Walking from a restaurant this afternoon, I ran into an old schoolmate (loosely put). I hadn’t seen her for almost 20 years and barely recognized her; but she yelled out my name like I’d forgotten to pay back some lunch money in 1986.

“Andy Clark!” Yes, I used to and still occasionally go by that. “What the hell are you up to?” she blurted across the parking lot.

I’d forgotten how loud she was. “Uh, hi Trish.”

“I heard you were living in Boston ‘er sumthin’. What the f—‘s up with that?”

Redirecting my pace toward her – simply to shorten the distance sound waves would have to carry – I looked around the parking lot to see if anyone I knew was around…

“No,” I calmly responded, “That was just a year of college. I moved back to Des Moines in ’91.”

“Huh.” She grunted. “Have you talked to Jimmy or Darryl lately? These were two “mutual friends” from the good ol’ days.

“No, I haven’t talked to those guys since high school. Anyway, I think Darryl is in jail…”

And without pause, she rolled into, “I hear Stephanie is getting divorced again, too! What the…”

…and the conversation went on like that for about ten minutes. Eventually, the conversation waned down to a bunch of “sighs” and “humph” sounds… I even found myself looking around and kicking rocks into a near by gutter opening… We’d both realized that we no longer had anything in common, and were better off just moseying on our own ways.

Sad? Frustrating? More like revealing.

So, why the short peek into my (somewhat) bizarre lunch hour? Proof that growth isn’t always universal.

Face it. Your business is going to grow – if anything, it’s bound to evolve. We all have “those clients” that we hold on to for one reason or another – whether it’s because they’ve simply been around since the “good ‘ol days,” or, they’re just really nice folks. But as your company transitions, your clients should do the same.

Look at your client list. If they all don’t fit your profile of a perfect client – an integral part of your company brand – then you may have to consider moving on (without them).

I can guarantee that you don’t do business the same way you did 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. Brands evolve (for good or bad), and your client list should as well.

If there are clients that make you (or anyone in the company) roll your eyes, do you think it’s time to evaluate that relationship? You may have evolved. The client may have evolved. Maybe not.

And a side note to Trish – sorry about Puckey and ZoZo… I’m sure the dawgs will survive.

Keep Cooking
Andrew B. Clark
— The Brand Chef