Insights from Dana
The Tool Business Owners Need to Do More of the Work You Actually Want to Do

You don’t want to work with just anybody. You want to work the way you want.

Even if you have a very specific niche, that doesn’t mean you want to work with everyone in it.

Yet you keep taking on projects and clients that are less than aligned. And they creep beyond scope more often than you’d like to admit, often at the expense of the work you would rather be doing.

Your clients are discerning about who they work with. Why aren’t you?

Why You Need to Stop Compromising Your Boundaries

You might balk at the idea of turning away business. Here’s the thing: if less than appealing projects are eating up your time, you’re already saying no to bigger and better things.

Or you’re constantly working against the clock, trying to do it all without the time or space to deliver your best work.

When you aren’t discerning about who you work with, you and your business pay the cost.

A Catapult coaching client of mine recently found herself in this position. Her business was booming, but it didn’t feel good. Far too much of her time–and her team’s–was being spent on projects and clients who weren’t aligned with company values and the work she wanted to put into the world.

She needed to draw a line in the sand and create better boundaries around the opportunities she said “yes” to, so we created a Client Scorecard to filter out patrons and projects she isn’t entirely enthusiastic about taking on. 

How a Client Scorecard Benefits Your Business

The results of creating clear boundaries around who your company serves and the work you do speaks to the key goals of every business owner.

  Increased profitability  

Improved productivity

Clarified project planning and prioritization

More efficient allocation of resources

Higher customer satisfaction

Better identification of growth opportunities

More job satisfaction for you and your team

The purpose of the Client Scorecard is to systematize the decision-making process by creating a standard measure that you can apply to all potential projects across the board. Not only will this method help you filter out the work you don’t want to do. It will also reduce the stress you feel around making those decisions and create more clarity and cohesion for you and your team. 

Create Your Own Client Scorecard

I’m going to walk you through the basic steps you can use to create your own Client Scorecard, so you can start doing more of the work you love.

The Work You Actually Want to Do

The first step is to do some homework. Sit down with each of your offerings and determine what makes someone an ideal client for each one.

Here are some questions to help you find clarity:

  • What is your ideal budget and timeline for this kind of project?
  • What do the project scope and outcomes ideally look like?
  • How much labor are you willing to invest in these projects?
  • How does this offering impact your available resources and workload?
  • What does your ideal client’s decision-making process and timeline look like?

Focusing on these details helps ground an otherwise objective process in functional criteria that you can use to create better boundaries for you and your business.

Clarifying the Qualifications

Now that you’ve created some parameters to guide your decisions, it’s time to create your Client Scorecard. 

The first section of your Client Scorecard uses professional parameters to grade potential projects. Each of the following four questions is worth one point. Whether you decide to allot half or quarter points as part of your process is entirely up to you. 

  • Is the scope of the project appealing?
  • Does the price tag include a solid ROI?
  • Is the labor required a worthwhile investment?
  • Is the work aligned with your vision and goals for your company?

If these questions don’t resonate with you, adjust them to reflect the metrics you want to use as qualifying criteria. If you aren’t sure what needs to be shifted, experiment with applying these measures and see what other questions come up for you in the process. 

What essential elements need to be factored into YOUR equation?

Remember, you aren’t writing anything in stone. Your business is always shifting and growing. Your Client Scorecard will evolve alongside it. Give yourself permission to play with what works best for you and your company.

The Deciding Factor

The second part of your Client Scorecard is a personal qualifier because you really don’t want to work with just anyone. There’s only one question here, and it is strictly Pass/Fail. 

My client is tired of working with entitled assholes, so her ultimate deciding factor is this:

  • Would she hang out with this potential client outside of work?

If the answer is no, the project is a no-go. Even if it did score 4 points under her professional criteria.

Now she has more time and energy to focus on the work and clients that feel aligned and exciting, and she has a simple system in place to easily identify those opportunities when they come her way.

Maybe your deciding factor is whether you would feel proud to call someone a client or if you would refer them as a client to a friend. Honoring your personal values and priorities is essential to building a business and a life you love to lead.

Do More of What You Love

This simple tool cuts to the heart of your biggest goals and deepest desires to bring more meaning, more alignment, and more spaciousness to your work. These seemingly simple questions can carry a lot of weight. Needless to say, it might take some time to make it your own.

What metrics move the dial in the direction you want to take your company?

Don’t be afraid to talk to your team about what makes or breaks their motivation. 

What feedback or observations do they have to share? 

What standards do they need you to set to protect their best work?

Boundaries are a beautiful thing. Like anything worthwhile, they take time to build, but creating your own Client Scorecard will help you get there, so you can do more of the work you love to do.

You don’t want to work with just anybody–and you don’t have to. 

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