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January 15, 2015

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This is so helpful Alexandra. As a life coach and speaker, I am pretty good at all of the above except "investing in the right technology." Since "tech" is not my zone of genius, I end up getting what I think is the best price but I never know if it is the best quality and often get slowed down by tech glitches. I appreciate your insight and recommendation!

Great post Alex. This one hits home since reliability is a company value of ours. Since starting my business so many years ago (see http://blog.alexandralevit.com/wcw/2008/02/starting-your-o.html) it's been incredibly valuable to have a trusted system to keep things from falling through the cracks. I'm a Getting Things Done devotee, but the specific system is less important than just having one. With a good system in place, any incoming task gets recorded and neither you nor your clients/customers (nor employees, nor family members, nor ...) need to question whether that task will get completed.

Alexandra -
So true, reliability is key for a business owner/entrepreneur's success. These are great tips that can be easy to overlook, especially as a new business owner. I find my clients sometimes try to do too much, especially when they take on projects to enhance their own marketing footprint. When focusing on items outside of their area of expertise, they wind up behind the eight ball when it comes to results.

This is especially true when are doing our "own thing." For example, creating our own social media profiles or websites is as crucial to our work as delivering for our clients, but it often winds up at the end of our "to do" lists. Along with "asking for help," I'd add "hire help when necessary" to get key items done for yourself or your clients!

Thanks for this useful, practical post.

I love this topic, Alex - great post. I think that as the workplace becomes increasingly casual, reliability can falter even in the most well-meaning professionals! Your post underscores that peers, customers and associates are still paying attention to whether or not we're prepared, on time and if we deliver what we say we will. Reliability only makes you look good!

I love the first bullet. I am in branding and marketing - a world where almost every job comes with a very tight deadline. In some cases, the deadlines presented by clients are simply unrealistic. Saying no is always a last resort, but sometimes it is the only honest and acceptable answer. I have lost and will continue to lose business because I will say no when I realize we cannot meet a deadline. I always follow it up by presenting a deadline that we can hit and some options for presenting the client to the public in the interim. By operating this way, I know that one thing I will never lose is the trust of my clients.

@Dean: I'm the same way. If I can't meet a deadline and still deliver a quality product, I say so. It's better to let them know upfront than not to meet expectations later.

@Selena: I hadn't thought about casualness as a causative factor. And you're right - being reliable is never going to backfire!

@Miriam: I too have learned the hard way that sometimes you need to hire help to get things done more quickly and efficiently, and/or to leave you time to do what you're best at.

@Keith: I'm a David Allen advocate too, and I agree that whatever organizational system works for you and your team is the right one.

@Christine: I think tech slows us all down sometimes, but in many cases you do get what you pay for. I had trouble with my cheap web server for years, until I finally bit the bullet and started spending more $. I haven't had a problem since.

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