Sunday, November 12, 2006

Success Secrets: Start The Current Job Now

I was lucky to manage some brilliantly creative people in my “previous life”. I would be excited when a new job came in, and always a little disappointed when one of the first questions about the job was “When is It Due By?” The answer? YESTERDAY, OF COURSE!!!.

The best time to start or even finish a job in a client-service business is: As soon as you possibly can. Here’s why:

1. An early response can put your competitors out of the race. Even a preliminary proposal, provided it shows depth, expertise, class, and thought, might eliminate the ever-present competitors in your customers’ minds. When a client is in a hurry, your quick response can nab the job early, and you could be revising "version 2" before your competitors have even submitted!

2. Speed itself is a reputation-builder. And can guess.

3. Like a cabbie, our income as professionals will come from each “meter pull”. Especially in a job where fees are paid over and above hourly rates, it is more profitable to get the job done and invoice the fees, rather than drag it out.

4. Very important: if you delay work on a given assignment, and more assignments come in, you are effectively slowing down future work in the pipeline by delaying work on the current job. The catch: you never know when those additional jobs will come in. If you delay, it may be too late to pick up the additional income from the other jobs.

5. Speed on a job creates better work, not worse. Heightened concentration and focus creates more creativity. Mozart and Bach could write music faster than a copyist could copy the parts. The quality, apparently did not suffer.

6. Jobs tend to “bunch” together whether because of seasonality, publicity, a client needing several tasks completed at once, etc. Delaying work on job suggests the assumption that job flow is linear, and that the “next” job will always be there. It won’t.

7. In a free-market society, entrepreneurial niches are created and destroyed with the rapidity of bubbles in soda pop. Your niche will not be there forever. Enjoy being busy while the market is hot. You can sleep when your niche disappears. Which it will.

OK. Break’s over: Start the Current Job Now!!!

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