At take-off and early stages, many entrepreneurs tend to want to win the ‘big’ businesses from their potential customers and make all the money they can make. This is desirable, but there is need for understanding and caution.
Executing jobs and getting them completed to the satisfaction of clients requires varying resources. These resources include personnel expertise, time, finances, relationships etc. If your new venture lacks the minimum resources required to get a job done, it can hurt you in the long-run. Over-trading, for instance, is one of the major causes of business distress and even failure. It is therefore important that while you can and should stretch yourself and your enterprise, you must focus on and ensure that you are able to deliver as expected or preferably better than expected and promised. How do you go about ensuring that you focus on delivery?
Understand what it takes to deliver in your business:
Provide the required resources: As mentioned earlier, you need resources to deliver on your contractual obligations. You need to ensure that you provide whatever is reasonably required without being wasteful or losing on efficiency. Personnel skills and expertise, financial resources, time, production capacity, etc., may be part of the resources you need. Depending on your business and scale, ensure that you have what it takes to deliver what you are committing to.
Establish clear processes and build structure to get things done in your enterprise: Elsewhere on Tit-bits, we have discussed the need to create the requisite structure and processes for the execution of your contracts. We have mentioned that depending on what you do and your business stage, you may need to emphasize one over the other. Whatever mix of the two you have, you have to ensure that they deliver to your customers’ delight.
Negotiate realistic terms of delivery: Negotiating realistic terms of delivery with your clients is a very good way of ensuring that you do not fail them. Contrary to what many start-up entrepreneurs believe, most clients are willing to adjust their own schedules to accommodate realistic deliveries from suppliers of goods and services. Most people are better off being told honestly that their service will be delivered in thirty days, which comes to pass, than to be told that it will be delivered in a week and then fail them. You are better off losing a business at the beginning because you are honest about what you can’t meet than to lose it later because you failed to meet what you committed to. In the former case, you will remain trusted and can still win another business opportunity from the same client in the future but in the latter it makes getting more business from the same customer difficult if not impossible.
Be aggressive in execution: Having committed to some terms of delivery and winning the business, your next challenge becomes the need to deliver without fail. No matter what terms you negotiate with the client, it puts you and your business in good stead to aggressively execute and deliver ahead of what you committed to.
Keep your clients informed: At the slightest indication that you may not be able to meet delivery dates agreed with clients, discuss with them and work towards meeting any new dates that might be re-agreed upon. Being upfront and honest with your clients with keep you in their good books no matter the challenges you may face together.
Scale-up assuredly but realistically: Even as you are realistic on what you can do, you have to deliberately work towards building your capacity to scale up and do more. Scaling up gradually but deliberately helps strengthen your overall people and system and capacities.
Rather than failing on a mighty project due to lack of capacity and resources, you are better off succeeding on smaller projects and scaling up as you build capacity, resources and reputation for getting things done.
A long term perspective to issues is what will keep you focused on sucessful deliveries rather than short-term wins that will hurt your future.
Feature photo credit: Tuan86 on Pexel