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Moving on From Well-Established Business Relationships

October 16, 2020

Friday Feelings, wisdom and inspiration for women entrepreneurs, female business owners and small businesses

Wet leaves covering my front lawn, which just yesterday crackled when I walked over them; illuminate my mood on this dreary Friday. Just yesterday as I filed through fifteen years of event recaps with hundreds, if not thousands, of names of women attending my company’s luncheons to promote their enterprises and gathered to inspire each other higher in business, a constant name appeared in a majority of the regions, a sponsor who worked collaboratively with me promoting and funding my programs for a decade.

Every sales presentation I’ve ever heard talks about “filling the sales pipeline” with leads so when a company loses a major client, they aren’t thrown into revenue limbo. As an event planner for ten years with my first company, I lived this strategy as event clients ranged from 3-month to multi-year contracts. Always hoping my customer service and expertise landed me their repeat business, I never knew if they would return until the new contract was inked. On average those large client events stayed with me nine years which was a gift but I always added new customers just in case a large customer didn’t need me anymore.

Running a promotional and marketing organization for women entrepreneurs for fifteen years was different than operating an event management business in the sense that businesswomen came and went year in and year out so constantly filling the sales pipeline was essential for my revenue stream and the effectiveness of my company’s mission to connect women across New York State so they could do business together.  Sales and member retention became the lifeblood of my work even though in my heart I wanted to focus more on promoting my members, connecting them together, and sharing our feminist business mission with the world to inspire women to buy from women first and foremost to help with pay inequality and put money in the hands of other women – not a small feat.

So when news came quite unexpectedly from my major decade-old sponsor that she and her organization were retiring and closing, I realized two things. First, how blessed I was to have their financial support for a decade making it possible to host events to reach more women in the state, and second how much I’ll miss our collaborative partnership going forward. No one quite fills the shoes of old, familiar friends, not even a new exciting one so moving on from well-established business partnerships is difficult emotionally and financially for women entrepreneurs because we invest so much into our corporate relationships.

Today’s Friday Feelings are to remind you it is okay to rely on beneficial, long-lasting business relationships to make everyday entrepreneurship feel good, but remember like all things in life, good things don’t last forever. Be prepared at any point in business to lose a major client or supporter, and still remain steady in your progress. If you depend too heavily financially on one entity, try diversifying now. Keep the sales pipeline open. Make plans to replace steady customers.  It might be easier to be business prepared, than mentally prepared, when you have to say goodbye to a long-lasting relationship. Let your constant supporters know you appreciate them too so they stay around as long as they can.

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