fluffer [fluhf-er] n, slang: An off-stage person hired to keep a male porn star in a state of erection.
Okay, provocative headlines aside, business is a contact sport. It can get rough. No doubt about it … but, are you doing all the work, yet you’re never the star?
Here’s how you know. If you’re saying one of these 3 things, you’re fluffing:
- “Hey, gotta pay the bills and keep the lights on”.
- “Well, it’s just for now. Until we get rolling”.
- “They’re going to bring us some real opportunities down the road”.
Well, you DO have to pay the bills. You CAN cut a client loose later and there REALLY might be bigger opportunities with that customer down the road.
Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down
But there are companies that can smell blood in the water. They’ll grind down your margins to nothing. They’ll ask you to put every cent you’ve got into meeting their rigorous standards and requirements. They’ll make huge down-the-road promises.
In the end, you’re doing all the work and they’re making all the big bank. And operating your business on other people’s terms can become a downward spiral where you never get ahead. It can kill your business.
And all those things you’re saying to justify these bad contracts are all the things you started your business to get away from in the first place.
Take the Leap and Be the Star
Doing the jobs you don’t want to do but have to do is a difficult position for any business to get out of. It takes conscious effort. You need an action list and here it is:
- Limit Your Exposure. Cut back on the expenses you’re paying to fulfill your fluffing contracts. Renegotiate cheaper rates with your suppliers. Put more of the customer service burden back on your clients by getting them involved to solve their own problems. Create efficient procedures and automate as much as possible.
- Actively Seek Good Business. Put aside a certain amount of time where you’re not available to your not-so-great customers and use that time to go out and hunt down the kind of customers you really want. Go to trade shows. Schedule as many meetings as you can. And decide right now that you’re only going to take on new contracts that are good for your company with this time. If it’s another fluffing contract, move on to the next meeting without skipping a beat.
It’s a short list, but it’s that simple. Cut your costs and raise your revenues. The key to turning your company into the superstar you want it to be is to go after the superstar jobs.
They might be smaller jobs with smaller clients that pay a higher rate. Or they might be good-sized jobs with large companies that throw cash around because they’re not well organized.
Next thing you know, it’s your movie. And you’re the star.