A bit of harsh reality
In this line of work you sometimes get clients who come to you hoping the internet will save their business. It won’t. Not on it’s own anyway. Thing is, if there is a problem somewhere, you have to deal with it before taking on another venture, otherwise chances are you’ll simply be out more money and no better off for the expenditure.
One situation that really stands out to me, is where the client has been at it all so long that they simply forgot that they used to love their business. Over the years, they’ve found a pattern. You know, a “rut”. Once there it can be a challenge to get out. A nice deep rut blocks the view of the horizon and kills the imagination. (All the stuff that made you successful in the first place.) In companies like this new ideas fall on deaf ears, the buck is always in mid-pass, and sadly customers are seen as inevitable irritations… These are what I call “revitalization” projects. The only thing worse than working with a company in this phase, is being their customer.
I try to avoid these sorts of situations as much as possible. It’s not rebuilding mind you, it’s the fire. Without the excitement and energy we have nothing to build on. It really bums me out when I can see the path to a successful campaign, only to realize that the bigger issue is the client’s lack of enthusiasm for their own product or service or even their customers that is sucking the wind out of their sails. In that case all you can do is be honest and tell them exactly that. After all, they are paying you to help them find solutions. A bit of harsh reality may be the most valuable solution you can offer.