fishIt’s a fact of entrepreneurial life: not every relationship with clients, colleagues, vendors, etc. will go well.

It might start out well with best intentions, but it degrades somewhere along the line. One thing or another puts you over the top. Or them.

It has to end, you say. But how?

Sometimes an event pushes you to the logical end (termination of a contract period, completion of a project, or worse, you just call it quits).

One party or another will be hurt, or both. Rarely will both parties say “it’s for the best that we stop here” but when that happens, it’s much healthier, although feelings and egos will inevitably be hurt. The vacuum fills: competitors, moral supporters, sometimes too much thinking.

Did both parties contemplate how to avoid these situations for the future? Are we ever so  un-hungry for new business as to turn it away, based on a feeling that it’s just not sitting right for some reason, either before it starts or soon after?

I had this very discussion with an astute craftsman who did some work at my home. He too is a small businessowner and as we got to know each other, we independently admitted we had much in common in approaching clients in our respective businesses.

His next project was with a client that didn’t feel right, although he accepted the award of the business. I was just exiting a discomforting one. You experience this too, right?

I realize it’s really hard to admit, to oneself, internally or externally. It did feel cathartic to discuss with my newfound friend as he worked his magic at my house. I thanked him for being so capable, in his work, and in his way of doing business.

My preference: be kind, be fair, be vocal, and be professionally firm. Cutting bait is one way to address what is not meant to be, or perhaps releasing the little fish, waiting for a bigger one to bite is another more workable alternative.

Cast a line again. Or find another pond, but keep fishing! No specific LinkedIn theme today, just general business savvy.