Follow through or Fail.
Creativity is dreamy.
Getting paid to generate ideas is a novel concept. But someone has to execute on those ideas, otherwise they are intangible and ineffective and largely useless.
There is room for all types of people in this world — the engineers, the project managers, the task-achievers and the idea generators.
Entrepreneurs largely fall into the latter category.
It’s wonderful and innovative and exciting to live and play in a world full of entrepreneurial idea generators, until it’s not. Because in a show run by one person who has no follow through, the outcome is inevitably frustrating.
Usually when you think of follow through in the entrepreneurial world, you think of starting a project and finishing it. This is entrepreneurship 101. If you sell something, you have to deliver. If you have a business idea, you have to bring it to fruition, otherwise it’s just an idea — not a business.
Follow through is vital for the survival and success of your business and not just when it comes to your projects. It’s come to my attention that the idea-generating entrepreneur archetype doesn’t just struggle to bring his or her ideas to fruition, we also struggle to do what we say we are going to do.
We get excited and we oversell.
We get enchanted and we over commit.
We get distracted and we fail.
In the mess that we create, we think that we are only hurting ourselves. When we are in the midst of unfinished projects, unanswered emails and unfiled paperwork, we can’t come up for air long enough to see the effects of the chaos on everyone else involved.
Our clients suffer.
They’ve paid for a product or service and they have expectations on how that’s going to be delivered. Service-based entrepreneurs are the biggest offenders of failing to follow through. What our clients are actually receiving in exchange for their dollars can often be a little vague, so once we deliver a coaching session or a VIP day, we bid our clients farewell and that’s the end of it.
An entrepreneur who follows through sends a recap. An entrepreneur who follows through follows up a days or a few weeks later. An entrepreneur who follows through acknowledges that the service performed is the beginning of a relationship, not the end of it.
Our vendors suffer.
As a service-based entrepreneur who works with other entrepreneurs, I am so often on the suffering end of the relationship. If I got paid double for every client who verbally committed and then disappeared off the face of the earth, I’d be retired. If I got a bonus for every 10th client whose payment bounced, I’d be driving a brand new card and I’d upgrade my health insurance plan.
When you commit to pay someone for their services, you’re committing to more than just receiving their services, you’re committing to pay for the time that they save in their calendar for you. You’re a contributor to their livelihood just as much as they are a contributor to your success.
An entrepreneur who follows through signs contracts and pays promptly. If anything gets in the way of that, an entrepreneur who follows through communicates that message.
Our employees suffer.
As small business owners people choose to work with us because of what we stand for. They choose to work for us because they appreciate that we have a passion and a cause. They also choose to work for us because they are probably not interested in working for themselves. They don’t want the chaos, the instability or the responsibility that comes with being self-employed, so they choose not to be self-employed. They’ve chosen to work for you with the expectation that you will set expectations.
Your responsibility to your business is an all inclusive responsibility for everything in it, especially that people that keep the metaphorical trains running on time.
An entrepreneur who follows through assigns projects and ensures that everyone on board is clear on how to move forward. An entrepreneur who follows through follows up with employees. An entrepreneur who follows through understands that no one is ever going love their business as much as they do, but they do the best they can to create a culture that’s united for the cause.
Laura Diaz is the CEO and Senior Strategist at Kiss Me Creative where they make client love all day long. Her super powers are efficiency, follow through and creativity based on sound logic. She enjoys long sips of coffee and short lines at Starbucks.