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10 Customer Types You Should Avoid to Build a Sustainable Business The customer is the lynchpin of a business and dealing with the right ones is very important for creating a sustainable enterprise

By Apoorve Dubey

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The fortunes of a company are dictated by the customers it deals with. Not every client is good for your business. In fact, some customers can really harm your business and put your company off track. Choosing the right customers is one of the most important aspects of building a company.

Your attention and energy should be spent where you can maximise the returns for your business. Customers who can give you short term gain but long-term pain are detrimental to a sustainable business. Some clients are simply going to hurt your business. It is important to identify them early and say no to them.

Unstable Business:

A company has many uncertainties and changing dynamics to deal with. Customers shouldn't be one of them. Dealing with unstable businesses can be outright complex. Companies that don't have a stable business are rarely bankable. These customers cause stress, pay late and are outright difficult to deal with. Figuring out the right company size in terms of revenues, industry type, number of employees etc. is important for defining the right client fit.

Inapt Location:

The location of your customers and market is a very significant factor in building your business.
When you are serving customers in places which are not ready for your products & services, it is a sure fire sign of distress. You will need to spend way too much effort to get clients on board. The momentum for customer acquisition decides the fate of your company. Dealing with markets that are not ready, lagging behind and don't value your products or services can hurt your prospects.

Can't Keep Commitments:

Trust and integrity are pillars on which businesses are built. When you have customers who make false promises, can't keep commitments and are hazy in their dealings, it can spell trouble for you. Customers who lack integrity, don't value their word and contracts cannot be trusted. These clients create lot of misunderstandings, causing you to deal with distractions more than the products or services you're offering them.

Unrealistic Expectations:

Some customers are outright hard to please. They complain no matter what you do for them. They are constantly on the lookout for things to get into conflict and very demanding. Clients with unrealistic expectations are not concerned about the feasibility of their demands. They are never pleased with the efforts or the services you offer them.

Low Profile:

It is hard to get recognition and brand value when you are dealing with low profile customers. Even a company with stellar products & services doesn't get its due when it deals with clients that no one knows about. A good customer is easily recognizable and builds credibility for your business. These customers add to your brand value and visibility in the market.

Shoestring Budget:

A customer that doesn't pay well or on time is damaging to your business. It is really important to identify a core group of customers who can help you to build your company. You can focus your energy and attention in serving those customers to the fullest. When you have customers who don't have the budget for your products/services, your company will have to bear the opportunity cost. It can be rather costly to deal with such customers in the long run.

Conflicting Roadmap:

Customers are not always right. In fact, a lot of times they lack the complete picture of what your products/services are supposed to do. They are simply interested in finding out what your products/services don't do and want those things in a hurry. These changes don't add value. It derails the focus areas for your company. They want to keep your team busy without any meaningful work. It can seriously affect the vision and roadmap for your products/services.

Interference in your Business:

These customers have an opinion on everything you do. The products & services you deliver to them never meet their needs, they also have lots of ideas and suggestions on every aspect of your business. The interference of these clients can affect your autonomy of how you want to build your company. These adamant customers can also affect the morale of your teams adversely.

No Synergy:

Your ideal customers are part of your success story. They share your success story of your business and create a compelling narrative. However, with difficult customers, it is often not possible to focus on your business. They're not concerned about your business at all. The synergy effect is missing leading to chaos and confusion in association with them.

No Referrals & Networking:

When you deal with a customer who tries to lock out opportunities for your business, it can cause serious damage to your growth prospects. A customer, who is not willing to be generous with referrals, doesn't have a good network & industry contacts can curtail your business. On the contrary, a happy customer brings consistent business and rewarding opportunities with them.


As an entrepreneur, you want to invest your time in building products and services for customers who're a force multiplier for your business. When you're dealing with companies that don't understand your aspirations, it creates hurdles for your development.

The customer is the lynchpin of a business, but dealing with the right ones is very important for creating a sustainable enterprise. Your products and services should help your customers to be more successful and vice versa. When there is mutual trust, fairness and consistency in business relationships, success and synergy is assured.

Apoorve Dubey

Founder and C.E.O, Kreyon Systems Pvt. Ltd

 Apoorve Dubey is the founder and C.E.O of Kreyon Systems Pvt. Ltd, a fast growing Software company that serves clients in more than 10 countries. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras. He is the author of the best-selling book, “The Flight of Ambition” published by Macmillan and a co-author of “Successful organisations in action”.

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