There is an old saying that says, "The little foxes spoil the vine." The idea is taken from the biblical story in Song of Songs 2.15. The picture is that big foxes were destroying the vineyard. So, the vine-dresser built a fence. That stopped the big foxes from getting to the vines, but the little baby foxes were able to crawl under the fence and they started destroying the vines.
It's a great illustration for our lives and businesses. We see the big things that rob us of a healthy thriving life and business, but sometimes the little things go unnoticed. When I launched my brokerage, the economy was still on life support. Because of that, it was it was very easy to accept every BPO company, every REO company and every client that came along. The same was true of my electrical contracting company.
We pulled ourselves up from the double whammy that the economy gave us, and we accumulated a lot new clients. Good, right? Not necessarily. A year into the new brokerage, I started evaluating the companies we work with. During that time, I started eliminating the BPO companies that paid too late, had cumbersome portals to enter information on and had unrealistic expectations.
That number of BPO providers (little foxes) dropped from around 40 companies at the peak to about 10, and today it's six. All pay on time, they realize we know more about our market than they do on the other side of the country, and they are willing to listen.
Next, I went after the REO companies and lenders (more little foxes) that were difficult to deal with, demanded more than they paid for and didn't always reimburse us when we had expenses. That number dropped from about 10 to 3. I also dropped the property preservation companies we work with. Too much paperwork, too little profit. Bye-bye.
I then turned my attention to the electrical contracting business. Who were the clients we loved to work with, and who were the clients who frustrated us (little foxes)? I dumped the biggest government contract because of the voluminous paperwork they demanded for the most mundane jobs, and I fired 100% of the retail maintenance companies we worked with. That eliminated 12 clients. I also dumped three contractors.
I say all of this to encourage you to review your business clientele and determine who is it that profits you and your business, and who is it that causes you unnecessary stress and aggravation. We all have those moments in any contract situation where things go awry. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about those REO providers, BPO providers, investors or other clients who make your profession miserable.
Trust me, if you dump a few of them, you will free your time up to prospect better clients and develop your marketing presence. If you're not bogged down with poor quality clients, you will have more time to knock on doors, design marketing materials, shake hands, call potential clients, pursue leads and develop your business. Remember, "The little foxes spoil the vine."