Here’s Why A Deadline Is So Important

by | May 27, 2015

A common misconception among the general public is the thought that when you own your own business, you are “the boss” and free to set your business hours as you like and only work when it pleases you. The ability to control things such as your working hours is one of the chief incentives that tempt many creative types to go into business for themselves.

When you are working for yourself, it’s true that you are no longer an employee that receives some sort of warning from a manager for showing up to work a few minutes late. But, you also don’t have as much freedom and flexibility as you might wish when it comes to setting your working hours.

When you open your own business, it’s important to remember that even if you hire a staff to take care of sales and customer service, you will still have clients and customers who will have a set time for when they expect to receive your product or service. You will need to either produce the service yourself, or oversee operations to ensure that these products and services are produced and delivered before your customer’s due date.

Creating and delivering your products and services on time is integral to your ability to stay in business.

Why do They Call it a Deadline Anyway?

The importance of providing your services on time to your customers is conveyed in the very words that we use to define this concept – the deadline. This term was first used in the American Civil War and referred to a boundary line in the prisoner’s stockade. Prisoners that crossed this line were shot dead.

The term deadline was later picked up by editors and used in the newspaper and publishing industry to refer to limits. One can only imagine the frustration that the first editor to use the term deadline must have felt when a breaking news story went unreported because an article was turned in late!

In the newspaper industry, the time limit was both physical and implied. It was literal because the deadline referred to the literal limit created by the physical typeset line, outside of which the characters were “dead” because they would not print on the paper, and secondly the term referred to the time limit to turn in one’s submission to the editor so that the typeface characters could be reset and it could be printed in the latest edition of the newspaper.

Today, we use the term deadline to refer to any sort of important due date. As a small business owner, it’s unlikely you will literally be shot dead by one of your clients if you miss a deadline to deliver your products or services. However, if you miss a few deadlines you will soon earn a reputation for not being dependable or reliable and this news will spread as surely as if it had been printed in a newspaper! Your days of keeping the doors open at your business and being the boss will be numbered if you develop a reputation for constantly being late and missing deadlines.

Tips to Avoid Missed Deadlines

As a small business owner you do have some flexibility as to how and when you work, but you are also under constant pressure to perform, and it can be easy to miss a deadline. This is especially true if you have to rely on the work of others to make your finished product or service that you supply your clients.

If you can see that you are going to miss a deadline, you will be much better off if you prepare your client and let them know before the deadline passes. In this way, they can make alternative plans to get the item before it’s needed and will appreciate your honesty and transparency. Hopefully they will appreciate your efforts enough to give you another chance to exceed their expectations in the future.

Your clients may not say anything to you directly if it’s the first time you’re late, but it’s unlikely that they will overlook or forget a missed deadline whether or not they mention the deadline to you. This is why it’s so important for you to expect and plan for delays when you agree to work for your clients.

Something as simple as adding in a few extra hours, or even days, when you make a projection and agree to work can give you some much needed breathing room. This will allow you to still be able to complete a client’s project on time should something come up that might cause a delay.

Even if you don’t end up needing the extra time, you’ve completed the work early and thus exceeded your clients’ expectations. Beat those deadlines enough and word of your reliability and excellence will spread as well!

One last consideration to keep in mind is that if you find that you are frequently missing deadlines, despite all of your planning and efforts, it may be a good idea to conduct a thorough review of all of your operations and seek ways to streamline and improve your processes. Even if you aren’t missing deadlines and things seem to be running smoothly, a periodic review of your processes and procedures can help you to discover potential issues before they turn into problems for both you and your clients.

Now that you have a better understanding of the meaning of the term deadline, and its importance in running a successful business, it’s time to use your customer’s deadlines to your advantage! Rather than seeing a deadline as a dreaded boundary that you must not cross, start to view deadlines as opportunities to exceed expectations by under-promising and over-delivering. Doing so will delight your customers and build your relationship with them as you will gain trust and respect by going above and beyond what they expect!

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Sophie has been a tremendous support and guiding light for my business. I have continually succeeded when acting on her advice and by using her services. Her products are fantastic and her ideas and accuracy is out of this world. I would never hesitate to recommend Sophie’s services and I would invite anyone to contact me for a referral.
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Sue Heins
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Sophie has the spirit of the Entrepreneurial Business Owner! Whether she is running a successful single family website, creating a product for small business owners or running her own bookkeeping agency she is always right on track as to what small business needs. If you want to speak to someone who not only knows what business owners are going through-she also does something about it- then don’t miss out, connect with Sophie! She is someone who can not only think outside the square- she has true strategic thinking; which is often spoken about but is rarely truly placed into action.
Sophie is an amazing business woman. She is able to take the complexities of business and break them into manageable pieces for small and home based business owners to work with. She’s clever, creative, supportive and very generous. She’s the reason that so many small businesses are doing so well. If yours is a small or home based business then Sophie is someone you need to know.

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Anne Maybus
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Sophie is an amazing business woman. She is able to take the complexities of business and break them into manageable pieces for small and home based business owners to work with. She’s clever, creative, supportive and very generous. She’s the reason that so many small businesses are doing so well. If yours is a small or home based business then Sophie is someone you need to know.
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Strategic Resourcing Manager

2017-10-13T09:28:24+00:00

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Sophie is efficient, direct and gets the job done. She responds quickly, keeps me updated and has a way of simplifying things and making my life easier. She is all about efficiency and that’s what makes it great to work with her, I highly recommend her to anyone who wants someone to efficiently look after their books and she is great value for money too.
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I’d been stalking Sophie for a while since I saw some of the great work she did at Ideas Book. What she’s up to at the SOHO Agency is equally impressive and I’m delighted to have someone working in this space who I feel so confident referring onto others. Keep being brilliant Sophie!
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Kristy Smith
Director, Virtual Elves Outsourcing Solutions

Sophie is an incredibly savvy business owner, for whom I have great respect. She has always been very clear and detailed in her instructions, is always very focused on her business objectives, and displays a business model that you can aspire to as a small business owner. I have no hesitation is recommending her work at The Accounts Studio.
I have had many a chat with Sophie on the networking circuit. Sophie has a strong profile and reputation within business circles and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to any soho needing direction, support and encouragement. I have a passion for educating small business myself and wholeheartedly support Sophie in her endeavour to actively reduce costs for those who may be unintentionally making uninformed decisions relating to business management. Many business owners are unnecessarily outsourcing tasks which are misdirected or can be achieved inhouse.

Gai Hook
Virtual Sales Strategy

2017-10-13T09:32:05+00:00

Gai Hook
Virtual Sales Strategy

I have had many a chat with Sophie on the networking circuit. Sophie has a strong profile and reputation within business circles and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to any soho needing direction, support and encouragement. I have a passion for educating small business myself and wholeheartedly support Sophie in her endeavour to actively reduce costs for those who may be unintentionally making uninformed decisions relating to business management. Many business owners are unnecessarily outsourcing tasks which are misdirected or can be achieved inhouse.
I’ve worked with Sophie as a contributor to Confessions of a Mumpreneur – a fantastic book that she dreamt up, edited and produced. Apart from producing fabulous books that help so many others realise their entrepreneurial dreams, Sophie is an astute business person who is making her mark on her own terms. Watch this space – I’m sure we’ll see and hear a lot more from Sophie Andrews in the years to come.

Jennifer Dalitz
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2017-10-13T09:50:01+00:00

Jennifer Dalitz
Gender Diversity expert, Career Coach, Award winning blogger on women, work & leadership @ www.TheSheEOBlog.com

I’ve worked with Sophie as a contributor to Confessions of a Mumpreneur – a fantastic book that she dreamt up, edited and produced. Apart from producing fabulous books that help so many others realise their entrepreneurial dreams, Sophie is an astute business person who is making her mark on her own terms. Watch this space – I’m sure we’ll see and hear a lot more from Sophie Andrews in the years to come.