Maybe this sounds familiar: one of your clients has been calling you about a job you said you would do. You’ve been dodging their calls, because you haven’t had time to do it. Eventually they email, so you send one back. It begins: “Sorry, I’ve been really busy lately…” or “Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to…” “Sorry…” “Sorry…” “Sorry…”
Does Sorry = Inefficiency?
In one of the modules of our Small Business Management Course, we take you through business planning, where you learn about how to set processes and procedures to make your business operate efficiently. So if it feels like all of your emails begin with “sorry”, it could be because you’re not as efficient as you’d like to think you are.
If you’re new in business sometimes it’s a simple case of trying to seem more accommodating than is feasibly possible. If your clients regularly request work from you by a certain date that conflicts with your other work, suggest an alternate date rather than agreeing to something you can’t deliver.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
Good clients appreciate the honesty, and if they value the work you do, they’ll be happy to wait. It’s often not a question of efficiency. Those people who aren’t happy to wait, and would rather something that is rushed or who constantly give you short notice, possibly aren’t the kinds of clients you want anyway. Being honest establishes trust and clear communication with your clients, and paves the way towards a better, more efficient business relationship.
By having enough time to complete your work properly, you’re less likely to make errors, forget things or experience other setbacks in getting the job completed, which also reduces the number of “sorry” emails and phone calls you’re making.
But if you’re still finding yourself apologising, it could be a sign of a much bigger problem. Perhaps the processes and systems you have in place are failing you, and they need to be revised. It could be a case that you’ve outgrown the processes you have in place, and they’re slowing you down.
At the end of the day, your customers are counting on you and if they can’t rely on you to complete something when you say you will, they’ll go elsewhere. So stop apologising and get it right the first time!