Poor Planning? Your Client Should Fire You.

It makes me crazy when I read things like this – the other day, I found this piece on Digitaria’s blog: When Good Ideas Get Expensive.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the presented scenario was a surprise to the author. There were so many red flags it was like watching a horror movie…don’t open that door…!

A quick synopsis: The client wants a solution to solve their business challenges, the agency comes up with an awesome, integrated idea, the client loves it…

They start working on the project, THEN they find out that there are problems – here’s the list:
Talent ‘costs a fortune’
Animation is held up to find and hire a specialist
Image licensing is ‘outrageous’
Differences with SEO agency on an app for mobile

What? That list should have been fleshed-out before presentation…

So, the solutions were to be ‘transparent’:
Be honest with your client when you pitch the idea, like ‘budget uncertainties’
Renegotiate budget/timeline or scope
Admit mistakes and have a ‘worst case scenario’ in your back pocket

Okay, transparency = we didn’t actually figure out how we were going to get this done, but please give us more time/money to create awesome.

Sorry guys, but the issues in this scenario should have been researched well before the pitch and presented not as ‘budget uncertainties’. At all.

If you don’t know how you’re going to build your awesome solution to your client’s business challenge, then it’s time to learn your job.

And then, the solutions to the issues were abysmal. Transparency aside, it’s more than honesty – it’s about doing your homework and being realistic.

You should never, ever present a starry-eyed approach to a solution without hard data. And renegotiating budget, scope or timeline after commencing production is asking your client to be okay with to your lack of planning and research.

You have to learn how to provide accurate costs upfront because ‘budget uncertainties’ can (and will) completely undo the effectiveness and beauty of a ‘solution’. Further they can put your agency (and your vendors) at a significant loss – especially when you decide to ‘eat’ those costs because the awesomeness cannot be compromised.

And that worst case scenario? Your client fires you for your inability to deliver on a promise.