friends, clients and relationships…

gordon... as always making business a pleasure

gordon... as always making business a pleasure

I was reading an article [click here to read it] written by my good friend Gordon Murray, developer of online creative company Murrion Software, based in Cork. Read it. It’s a great piece. Anyhow, it got me thinking….

In the context of one losing a client…. Some say it’s just business, forget about it, move on and to the next one.


I truly love what is that I do and maybe ‘they’ are right – or to an extent. Maybe [?] I and some take it too personal. Maybe, one should treat each ‘contract’ as just another ‘job’. But I guess, put simply, that [again, to an extent] it’s just not the genetic make up, of some, depending. Should one worry, care or bother and does it ‘really’ matter?

Personally, I don’t like fall outs, of any kind. I hate ‘finding out’ that someone fell out with me. Maybe it’s because I was reared as one of eight children? I think it was just the way it was in the house. Problems were aired and ‘sorted’ mono é mono. On the spot. There and then. Solved and swiftly move on. Is there a problem? No. Done. Is there an issue? yes. Discuss it. Solve it. And get on with the more important things in life.

To my work, I understand there is a line. I try to speak or/ and meet regular enough with clients just to make sure I’m doing good by them. I try not to treat ‘clients’ like ‘just another customer’ but something friendlier I suppose. People. It makes life easier nee less complex.

I realise that the creation of ‘their’ garden is a lot more than just plants. It can be understandably, a nervous time for some, especially if it is the first time. I suppose I am also there to put their minds at rest, to dispell any doubts that may linger and to eliminate that nervousness. It is essentially the relationship that will make the process run smoothly – for both parties.

could it be any simpler...?

could it be any simpler...?

I have had clients in the past that refused to pay their bills. It happens. It doesn’t make me happy. But it does happen and to us all. I try to find if there was a problem. If it can be resolved there and then. After nine years in business I realise sometimes people just don’t want to pay after the job is done and there is sometimes nothing I can do about it. But when payment is not the issue what does one do?

The possible alternate … just sometimes is that people can be just rude as well. That can of course increase all the way to 10 on the ‘not nice scale’. It is here I may chose not to work with [or for] them anymore.

Where money is concerned, I’ve heard people describe that as shrued business… Not paying the bill, when one is happy with the service/ product…. shrued?

Situations, differences and problems do occur in any relationship. Thats is life. But it is also how one deals with these ‘situations’. I always say a problem should not exist unless one decides not to deal with it. I try to. I keep a customer problem log. Sounds stupid? It’s actually a part of The Quality Programme –  It doesn’t matter how insignificant it may be. It’s noted.

I guess, in some cases the client should simply remain the client. I also guess in some cases where that is not the case – one can try, only to an extent, to ensure the relationship remains ‘positive’. But sometimes I guess people simply go and come throughout life. That bit one may never fully understand and assuming one gives a hoot – it is ok to ponder. Maybe it is simply because of the gardens I have created… who knows?

At the end of the day I know I love my life and I don’t treat my work as ‘work’ in the laborious task sense. I really do love what I do. And for all of the years in college studying horticulture and getting dirt under my nails…. I get to make others and equally as important myself – smile.

clients, friend and relationships…… what do you think… ?

4 replies
  1. Mary Carty
    Mary Carty says:

    Hi Peter,

    You certainly hit the nail on the head; sometimes people are not very nice and their motives or justification for non-payment, bad behaviour or lack of communication is not honourable. It’s a great question, how far do you bring the relationship? Or more specifically, if you become friends with the client will said client take advantage of your good nature. Like everything else decisions like this come about on a case by case basis. It is never easy when someone, a friend or client, breaks your trust, friendship or goodwill. In the end, business is all about goodwill, having the capacity to look at the bigger picture, accepting the things you can control and letting go of the rest.

    Sometimes no matter how hard you work or systems you put in place things go wrong, personalities clash and things don’t work out. I honestly believe that loving what you do and being passionate about your business is a great buffer to the ups and downs of entrepreneurial life.

    As regards quality, I think your log book is a fantastic idea. You can track customer satisfaction levels over time and see if the same issues come up again. Feedback can be hard to accept especially if it is negative but in the end it really is a gift, to make things better and even grow a bit.

    It can take some people a lifetime to learn life skills like conflict resolution and negotiation, lovely to see that your family had it in spades at such a young age.

    I really enjoyed reading your article. Continue to making us non-green fingered folks smile.

    All the best,


  2. Orlaith
    Orlaith says:

    A successful businessman told me this a few years ago and it has stuck with me since. He strongly believed that all successful businesses lose a percentage of clients as they grow bigger, change direction or modify their offering. For him it made perfect business sense to have a certain client attrition rate after x number of years. He reckoned that if you have the same clients you had when you started out it’s often a sign that you’re business is standing still. I agree with that to an extent but it does depend on the sector you’re operating in I suppose

  3. Philip
    Philip says:

    My personal opinion

    **** ’em all!
    **** ’em all!
    The long and the short and the tall;
    **** all the non-payers and bloody penny pinchers
    **** all them whiners and pumped up ould whingers
    For you’re saying goodbye to them all,
    As up their miserable garden paths they crawl;
    You’ll get no promotion anyway from any of these ****ers
    So cheer up Peter, **** ’em all!

  4. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    @mary carty
    thank you so much 🙂 wondered if i was alone there for a little bit….
    appreciated very much 😉

    a different spin on it. and also i would agree[ish] to an extent… that said I think people are just people and like mary said:

    Sometimes no matter how hard you work or systems you put in place things go wrong

    thanks orlaith 🙂

    It’s rare I have ever not allowed a comment… and what can I say to that 😆
    …and wipes the coffee off the computer screen 😉

    slán go foill

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