I need a new wife

That isn't to say I want to get rid of the old one. Smokey the Magnificent makes the finest chocolate ice-cream, mousse, pana cota, cake, cookies, muffins and other diabetes-related foodstuffs in the southern hemisphere.

But lately she has been showing signs of insurrection.

Just the other day, she felt I needed some kind of come-uppance for an infraction so minor I forget its details. But when the direct approach of hitting me with something solid failed (I have some training in European martial arts & Wing Chun) — she tried something downright sneaky:

A make-up hug with a knee-to-the-groin payload.

So I'm thinking it might be time to retire her to the kitchen — where her damage potential is more limited — and sign on another wife or two to take over the things she ain't so good at (like picking damp towels off the bed).

Hey, it works for Dennis the Quail-Bird. He has like SIX wives.

Of course, I am entirely joking — I am very fond of Smokey the Magnificent, and she needs neither replacement nor augmentation. But it does remind me of a more serious business lesson:

Sometimes, customer relationships that start off well eventually go sour. Some customers aren't what they seem. They get sneaky. They start to take advantage. Or they get downright abusive.

When that happens, the only GOOD thing to do is part ways as quickly and amicably as possible.

Unfortunately, that's not our instinctive response. Usually, we try to fix it. That seems like a good course of action, but it's actually a huge waste of time and emotional energy.

I'm not saying you shouldn't try to have the best relationships with your customers that you can. Of course you SHOULD. But part of that actually does involve developing a keen eye for relationships that are going bad — so you can nip them in the bud.

You know, before they turn really nasty and you have to take out a restraining order.

It's natural and good to want to fix things up — but remember, you're not constrained by a vow of lifelong fidelity to your customers. There aren't any kids to get scarred if you "break up".

So sometimes that is exactly what you need to do.

Yes, it's hard. Conflict usually is — but no one said being an entrepreneur was easy. Like anything worth doing, it sometimes involves tough decisions and ruffled feathers.

Mind you, if you are ROUTINELY dealing "break-ups" maybe the problem isn't them. Maybe YOU are doing something wrong. Maybe you're attracting the wrong people.

In which case, check out www.shirtsleevesmarketing.com to get the best tips on attracting the right people.

You can also check it out if you'd just like to attract more of the right people.

Talk again soon,