As a service provider I am constantly faced with commitments and timelines. In the past like many other service providers I have found myself challenged with keeping up with commitments set by myself. Some people might call it poor time management but the truth is I had trouble saying no to my clients. I always had this thing about saying no to my clients. It was always about keeping the clients happy. However the downfall is over committing or cutting yourself short. Sounds familiar?
Well the first thing about commitments is do not commit to anything without doing your homework. This requires you to check your schedule, leave room to breathe and an opportunity to over deliver. There are some clients who expect results yesterday. We all have that one client that thinks that they are the most important task since you got into business. The important step is show urgency and interest however do not deliver a timeline until you have checked your schedule.
Rather than saying, ” Yes I will meet that timeline”
Try, “I will look into it and get back to you on when I can get this done!”
When you agree to taking something on most client expect you to get on it right away. Its important to show interest yet also give your self time to identify if you can meet such a timeline.
The second most useful advise I can give you about timelines is to leave room to over deliver. If you know a task will be done in short time frame give yourself more time. This way if you deliver it before the timeline the client is left even more surprised and happy. Any customer will tell you how delighted they get when a service provider over delivers on a commitment.
If you do not meet client commitments you run the risk of losing credibility. You can also loose clients this way too.
These two guidelines are what I have been using for the past few months with tremendous success. What other tips can you offer on how to handle such timelines?