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Losing Clients: Two Types of Women Entrepreneurs, Two Types of Responses

As today’s economy continues to take its toll on small businesses everywhere, losing clients can be more damaging than ever. A new study reveals that different types of women entrepreneurs have different approaches to running a business and dealing with everyday business challenges. This article details how two different types of women entrepreneurs are likely to respond to the loss of a client – along with insights for building business resilience and moving ahead.

Losing clients is never easy, and in an increasingly unforgiving economy, it can be an especially dangerous trend. But while client loss is an issue that every business owner will face, sooner or later, not all entrepreneurs are likely to respond in the same way.

Last week’s article covered the likely responses of three “Janes,” Jane Dough, Accidental Jane, and Tenacity Jane.  This week, we explore the reactions of Go Jane Go and Merry Jane.

Go Jane Go is a successful female entrepreneur who has grown her business to the point that she may struggle to get time away from work. She’s confident and organized, and is likely to have put systems in place to get her work done in an efficient manner—which may have something to do with why she’s four times as likely as the average female business owner to hit the million-dollar. Accounting for 14% of all women entrepreneurs, Go Jane Go types are the least common of the five Jane types.

Because Go Jane Go has grown her business to the point where her she has plenty of work coming in—and the right systems in place to accommodate that work—the loss of a single client (or even two or three) does not pose a serious threat to her business.

However, because Go Jane Go tends cares so much about her clients, the loss of one or more of them may set off some serious alarm bells anyway. If the customer had been a good one with whom she had a relationship, she may feel guilt about whether she failed to provide the right level of service and almost obsessed about what she might have done wrong or what she might have done to prevent the loss.  This “looking backward” approach can take up considerable energy from Go Jane Go and keep her from being able to see all of the good she has done. 

It is also possible, again depending on the relationship, that Go Jane Go might actually feel relieved.  In these cases, it is likely that the relationship wasn’t working for Go Jane Go but because she is committed to good service and doesn’t generally like to engage in what she may see as confrontation, she may have been quietly suffering the relationship.  When this client goes, she may actually feel liberated. 

In either case, Go Jane Go has an opportunity to remind herself to depersonalize things somewhat and focus on re-investing her energy.  In the case of the “bad” customer, she is now free to spend her time focusing on stronger and better relationships.  In the case of the lost “good” customer, she should:

1-     acknowledge that sometimes things happen that are out of our control,  

2-     give herself credit for all the things she did that were right

3-     acknowledge any lessons learned and commit to improving next time

4-     and finally, release any guilt feelings and reinvest her energy in a happier way.

Our last entrepreneur, Merry Jane, is very committed to running her business in a way that helps her be master of her own time.  She realizes she may not be making as much money as  she might, but she’s happily running her company in a way that works for her lifestyle.  Roughly 19% of women business owners are Merry Janes.

Merry Jane cares about her customers and wants to keep them, but at the same time she knows that she only has so much time to invest in any given customer.  Therefore, when a customer leaves, she is likely to see it fairly pragmaticallyFind Article, knowing that sometimes these things happen in business.  She’ll quickly turn her attention to identifying the next new customer to replace the loss.

Interested in learning more about the five Jane types? Check out


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Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at

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