Due DateBefore I get into deadlines, let’s come up with a friendlier word that lacks the connotations connected to your nearest funeral parlor.  From now on, I will refer to a deadline as due date.  Doesn’t that sound much better and not nearly as dreadful?

So you have your marketing plan, marketing calendar, marketing ideas, and, hopefully, marketing yourself, advertising plan together and a punctual person to hire. You are well on your way to having the foundation to a successful way to market you and your business.

You’ve taken the reins on all these aspects. Now it comes down to when you deliver your product or service. Some due dates are simple. If you are a distributor for say, locally grown fruits and vegetables, it is the farmers that will tell you when your product will be ready to be picked up and delivered.

Other fields, and frankly, most other fields, you are doing the work. It is all on you. We all want to tell the client they can receive their goods or services right away! Tomorrow! It’ll be done next week. But, like I have written before, “Life Happens” and, you know what, let it happen. Enjoy it. Here are a few ways how to enjoy the life and ways to keep you sane while being kind to the due dates.

DO NOT PUT UNREALISTIC DUE DATES ON YOURSELF.

This is an obvious one, but is it? Many people, especially self-employed, tend to feel like they must be full of stress and anxiety in order to feel like they are being productive and pushing themselves.

Self-employment is just that and it is tough to gage what other people are doing in your field and how fast, so the solution to legitimizing oneself? The marketing problem here is the: “Do it faster, tell the client you can do it faster for less money” scenario.  It’s the American way.  Don’t.

This is an admirable marketing goal, but speed costs and what are you willing to spend or sacrifice? Many times the quality of the work deteriorates or it is a completely unenjoyable, unfulfilling process. Nine times out of ten this pain stake is translated somewhere in the work delivered.

Take your time. You are worth the wait. Make the best of the task at hand and market yourself in delivering the best work. If it takes you a few extra days then you think someone else producing the same work is, so what. Odds are you will get better at your craft if you take your time and the turnaround time will naturally increase. Which leads me to….

DO NOT GIVE YOUR CLIENT AN UNREALISTIC DUE DATE.

Even if you do start turning work out faster as you get increasingly comfortable in your work, does not necessarily mean you need to tell the client an earlier due date.

Again, life happens and it is a life to enjoy. Give yourself a few extra days to produce your work and, who knows what you can accomplish beyond your clients expectations with that time. Give yourself the time to make errors, learn and most importantly…time to blow your client away with a quality product or service.

The worst feeling is telling your client you are going to be later then you anticipated. We all do it, but try to prevent that conversation from happening. It falls right in line with your new punctual self. You are on time to your meetings and on time with your due dates. These are valuable traits and word will spread fast through the grapevine about you.

WIGGLE ROOM FOR THE TIME SENSITIVE DUE DATE CRUNCH.

Particularly in the marketing and advertising realm, some jobs are very time sensitive and tight due dates are impossible to avoid. Another huge reason to give yourself some wiggle room when stating a realistic completion date.

Now, all of a sudden, you are the person that produces great work on a timely basis AND the person that can deliver when a client is in a crunch.  That’s a strategic and truthful marketing and advertising plan.

If you have too many tight due dates because you want to be the fastest to deliver, then when a client comes your way saying, “I need this now!” you won’t be able to accept the work without most likely, delaying all your other due dates.  This will screw up the reputation of meeting deadlines you have worked so hard to earn.

BE BETTER THEN THE STEREOTYPES.

A few days ago, I saw a commercial for, I think a Gillette air freshener.  It is advertised to last 30 days but may last longer.  Parallel to this statement is a guy that is redoing this couples kitchen and they both say it is going to last longer.  The guy says their kitchen will be done in a month and the couple says that it will last longer.  Sure enough, the air freshener and their kitchen rehab last 60 days. Â  It’s great advertising, marketed towards all of us who know that many people don’t meet their due dates.

Certain professions, we all get that it will probably take longer then what is quoted.  Be better then the stereotype your profession may have or, as usual, people anticipating that it will take longer to see a job completed.

I recommend not giving a due date immediately.  Go home and give it some careful thought and consideration to everything that could happen (including life!).  If you think about it and communicate the reasoning behind your due date, the client will have a better understanding of what steps it will take to meet the deadline and respect the thought you put behind it.

People love honesty, integrity and seeing a job meeting the deadline.  My personal gauge, is if I think something is going to take me three hours, I triple that time first thought to 9 hours.  Maybe the task at hand won’t take me 9 hours, but the bottom line is I covered myself, maybe have some extra time to let life happen and have a happy client on my hands.

I hope this helps you to meet your due dates, think about how your want to market and advertise yourself,  and to have fun doing it.

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