MBAs and other business degrees can help ensure you’re getting the most out of your relationship with a large corporate client.

A business man sits at his desk reviewing financial data.Landing a large corporate client can seem like the ultimate accomplishment for a smaller business. The sizable new client promises more revenue, which could increase the smaller firm’s visibility and fuel more hiring and further growth. And it serves as a powerful tool for staff engagement and retention. But there are downsides as well: Big clients can be more demanding, they can take longer to pay their bills, and they tend to have large bureaucracies that slow decision-making. While the thought of taking on a corporate client may seem daunting, here are five ways for the smaller firm to ensure that the relationship is a productive one.

  1. Do not promise more than you can deliver. Only you know the capabilities of your company. Don’t overextend yourself or promise so much that you will shortchange other clients. That means sticking to the things that your company does best so you can deliver the highest quality work to the client.
  2. Be flexible and ready to adopt systems that your client already has in place. This could mean conforming to the client’s style of messaging and communicating, its software and computer network, and its bill-paying system. In order to do all these things, it’s also important that you understand the client’s culture.
  3. Communicate clearly and with regularity. Keep your client up-to-date on the progress of all projects and do so in a manner that the client is comfortable with. Communicating frequently will show that you are committed to the project. Also, in your communications, don’t be afraid to suggest ideas that go beyond the scope of the current project. This may be a way to win new work.
  4. Don’t lose sight of your cash flow. Big companies have their own way of paying vendors. While the contract promises a fresh infusion of revenue, payments may be made more slowly than you would prefer. This may hurt cash flow at first and may require that you seek outside financing until you’re able to adjust to the new payment schedule.
  5. Emphasize and demonstrate your ability to respond quickly to requests. Because of their size, smaller companies can often do things more cheaply and in less time. And because small companies have less bureaucracy, the client will have direct access to top company executives. This speeds the decision-making process and helps eliminate miscommunication.

Balancing the pros and cons of taking on a corporate client can be difficult and it’s important to arm yourself with as many tools as possible to ensure that you are making the best decisions. One of the best tools available is a business degree. Walden University’s online MBA program is offered in two learning formats. The course-based format is great for students who prefer an instructor-led approach to learning. Those who prefer a more custom-paced approach may want to consider Walden’s competency-based MBA program.The competency-based learning format allows students to progress at their own pace and be measured by a variety of assessments, versus the standard course-based learning format.

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