[thelist] fortress mentality (was RE: archiving Horde webmail onto your PC)

Joel D Canfield joel at streamliine.com
Mon Aug 13 06:52:17 CDT 2007

Once more unto the breach with Darrell King:

> I'm not going to adopt a fortress 
> mentality in my daily life

which, I think, is the business application of this (the concepts herein
echo recent comments in Seth Godin's blog, but have been my philosophy
for some time)

It's easy to adopt some version of a negative mindset when you're a
small business. You're beleagured by so many stresses that clients can
become just one more nuisance in your efforts to drain the swamp.

It shows up in a heartbeat when I recommend a money-back policy to my
clients. Most immediately assume that if they offer it, everyone will
take advantage of them. Sure; some will, but if you go out of business
after you offer a money-back policy, that policy wasn't to blame.

The usual approach is to treat each client as if they were a jerk just
waiting to cheat you. Not overtly (usually), but if you wouldn't offer
them an unconditional money-back guarantee, ask yourself why.

I've informally offered an absolute guarantee with both my web work,
marketing consulting to local musicians, and my own band. I've gotten
gigs that were ambivalent about whether they should hire a live band or
just get a DJ, when I made sure they realized that if we played and they
didn't like us, they didn't pay. I haven't been stiffed yet (I *have*
gotten tips that were more than the actual fee.)

In my web business, I've been asked for money back exactly once in 11
years. It wasn't fun, and we went through our post-mortem checklist to
see if we could make the client happy, and it was pretty clear, they
didn't *want* to be happy. Nothing we could have done would have helped;
they just wanted their money back, so we wrote 'em a check.

They never cashed the check, though, so I guess all I lost was a client
I didn't want anyway.


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