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SH*T happens. Deal with it!

WJS

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There’s a chance that I might lose my first (and big) contract but I’m oddly calm about it. Okay I’m not THAT calm but the usual me would have been a big mess by now.

Let me give you a glimpse of how much this contract means to me. If we (my business partner and I) actually get it done, it’ll be recurring income for both of us for years to come. That recurring monthly income is enough to replace my salary, while giving me more time to get new contracts, and have more freedom.

We provide offline SAAS to a niche industry. It can increase clients’ productivity and reduce their margin of error. When the client tried it, he saw what it can do for his company and loved it. He negotiated fiercely with us and we finally agreed on the price and signed the contract not too long ago. This entire process took about 1 month plus.

So what happened? It was a careless mistake actually. We did not check the client’s IT hardware specifications. The software has really low requirements and we figured most companies would have the necessary hardware to let it function properly.

Boy were we WRONG. The client’s IT hardware was so outdated our software couldn’t work on the computers. There were crashes here and there and only a few users were able to successfully use it. We were speechless. As the client was away for business trip we could only tell his manager what went wrong and that hardware upgrade is needed.

Needless to say when the client came back, he was furious. WE SHOULD HAVE CHECKED THE FREAKING HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS! There was no excuse for it. We immediately apologized for the carelessness. We gave our reason (his company is big so we assumed) and asked him to give us another chance to work it out.

His initial messages were unforgiving (to the tune of voiding the contract). However after some time I got a call from his assistant. He wanted to meet up with us for another discussion, together with his IT guy.

I’ve mentally prepared myself and in my mind these are the possible scenarios:

1) Best case scenario:
We get more verbal reprimands from the client, but he agrees to fork out the additional money for hardware upgrade and we proceed as per the contract.

2) Neutral scenario:
Both parties compromise. We will absorb part of the cost for upgrade, but the hardware will be our property should client decides to end the contract. It will be additional cost to us, but the pro outweighs the con by a big margin here so it’s still worth it.

3) Worst case scenario:
If the client makes unreasonable demands (like reducing our pre-agreed contract value), we’ll walk. Period. While the contract is very important to us, this is where we will draw the line. There are other trees in the forest. We just have to take the lesson and move forward.

I predict the most likely outcome to be either 1) or 2). It all depends on the discussion next week. Anything can happen but I’m prepared.

What I’m trying to say here is SH*T happens. There’s no way to avoid it. You can, however, be proactive and take immediate action to remedy the situation. And if things really do fall apart, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not the end of the world. You can always start over again.
 

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jon.a

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Look at this from your clear professional perspective.
He knew that he needed to upgrade or at least his IT guy should have.
If he is going to be an a$$ about his own failure, he is going to be an a$$ about everything.
I'm not sure that they were negotiating in good faith from the get go.
Maybe you are the ones that should be acting all but hurt.
 

WaterWerks

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good luck with that. ive learned that sometimes no matter how good things might seem, some things are just not meant to be.
 
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WJS

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Look at this from your clear professional perspective.
He knew that he needed to upgrade or at least his IT guy should have.
If he is going to be an a$$ about his own failure, he is going to be an a$$ about everything.
I'm not sure that they were negotiating in good faith from the get go.
Maybe you are the ones that should be acting all but hurt.
His IT guy is a 3rd party contractor, and the client himself has basically next to zero IT knowledge. He's only pissed off because the issue came up after we had done almost everything. If he knew it beforehand, I think he would have no problem upgrading the hardware. Our dealings with him before this was actually rather pleasant. He honoured every word he said and paid us 6 months in advance. The cheque is with us now but we can't bank in due to the pending discussion. Having said that, if the worst case scenario happens we will draw the line.

good luck with that. ive learned that sometimes no matter how good things might seem, some things are just not meant to be.
Yes I am aware of that. But I'm going to give it one last shot before calling it quits.
 

Olimac21

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Thats very good either to get super stressed about a bad outcome is better get up asap, analyze the failure in an objective way and improve your craft.
 
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WJK

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There’s a chance that I might lose my first (and big) contract but I’m oddly calm about it. Okay I’m not THAT calm but the usual me would have been a big mess by now.

Let me give you a glimpse of how much this contract means to me. If we (my business partner and I) actually get it done, it’ll be recurring income for both of us for years to come. That recurring monthly income is enough to replace my salary, while giving me more time to get new contracts, and have more freedom.

We provide offline SAAS to a niche industry. It can increase clients’ productivity and reduce their margin of error. When the client tried it, he saw what it can do for his company and loved it. He negotiated fiercely with us and we finally agreed on the price and signed the contract not too long ago. This entire process took about 1 month plus.

So what happened? It was a careless mistake actually. We did not check the client’s IT hardware specifications. The software has really low requirements and we figured most companies would have the necessary hardware to let it function properly.

Boy were we WRONG. The client’s IT hardware was so outdated our software couldn’t work on the computers. There were crashes here and there and only a few users were able to successfully use it. We were speechless. As the client was away for business trip we could only tell his manager what went wrong and that hardware upgrade is needed.

Needless to say when the client came back, he was furious. WE SHOULD HAVE CHECKED THE FREAKING HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS! There was no excuse for it. We immediately apologized for the carelessness. We gave our reason (his company is big so we assumed) and asked him to give us another chance to work it out.

His initial messages were unforgiving (to the tune of voiding the contract). However after some time I got a call from his assistant. He wanted to meet up with us for another discussion, together with his IT guy.

I’ve mentally prepared myself and in my mind these are the possible scenarios:

1) Best case scenario:
We get more verbal reprimands from the client, but he agrees to fork out the additional money for hardware upgrade and we proceed as per the contract.

2) Neutral scenario:
Both parties compromise. We will absorb part of the cost for upgrade, but the hardware will be our property should client decides to end the contract. It will be additional cost to us, but the pro outweighs the con by a big margin here so it’s still worth it.

3) Worst case scenario:
If the client makes unreasonable demands (like reducing our pre-agreed contract value), we’ll walk. Period. While the contract is very important to us, this is where we will draw the line. There are other trees in the forest. We just have to take the lesson and move forward.

I predict the most likely outcome to be either 1) or 2). It all depends on the discussion next week. Anything can happen but I’m prepared.

What I’m trying to say here is SH*T happens. There’s no way to avoid it. You can, however, be proactive and take immediate action to remedy the situation. And if things really do fall apart, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not the end of the world. You can always start over again.
You're mistake is a beginner's folly. Forgive yourself and do better next time.

You need to create a master list of possible problems; for sure put this problem on your list. And then spend the time to flesh out that master list with everything you can think of that MIGHT go wrong. Then take that master list and boil it down to a company project check list. Every time you get a new client, go through your check list, amending it for the client specific needs from your master list. Then follow through, checking off each and every item during your project. You goal should be to solve problems before they ever raise their nasty head.

Good luck!
 

Damien Dev

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Mar 19, 2018
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If they're running F*cking Windows XP or some other other outdated crap that to me says that they're not willing to invest in technology! Huge red flag.

That said, you can take reasonable steps to accomodate fossils if there's enough money in it for you. I wouldn't apologise profusely, I'd just work towards a good outcome which it sounds to me like you're doing. Sounds like it's more of an ego thing than a money thing if he's written the cheque.
 

Fastlane Liam

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Hold up man you haven't lost yet,

Can't you take some stance of: you're going to need to upgrade at some point
Whatever you implement will need an upgrade
The next guy you hire will need the upgrade, we're 2 feet from finished?
 
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WJS

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If they're running f*cking Windows XP or some other other outdated crap that to me says that they're not willing to invest in technology! Huge red flag.

That said, you can take reasonable steps to accomodate fossils if there's enough money in it for you. I wouldn't apologise profusely, I'd just work towards a good outcome which it sounds to me like you're doing. Sounds like it's more of an ego thing than a money thing if he's written the cheque.
Hold up man you haven't lost yet,

Can't you take some stance of: you're going to need to upgrade at some point
Whatever you implement will need an upgrade
The next guy you hire will need the upgrade, we're 2 feet from finished?
Thanks for your concern guys. I will know more when I meet up with the client. It's not over yet. The fact that he's calling for a meeting with his IT contractor means he's still interested. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this
 
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WJS

WJS

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So we went for our meeting with the client. He was late and we had to wait in his conference room. Nervousness kicked in while we sat quietly in the empty room and watched the seconds ticked away.


10 minutes passed by. No signs of him coming in.



20 minutes… Still nothing…



After more than 30 minutes, he came rushing in, apologetic for being late. He was very polite to us and showed no signs of negative emotions. That gave us a huge relief. Then he invited us into his office, and got his staff to make us tea.

We proceeded with the discussion with the IT contractor speaking to us over the phone’s loudspeaker. The client asked him to come at a much later time as he thought he would be very late.

We had a very fruitful discussion that day. Not only did the client agreed to pay for all the upgrades, he also spent some time with us to sort out some issues that we’ve been meaning to discuss with him.

So the best case scenario played out, and it was even better than what I had imagined. We’d still have to wait for the upgrade to take place before we can be 100% safe, but as of now, it’s a done deal. More work will be waiting for us once the upgrade takes place.

The take away lessons I got from this incident:

1) When you screw up, take immediate actions to remedy the situation. Client might not be happy that things didn’t go smoothly, but they’ll know that you can be trusted. That will help you grow your business and reputation in the long run.

2) In whatever situation, always hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
 

Fastlane Liam

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So we went for our meeting with the client. He was late and we had to wait in his conference room. Nervousness kicked in while we sat quietly in the empty room and watched the seconds ticked away.


10 minutes passed by. No signs of him coming in.



20 minutes… Still nothing…



After more than 30 minutes, he came rushing in, apologetic for being late. He was very polite to us and showed no signs of negative emotions. That gave us a huge relief. Then he invited us into his office, and got his staff to make us tea.

We proceeded with the discussion with the IT contractor speaking to us over the phone’s loudspeaker. The client asked him to come at a much later time as he thought he would be very late.

We had a very fruitful discussion that day. Not only did the client agreed to pay for all the upgrades, he also spent some time with us to sort out some issues that we’ve been meaning to discuss with him.

So the best case scenario played out, and it was even better than what I had imagined. We’d still have to wait for the upgrade to take place before we can be 100% safe, but as of now, it’s a done deal. More work will be waiting for us once the upgrade takes place.

The take away lessons I got from this incident:

1) When you screw up, take immediate actions to remedy the situation. Client might not be happy that things didn’t go smoothly, but they’ll know that you can be trusted. That will help you grow your business and reputation in the long run.

2) In whatever situation, always hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
BINGO!!!!!!
 

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