Many businesses (especially startups) are guilty of accepting any work – whether or not it falls within their outlined scope of services and capabilities. However, when you do accept business that falls outside of your expertise or manpower, you are undermining yourself and the project. According to the 2012 Financial Services Marketing Survey, onboarding was ranked as one of the most important strategies for the next 12-24 months. Yet, fewer than 50% of companies have an onboarding program in place, a BAI survey found. With attrition rates of 25-30% per annum, companies cannot afford to ignore their onboarding insights. Here are a few of the vital questions your business needs to ask itself before taking on new clients:
- Does the project fall within our services?
- Is it in alignment with our mission, vision and values?
- Do we have the manpower to complete the project within the specified timeline?
- What potential issues will we face that could delay the project, or cause unexpected costs?
- Are we passionate about this project?
Once you have answered these basic questions as a team, then it’s time to communicate clearly with the client in order to ensure you are on the same page. Here are a few things you should learn before a project begins:
- Do you anticipate changing the specified timeline for the project? Is there anything that could delay approval or necessarily speed-up our production?
- If the deadline is not met, will the project continue or be canceled?
- Who are the key players in this project? Do all of them have to sign-off on the project, or is there one person with final say?
- How do the key players prefer to be contacted (email, phone or text)? How quickly will the key players respond to our messages?
- Do you have a brand book? May we have access to your logos, fonts, brand colors, visual collateral and relevant information?
- What can you tell me about your audience? Are your analytics on them recent?
- Why are you passionate about this project?
While these questions are in no way comprehensive, they hopefully outline the way of thinking that achieves clear communication. By asking very basic questions (such as, “How quickly will the key players respond to our messages”) you can prevent stress when key players unexpectedly stop responding to messages for weeks, delaying the entire project.