As an entrepreneur, developing the foresight to set precedence (e.g. establish policies, procedures and patterns) in business has saved me from potentially sticky situations. Not only can setting policies and procedures (in advance) help you streamline your business it also helps you build an audience of ideal clients.
Here are four reasons why you should set precedence (with customers and/or clients) in your business:
1. To manage your time.
It is easy fall into the trap of making yourself too available. Striving to go above and beyond to secure trust and credibility with customers or clients can often lead to sacrificing valuable time.
Instead, set precedence by communicating your availability in a clear way. Also, there is something to be said about not answering your phone every once and awhile. Why? Because if you are always “on,” your clients could assume and expect that each and every time.
So, let those evening phone calls roll to voicemail and check them during working hours the next morning. Or if you are uncomfortable receiving text messages from clients, respond to their texts via email; and they should get the hint.
2. To stay focused.
Try not to spread yourself too thin.
For instance, have you ever found yourself taking on projects or clients that are outside your area of expertise? Making small concessions until you find yourself in a completely different role than you set out?
You may hate saying “No,” because you don’t want to disappoint customers — saying yes may make you feel like you are going above and beyond the call of duty. However, taking on projects outside your expertise not only compromises your focus, it compromises your relationship with your customers.
Set precedence with core tasks you take on and kindly refer other projects to specialized companies or consultants. Your customers will appreciate your integrity.
3. To build credibility and value.
Have you ever over-ambitiously promised a client something the next day and then failed to make it happen?
Always under-promise and over-deliver. Every time you under-deliver, you chip away at your credibility. If you can realistically deliver a proposal to a client on Friday, tell them you’ll share it on Tuesday; give yourself a couple extra days in case something pops up. Moreover, if it’s done by Friday, your client will be even more ecstatic about your reliability and time management skills.
4. To make more money.
Feeling overwhelmed often stems from not setting precedence. Spreading yourself too thin, taking on more than you can manage, and under-delivering will all hit your bottom line in one way or another. Setting precedence is key for all business owners, but especially for those who sell their time and expertise. You, your time, and your expertise is valuable and others will see it too once you set precedence.
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Photo: Roberto Cavalli