How to Stick to a Project Timeline

There is nothing that makes a client crazier than finding out their project is going to be delayed...again. We've all had to deliver that bad news, and it is NOT fun. Not only can it create a domino effect with your OTHER projects, but having major delays can also mean a very unhappy customer. And since most business is still done by word of mouth, you need satisfied clients, not frustrated ones. So HOW do you stick to that project timeline? I have 4 can't-fail tips!

1. Have a Process!

You know I am a HUGE believer in the power of systems and processes. But this is the one place in your business where it can really have a major impact on your company's bottom line! I have project timelines in place for small, medium, and large projects. Each of those has different needs and deadlines, so it's important to me to have them split up that way. A small project may just be furnishings or a smaller space, and a large project would be full construction and a larger home. But those timelines include ALLLLL the tasks and deadlines. And I even already have built-in assignments to other team members. Having that system keeps things humming without dropping any balls or wondering what I'm forgetting! It keeps us on task and ON TIME.

2. Set Realistic Deadlines

If a client comes to you and wants a project done in one month, you and I both know that is NOT going to happen. Do not ever agree to a tight deadline just because you want the job!! Always be honest with your client - and with YOURSELF - about how long something is going to take. You are not going to do yourself any favors by agreeing to something you know realistically cannot be done. And if a contractor or other team member is making those promises, nip it in the bud. Because the client isn't going to necessarily remember WHO agreed to that crazy deadline - they are just going to remember that it didn't happen as promised. Give yourself enough time to really get things done the right way. You lose clients and future business when you over-promise and under-deliver!!

3. Meet and Communicate

You can't control everything - as much as we may WANT to! So there will be things that happen, challenges that come up. Let's all remember what Covid did to the supply chain system! The best way to handle those unforeseen issues is to meet with your team regularly so you know exactly what's going on with every aspect of the project. And then you need to communicate to your client if there is going to be ANY sort of delay. Usually you can come up with a solution before you need to drastically adjust any timelines. But the key is to stay AHEAD of problems. 

4. Delegate Effectively

If you're a control freak - and who isn't! - then you know you can be your own worst enemy. You cannot control every single thing or do every single task on a project. That is just not sustainable. So be sure you are delegating anything you can to others. Give them clear tasks and deadlines, but then let them get on with it! You need to keep your eye on the big picture, and you just cannot do that if you're stuck in the minutiae of a project!

To help you with that last tip, download my Guide to Delegating Effectively! It will help you keep those projects moving along perfectly!

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