Any entrepreneur that starts with a great business idea can soon find themselves full of ambition, but with no gumption. And as entrepreneurs or business owners find themselves on the brink of deadlines, the fact is that we get caught up in two distinct things: how well we meet the deadlines and the quality of our work in relation to them. What does it really take to ensure that we can work towards deadlines effectively, whether we are a small start-up or a large company?
Be Serious About Them
Working with other clients means that we have to care about deadlines. So many people are very laxidasical about them, but you have to think about the big picture and how missing a deadline is going to set off a chain reaction. If you are working with a group of engineering consultants, and you need to get the ball rolling for them to physically start implementing the results of your designs or plans, you’ve got to get it into your head that deadlines are something to be cared about. When we start caring about them and realize that breaking a deadline is a cardinal sin, we should have the motivation to deal with the logistics of the projects.
Build a Buffer
When you get an idea of how long a project is going to take, you need to break it down into smaller pieces and understand how long each piece will take to do. When you start to understand how long a job will take, you then need to build in a small buffer to allow for delays. The cushion is not there to ensure we can work slower, but it’s about understanding the pace of the project because if we can turn in the project early, we will have happier clients and we will get a better working relationship with them further down the line.
Do Not Overcommit
Whether you are a freelancer or owner of a start-up, you must learn how to say “no” to a project if you cannot finish it on time. Working with clients that are offering you projects to complete may seem like a lifeline, but if you do not know how to commit to the project properly and complete it within an allocated time frame, this is going to cause a lot of damage to your reputation. Committing to a project means that we have to understand every aspect of it, which is why the following is so important.
Communication With Each Step
Whether it’s communicating with the team undertaking the project or having a good working relationship with stakeholders or clients, understanding a deadline and communicating it to everybody involved means that you are all working with Swiss precision. Sometimes, a client may not have sent you a deadline, in which case you need to ask for one. But if there are times when you are so close to finishing but you haven’t hit the deadline, you need to negotiate a second one, which is much better than letting the deadline go by without communicating.