Protect your business if you only have one major client

Many businesses (especially in the B2B space) have only one major client; one big fish that provides the majority of income and profit for a smaller business or startup. What happens if that client drops you for some reason? It’s every small business owner’s worst fear.

For businesses that rely on larger companies for the majority of their revenue, losing this income could spell the end. As a venture doing work for other businesses, you can’t control your clients’ decisions, but you can build a strong relationship. This will give you a better chance of retaining the client should they face financial cuts and unforeseen restraints.

Ways to prevent being dropped

You need to ensure that your product or service is better than any other competitor’s offering. Your major clients will want the best service or product and will be willing to pay a higher price for it even when faced with budget cuts.

Your major clients will be more likely to keep you employed if they like what you have to offer and they know that they won’t get the same service elsewhere. If your products or services are average, it will be easy for your clients to drop you when they need to make some cuts.

Another way to maximise your chances of being retained during difficult times is to approach other larger businesses like your major client. You don’t necessarily have to approach their competitors, but you can showcase your offering to large corporations in other industries too.

You can tell prospective clients that you have another major client who is really happy with your work and that you can do similar work for them. Show them how you’ve helped your existing client and what their customers say about your work.

By approaching other big businesses and showing them that you’re successfully doing work for a major brand, you’re more likely to sign them on as a client as well. This not only means more income but more protection if one client decides to leave.

Extend contracts and diversify your client base

Once you sign on more clients, try to extend the contracts for as long as possible. This can be done through performance clauses in the contract that state if you function at a certain level, the contract will renew automatically.

You should also actively pursue smaller clients. Even though the margins and income from small clients may not be as good, they will at least provide some income should a big client drop you. The small clients can create a buffer that will allow your company to survive for a couple of months until you sign on another big client.

Save as much of your income as possible – prepare for the worst and you’ll be able to survive should it happen. If you have to retrench employees as a last resort, try to help them find other jobs. Put them in contact with other business owners who may be able to help.

When a major client decides to end a contract, try to focus on the positives. You managed to land a huge client which means that you can do it again. Having their brand name on your reference list will show other big companies that you offer a quality product or service.


Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.


Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.


Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.


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