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Insulate yourself against a large client leaving.  Many of you have heard of the concept of a sales funnel before.  This one is similar, but has a twist.

Bare Bones Basics: If you are not keeping a list of your prospective clients, you are already losing money.  I have not yet met a person who can keep all this in their head, so start writing down everyone with whom you have even the remotest chance of doing business.

The Confidence Boost: Start categorizing them by time.  Draw a 5X5 table.  You want to be able to put names of prospective clients in all 25 boxes.  The top row is for 5 people or businesses that you could do business with in the distant future.  The bottom row is for the deals that you think you could land in the near future.  You get to decide what “near future” and “distant future” are for your business.  For some of my readers “near” is 30 days, for others “near” is 18 months.  You decide.  The point is to fill the boxes.  If you can’t fill all the boxes, then you have work to do.

“What if 25 boxes is too much for me?  That just doesn’t fit my business, Jason.”  Here’s a rule of thumb: Take the number of customers/clients that you need to make your desired yearly revenue, and multiply that number by 3.  That should be the number of boxes that you need.

The Nub: Don’t ever let yourself run short on near-term or long-term prospects.  An adequate number of near-term prospects will soften the blow when a big client unexpectedly goes away.