I run an outsourcing company helping other businesses with their workload so when a client outsources work to you, whether it is a one off project or an ongoing contract, they are doing so to free up some of their own time to work on other things. They are trusting you with their business, with their brand and they are trusting you to deliver.
When you are managing multiple contracts for multiple clients it is important to be extremely efficient. Each client is equally important and totally unique. You need to find the time to deliver every tiny component at every level. Sound difficult? It can be tricky but there are some simple tricks to help you along the way.
Know your limits - There is absolutely NO point taking on more work than you can handle. That is 100% lesson number one. The quality of your work will just be compromised if you take on more work than you have time. The temptation is always there to take on more work but never take it if your current clients would suffer.
Communicate - The key to managing the expectations of your clients is constant communication. Understand WHEN they need things by so you can plan and always tell your client if there is anything that might affect work not being completed. Keep the dialogue open and always check they are happy. ASK if there is anything more you can do and ensure you give regular feedback on the contracts progress. A client should NEVER chase you for information.
Look Ahead - I always start the week looking ahead for the next few weeks to understand if there is anything at all which might affect the teams ability to deliver. This way you can plan for any contingencies and have a back up.
Transparency - Always track your hours and ensure your clients can have access to that. They need to understand what you are doing for them and how long it is taking. If you see something affecting the time you can spend on the work you must always be honest and let them know as there will always be a solution.
Block your hours - I use a simple spreadsheet to block hours of work for the clients in so I can easily see that I have the time available to deliver each contract. It also helps to understand if there is the space for additional work and makes it easy to plan and future-proof and book blocks of work in further down the line
Roll with the punches - Some weeks are going to be busier than others. Some clients more demanding than others. Some weeks just might not be as good as others. You still need to maintain that professionalism and consistency at all times. You run a business and you are responsible for it and that means you just have to suck it up and get on with running the best business you can.
Don't push it! - You really have got to enjoy what you do or feel you can add something special for the client. If it is not 100% your area, don't take it. If you don't get excited by the potential of the contract, don't pitch for it. You cannot offer 100% to a client and take on the work if you don't love it. There will be plenty more contracts which will fit you and those are the contracts that will extend, that will grow, that will lead to referrals because your client is so happy with your work. It will be clear to your client that you love their company and their brand and it will make your life so much happier. Most people set up their own business because they didn't like what they did ultimately. Don't fall into the trap of taking work just because it's work. Love your business and love what you do.
But what if I want to grow and take on more work...?
Outsource and delegate! If you are wanting to take on more work you could look at outsourcing yourself BUT you must make sure you find the right person. That person will work for your business but, more importantly, work on behalf of YOUR clients. Take the time to surround yourself with the right people and the rest will follow.
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