If you run a business long enough, you’re definitely going to find yourself in the position of having to cancel a service, subscription, or software. Doing this has the potential to be uncomfortable, especially if you have any sort of history or personal relationship with the service provider.
In fact, you may find yourself procrastinating having this conversation, because you’re worried about hurting the relationship (even though it may be hurting your business’ bottom line or progress to not have the conversation!).
If this is happening for you, take a big deep breath! Today, we’re going to talk all about how to end a business relationship so you can slim down your spending and find a new situation that works for your business’ current needs.
This article will provide you with some suggestions on exactly what to say, so you can move in the best direction for your business, rest assured you’re keeping your costs lean and your take home pay maximized.
Why You Might End a Business Relationship
Business relationships can end for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you’ve determined you can find a better deal on a service you need, or you’ve taken a hard look at your business and realized you don’t need that service at all! Businesses also grow and change over time, so it could be that this relationship is one that no longer serves your ultimate vision.
Whatever your reasoning for ending a business relationship, there’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to end it. You want to walk away from the experience feeling like you’ve shut a door, not burned a bridge.
By that, I mean that you want to stay professional but firm, but you also want to be mindful of how you approach the other party, in case you can continue offering each other referrals or your needs change and you want to resume your agreement in the future.
I also want to acknowledge that ending a relationship, especially a long-term one, can feel awkward, and you might be hesitant about stepping away. It can be really uncomfortable to tell someone you don’t want their product or expertise anymore, even if it’s not personal – and that is totally okay!
We all feel like this sometimes. But, if you want to continue to make decisions that are going to build your business, you occasionally will have to have tough talks like this.
What you don’t want to do is to procrastinate on deleting a service, spending extra money you DON’T need to, and wasting extra mental energy when you could free up that space in your mind to create something great in your business.
To help make this whole process a bit easier, below are some suggestions on what to say to help you end a business relationship efficiently, and like a pro.
Method 1: To the Point
This method cuts out any potential overthinking and gets to the heart of the matter. I suggest something like:
“I appreciate all the help that [company] has given me over the last few years, but my situation has changed and I will need to discontinue the service. I wish you all the best.”
Short, sweet, and to the point!
Remember that not all circumstances require an explanation. Sometimes, if you’re simply canceling something and there aren’t any personal relationships on the line, it’s better to just end the relationship by notifying the other party that you no longer want their product or service.
Otherwise, if you do have a personal relationship with the other business owner or staff, you may want to consider the next method.
Method 2: It’s Not You, It’s Me
Here’s the simple script:
“Thanks for all your help and support. It was exactly what I needed at the time. However, I’ve recently realized my needs have changed, so it would be best if this was our last [session/month/etc].”
Ending a relationship in this manner does a few things for you. First, it expresses your gratitude about what they have done for you in the past, and builds them up.
Second, it doesn’t place the blame on anyone, or attack the other party in any way. You’re simply saying that while their product or service was perfect for you before, your business has gone in a different direction and now you need something different.
If neither of these two first methods feel right, you might consider the last method.
Method 3: Complete Honesty
For this method, make sure you’re being completely honest with yourself before you approach the other party. Do some self-reflection, and really look at what part of the business relationship you contributed that just isn’t working right now.
Not only will this will help you improve your business practices and systems in the future, but it will help you decide whether being completely honest is the best way forward for you. It will also give you an idea of what you need out of future business relationships to help you succeed.
If you decide this method isn’t best for you and the future of your business, I suggest you take another look at method 1 or 2 and see if one of these options is a better fit.
Ending unnecessary business relationships does more than just simplify the running of your business. It also can help you seriously cut costs and reveal extra money in your budget that you can reallocate toward bringing the vision you have to life, or increase your take-home pay!
About the Author
Sarah DeShaw is the author of the Budget Detox Workbook, a 7-day financial cleanse for your small business.