Nurture Every Relationship
The most important lesson I've learned is that starting a client relationships only gets you so far. You have to expand beyond just the initial relationship and grow the relationships you've built. See you can get clients and be pretty successful. You meet someone, you get their business card, email back and forth, close the deal then let an employee manage the relationship. Rinse and repeat.
As a business owner, it's not easy to be involved in every client you have. To keep up with what's going on with your clients, successfully run a business and grow a business is not for every business owner. However, it's that ability that separates good from the bad. Business owners that have no idea what is going on with their clients are the business owners that obsess over non-competes. They find themselves stressing when employees leave and doing anything they can to save face with their clients, which actually does more harm than good. And besides, who wants to live like this?
As a business owner you don't have to actively manage each client you have. It's just not possible. But that shouldn't prevent you from having an active knowledge as to what's going on with them. Consider how long it takes to pick up a phone and call a client. A hour? You call one client a day, with twenty days in a month and you're off to a pretty good start.
Now, if you're dealing with a hundred clients, this isn't nearly as simple a task. In this case you must hire people you trust wholeheartedly to run the business and take care of them at all costs. Interject yourself whenever possible, to again, show that you give a damn.
Social networks allow us to have a vested interested in our clients lives. I liken it to the '50s when your local pharmacists knew everything about their customers, from the kids names, to their birthday and the dog's name. Social allows us to have that same kind of relationship with our clients. I remember my dad knowing everything about his clients and being able to recall this information at the drop of a hat. This allowed him to hold onto all of his relationships, because the client knew he gave a shit.
This takes effort, but oh how it pays off in the long run.
The thing is, this doesn't stop at clients. Your employees should be treated the exact same way. Believe me, giving a shit about people goes a long way.