The conundrum of committedness – part 2

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on January 20, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Time Management Strategies

In the last blog, I talked about the first part of the conundrum of committedness: How the consultant needs to stay busy enough with commitments to earn and income but also have enough time to market in order to replenish the pipeline.

I said that the first part of the conundrum of committedness is: The more commitments you have now, the less time you have to generate new commitments. But the less time you spend on generating new commitments, the fewer you will soon have.

But there’s a second part to that conundrum and that is: your new commitments aren’t fixed. In other words, your prospects aren’t perfect. You can (and should) market to fill your pipeline but not all of those prospects will react in the same way at the same time. Some will come to market faster than others. Some might suddenly buy more at one time than anyone else. You might have one quarter where all of your prospects fall out of your pipeline and sales diminish.

Let’s talk about the consultant example again. The consultant has several clients (“commitments”) and he or she stays busy with them, carving out just a little bit of time to market because it’s important to generate new business. When all progresses well, it’s a perfect system. But then “part 2” of the conundrum kicks in and the prospects suddenly (and unexpectedly) buy more. What should the consultant do?

It’s a tough balance. Turning some away might be the wrong answer in today’s economy. Putting in extra hours is probably a good idea. But there’s a risk to this sudden influx of new commitments: the consultant notices that he or she doesn’t deliver as quickly anymore. And some might say that he or she is working too long each day. And there’s the risk that this “overwork” will diminish the amount of time to market.

Guess what. There’s no easy answer. Every business needs to find that special state of Zen in which they have a healthy number of commitments to continue earning an income but marketing in such a way that there is and continuously full pipeline. And they need to acknowledge that new potential commitments could suddenly increase and they should be prepared for it… but not to the detriment of their business today.

So, the consultant should leave a bit of ‘wiggle room’ (but not too much) to market and perhaps a bit more (but not too much) just in case there is a sudden influx of clients. And the manufacturer should leave just a bit of excess inventory (but not too much) to manage any surprise and they should have a plan in place to produce more inventory (but not too much) if demand rises unexpectedly.

In the next blog (tommorrow), I’ll give some more ideas about what businesses can do to work with this conundrum.

Speak Soon,

Heather

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