Deadlines are a natural part of a business, whether you’re a junior or an owner. Being able to manage them effectively is one of the things that will see you go far. Naturally, deadlines go hand-in-hand with the logistics side of things, including not only the movement of physical items in the supply chain, but information too.
The critical point to all of this if you’re a business owner or manager, is communication. Get that part right, and hitting deadlines will be a breeze.
To Make Things Go Right
Few businesses involve just a single person doing their work and sending it out in isolation. It’s usually a matter of everyone being co-ordinated, and several people will play a part in a particular deadline being hit.
To keep things running smoothly, everyone needs to know where everyone else is at, much like in a supply chain. If everyone knows when to expect smaller deadlines that cumulate into the big one, they’ll be able to do their job a lot better.
Encourage all of your employees to communicate well throughout projects and throughout the day. Nobody should be surprised when something comes through. The smoother things are, with fewer peaks and troughs, the easier it’ll be for you to hit those deadlines. This goes for external companies too; if you’re using a courier, then make sure they’re integrated into your plans and communications too.
When Things Go Wrong
Of course, deadlines can’t always be hit. Sometimes it’s down to circumstances beyond your control, sometimes it’s down to a single person, but most of the time, the process hasn’t quite worked, and a few people are the cause. In such a scenario, managing expectations is so very important.
It’s very rare that you won’t realise that a deadline isn’t going to be hit until it’s missed, so be open about it. Customers, clients and partners are far more likely to give you an easier time if you tell them in advance. That way, they too can manage their logistics and keep that smoothness that’s so important as they try to solve the problem. As a corollary to this – communication is important with those that were involved in the deadline not being met. Make them aware of their impact, but excessive blame is very unlikely to help in the future or to clear the backlog there and then.
The biggest mistake that small businesses do when handling missed deadlines is giving excuses. Excuses – especially made in a defensive tone – won’t help at all; in fact, those will expose your business to unwanted and unnecessary effects: Losing customers, disgruntled customers spreading their dissatisfaction on social media, or – even worse – getting sued.
As you can see, communication is important in any types of relationships, most notably personal and business relationships. That said, as a takeaway, you should find a way to ramp up your business communication. If, as the owner, you feel that you lack in this area, it’s advisable for you to hire a brand ambassador – or better yet, create one in-house.
The bottom line is this: Don’t take communication for granted, as it can make or break your business.
Now over to you: Are you ready to ramp up your business communication? If so, what’s your plan for improvement? Please share your thoughts with us.