depth knowledge base of not just the client’s idea but of the market that it is a part of will help develop a mutual appreciation for that industry between our company and the client, and allow for in depth conversations from all angles when discussing the product.
Secondly; you must have knowledge of the exact expectations of the client and their aspirations. Clear stipulations of their goals will help foster a strong relationship where you can progress in a satisfying way for all parties.
Undoubtedly an ideology we have all encountered before is think positive and be passionate. The omnipresence of this concept however does not detract from its importance. If the objective is to cultivate a healthy work environment and relationship with clientele, a positive attitude can go a long way. Furthermore, clients don’t want to work with someone that doesn’t share the same enthusiasm and passion for their idea that they do. Having a positive attitude is especially crucial during setbacks. Things might go wrong and there are usually unexpected bumps in the road when you are creating a new product or business. The import question is how do you deal with these unfortunate circumstances? If the attitude is wrong, the problem might get blown out of proportion. This is not the same as being dogmatically positive. As was discussed prior, being realistic is an important factor in the honesty dimension and we should not be unrealistically positive.
Every client wants to be in the loop. When people approach us with an idea they aren’t looking to off load their idea and make it someone else’s responsibility. Clients want to have the experience of inventing a new product and creating a business. They are asking for help, and that is what we do. At Inventor we keep clients up to date with every step we take. It is important that we establish clear goals and communicate those with the client consistently over time.
Finally, the last of the five dimensions is passion. It is as important for us to be passionate about the idea of a prospective client as it is that the client themselves. It is for this reason that we only accept clients with ideas that we see as viable and interesting. This policy ensures that we have the willingness to go the extra mile, the extra 5%, and that the client knows it. It is in the best interest of our business to foster relationships with clientele that have a real fighting chance and create a big brand product, and as such it is best for us to be as passionate about the products we work on as anyone. Without passion, maintaining a hard-working relationship becomes arduous work over time, and that is not the way companies should view clientele or the projects they engage in.
The five-dimensional model to client relationships ensures that we at Inventor build and maintain healthy long-term relationships with clientele. With the application of our dimensions of Honesty, Positivity, Knowledge, Transparency and Passion we know that we can provide the exact kind of client-business relationship every