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When your business is merely a budding idea and you begin to observe the habits of fellow business owners, it is possible to make a lot of assumptions about what others are doing. There are people that I have watched for some time who by all reasonable standards are really great at what they do and in turn have become very successful. It was not until I became a business owner and started to bring on clients, that I realized the hardest thing for any business owner to keep up is their level of execution.
In quite a few of my business dealings, the difference between me and my competitors has been easy to identify. The difference between what I do and what others do has been rooted in the fact that I take the time to understand my client’s needs. I get the work done and I have developed a unique approach to the task at hand. None of us start out with a flawless product. We start with an idea and some prototype of a product or service and the rest is history. That said, whether you are just starting out or at a point where you are scaling your business, you need to know that the only thing you have in business is your word and execution.
Each time you miss a deadline, an e-mail or fail to come through when you have promised execution, you may lose customers. I’m not saying that you have to function as a perfect being but try to get in the habit of never missing a beat; things happen. When you can anticipate and/or apologize for being a little off of your game, you will find that your customers will understand and give you the chance to get it right.
However, if you choose the road I see many business owners traversing down, overselling or promising more than what they are capable or willing to provide, you will quickly find yourself with a poor reputation (because news travels) and potentially out-of-business.
To avoid any pitfalls related to execution in business, consider the following suggestions:
- Do your due diligence upfront to understand your clients’ needs so you can compare them against how you may be able to help them.
- Recognize when your plate is full and know when to walk away from business. This is difficult, but we all have our thresholds in terms of bandwidth and what we can handle. This is where it is good to have other business owners that you respect and who do similar work to you on speed dial. This allows you to share the wealth in times of surplus. Everyone wins in this scenario.
- Under promise and over deliver. Or so the saying goes. When you are honest about what you can provide and actually provide a quality product- there will be no end to the kudos you will receive from customers. However, the sweet spot is when you knowingly under-promise and over-deliver blowing any expectation the client had for your product or service. This is where you garner life-long fans of your work that will extoll the virtues of your execution on their project for years to come.