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Bad Deadline Management is Bad for Business — Here’s How to Fix It

The business world runs on deadlines, not only for your clients, but for internal processes as well.

When it comes to client satisfaction and retention, meeting deadlines is the cornerstone of your business’s reputation. There are countless moving parts in any business, including delivery services, supply chains, and worker productivity.

A single missed deadline in any of these areas has a domino effect that ripples through the entire chain.

Mistakes happen… and there are one-time events that can cause delays! But if failure to meet deadlines becomes normal for your business, it can create a negative impact that costs you money.

Why Do Some Companies Always Miss Deadlines?

Before you can fix a problem, you must first pinpoint the underlying causes!

Fortunately, the most common reasons for missed deadlines are the same across businesses regardless of their size. Major corporations, mom-and-pop shops, and companies in-between face the same challenges, albeit on different levels.

Here are some of the top reasons why businesses miss deadlines:

  1. Underestimating how long it will take to complete a job. One of the worst mistakes any manager can make is always being a “yes” man or woman. These types of managers never want to leave a bad impression, so instead of pushing back against unrealistic expectations, they say “yes” to everything. Sometimes these managers commit to unrealistic production schedules to flatter the client. But… there are only so many hours in a day and only so many employees. Simply put, the logistics to make the deadline work never supported the original estimate.

  2. There’s no cushion for delays. When creating an estimate, it’s generally a good practice to build-in some time for mistakes and delays, some of which may be out of your control! A good rule of thumb is extending the process time by up to 25% and including that in your estimate. Remember, it’s always better to under promise and overdeliver! If you deliver early without sacrificing quality, then you’ll impress the client and improve your reputation!

  3. Internal processes are unorganized or unaware. How well do you know your internal processes? Most failed deadlines fail in a very specific way. For example, a company that regularly misses deadlines likely has a consistent bottleneck somewhere in the process. Managers that aren’t aware of inefficiencies in the process might get upset at individual employees, but the issue might be with the process as a whole. It takes objectivity and honesty within the company to pinpoint structural problems.

  4. Lack of performance indicators. For a company to reach its full potential, every employee must do their part. Team members who slack not only slow everyone else down, but they also dampen team morale. Clear performance indicators must be established for your team. Everyone needs to understand the deadline, the goal, and their role in helping accomplish it. Successful companies know that larger deadlines (the “final” deadline) are also composed of smaller deadlines or “milestones.” Keep track of your team members. If they aren’t finishing their tasks on time, try to figure out what the constraints are so that your company can address them!

  5. Poor communication. Is everyone aware of the deadline? Does everyone know the role that they’re playing in the project? So many discussions happen between management and the client that it’s easy to take the project parameters for granted. However, it’s important that the key details are communicated to the key players. Aside from simply communicating the task at hand, it’s critical to ensure that the team fully understands the schedule, processes, and how they fit into the larger picture.

These are the top five reasons why businesses typically miss client deadlines.

Of course, every business is different. Regardless of your business size, these principles likely apply one way or another. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can help identify and eliminate inefficiencies.

Monitor Key Performance Indicators in Real-Time

All of these issues can be fixed with one simple word: optimization.

It sounds simple, but the impact is profound. Before you can optimize your business, it’s imperative to understand your organizational structure. From client acquisition to product (or service) delivery, what does the process look like? Who are the team players involved? What are the key performance indicators for success? Etc.

Once you’ve identified these components, it’s important to monitor performance in real-time. For major businesses that do over $1 million in revenue annually, this concept is nothing new. However, sometimes it helps to have an outside source monitor these KPIs. Why? Because an outside observer can view everything objectively without the bias of internal politics or pressures.

Monitoring performance isn’t just for major businesses.

Medium-sized businesses as well as start-ups can all benefit from measuring real-time performance. In fact, for many businesses, this is a make or break differentiator.

Why Hire Exceptional Services

At Exceptional Services Agency, we specialize in helping our clients structure their strategy, maximize organizational performance, and solidify organizational growth.

We’ve worked with businesses and companies of all sizes, so we have a performance management system and software that allows us to measure KPIs in real-time.

If your business is consistently struggling with client deadlines, then chances are that there is a bottleneck somewhere in your internal processes.

Our team is trained to help you identify those roadblocks and create strategies to improve those trouble areas.

Every business is different. Each industry is unique. We never attempt to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, our services are based entirely on your current performance and where you’d like to be.

Interested in working together? We’d love to talk!

We’re also available via phone at 504-533-8859.

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