businesswoman on hurryRecently I had a need to reach out to a few people who provide graphic and branding services.  I did my homework as usual then narrowed down my list before making connections.  I have to say that what I thought was just my normal process didn’t exactly yield what I was looking for.  My usual experience is that when I reach out, people reply to my email or return my phone call.  That is not what happened.

I sent two emails on Sunday afternoon because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make the call on Monday given how my day looked.  Between Tuesday and Wednesday I made calls to three other resources, and didn’t reach any of them but left my number and email address with details as to the reason for my call.  I heard back from absolutely no one.  Needless to say by Thursday I was pretty frustrated and wondering if I should start my process over again and reach out to others on the original list I had made.  On Friday I was able to connect with one of the people I had emailed to find out that it had been a crazy week for her, which was the reason for her not getting back to me.  That was two weeks ago and you know that none of the others ever connected with me.  These days people are so caught up in things, they don’t even know which way is up and aren’t able to manage themselves.

Clearly, these folks are in a position where they aren’t running their business, their business is running them.  The observation from that experience is that so many business owners have full plates and clearly are struggling to manage it all.  But if you are struggling to manage yourself, how are you serving your clients?  I mean, really, not even a quick reply to an email or returning a phone call, seriously?   If you’re in a space where you can’t even return a phone call then it’s definitely time to do something different. Not being able to respond doesn’t give people the greatest impression of you, especially potential clients.  How is your business going to survive if you aren’t able to manage communications well?

Now, I get that many are a one-woman show–I am too for that matter, but there is such a thing as putting measures in place to give you the necessary support to run your business and actually be of service instead of flying by the seat of your pants. If you are struggling to manage it all, get some systems in place to support you.  Stop the madness! Some hear the word “system” a either panic or just tune out altogether.  Systems aren’t complicated.  Did you hear me?  Well, let me say it again…systems are not complicated.  People make them complicated.  A system is simply a series of processes, the tools to support the processes and the people to perform the tasks.  That’s it, three components and nothing more.  A good communications system contains the well thought out processes, tools and people to manage incoming email, calls and ongoing communication with existing clients, colleagues and vendors.  If you’re a one-woman show, take a step back and make the time to create your communications system and implement it ASAP.  If you can’t be the one to handle everything find a solution for it.  It can be as simple as an automated reply that lets people know that you’ll get back to them within 24 hours, passing the email on to a virtual assistant to handle, or having a VA handle your email allowing you to reply to those that only you can address.

I think that you’ll agree that communication is vital in any situation and if you’re dropping the ball with your clients, you’re setting yourself up for an epic fail.  One that can be difficult to recover from.  How you manage your business impacts your reputation as well as your bottom line.  I’m sure that if you’ve had the type of experience that I had or a similar one, you wouldn’t want to do business with those particular folks because, like me, you can anticipate what your experience of working with them would be like just from the initial experience you had of them. Bottom line, either you’re running your business or your business is running you.  If you’re looking for some help to jump start the process in creating your communications system, get my complimentary Key Business Systems package here.


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