Should One Tell a Client that His Dream Will be a Failure?

Jan 18, 2006 • 8:38 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Web Promotion

There is an excellent thread in the Search Engine Marketing forum at Search Engine Watch Forums named Are we obligated to tell the client. The thread creator tells a story that I am sure most Web design/development/etc companies have been faced with. To sum it up....

Prospect A comes to you with his dream idea, to build the next eBay. :) You listen to his idea and feel that it would be a waste of his money and time, since ultimately it will fail. Are you obligated to tell the prospect your feelings? If so, and you do, should you take on the job? That is the discussion taking place in that thread.

I added my two cents by comparing it to starting any business. Don't most new business fail within the first year? I forgot the percentages. But it is pretty similar, but in this case, you are the main contractor for the job.

Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.

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01/18/2006 05:41 pm

I think a contractor should give advice and not his or her opinion. In no way is the contractor obligated to make the business successful either. As long as that is understood by both parties than I see no issues arising. It's up to the business owner to have a good business model and backup plan. Also it's the internet. No one knows what will be success or not. Some really great ideas/business have gone out of business within a year while bad ideas have stuck around forever. -PK

Mary Schmidt

01/18/2006 11:01 pm

As a biz dev consultant, my job is to give opinions, perspective including the good, the bad the ugly. But, I've found that most people go ahead and jump even when told of overwhelming competition, barriers to entry, that they're woefully underfinanced, etc. However, if you're "simply" (ha!) building a web site/e-commerce system, I think it's up to your personal comfort level. As noted above, none of us can predict with certainty what will and won't work. You could give the client some perspective in terms such as "have you considered?" within the context of building the best site/system possible.


01/19/2006 04:22 am

I think that you should tell the client to expect heavy competition or whatever she is up against. However, the client might surprise you with her skill, expertise, and determination.... and someday she might own your company. If you are not up for the job, don't assume that she can't do it.

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