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How to select realistic time goals

Manage your time and finances

Another common failing among inexperienced business people is that they underestimate the time a job will take and consequently undercharge. It is easy to think that a job will be cracked in a day or two but it is much better to add an extra day to cover any changes that a client might require.

Some people are fearful of charging for that seemingly unnecessary day in case they lose the work to someone else. But experience does prove that clients will be prepared to pay a little more for the confidence of knowing that a job will be done properly.

Often clients will ask “how much will you charge?” at a very early stage of negotiation. One tip is is throw the question back and ask what size budget they have and, if appropriate, how long they expect the job to take. Imply that you are flexible – you do not want to lose the work in a haggle over fees but also stress that you want a decent rate for the decent job that they will get.

Try to gain as much information as possible about what is required before naming your fee and timescale. Questions that may have seemed unnecessary at the outset can save a lot of embarrassment and heartache down the line.

The second of the Time surveys last year showed that small business owner/managers are setting aside more time to plan. Commenting on the findings a British Gas spokesman says it believed SMEs were dedicating more time to planning because SME owner/managers were “working smarter”.

Owner/managers were seeking more external advice and keeping a careful watch on spending as two ways of managing their time more efficiently. Forward planning was allowing them to allocate the right time to jobs, employ the relevant number of staff to achieve deadlines and giving them time to chase up new contracts.

Experience does prove that clients will be prepared to pay a little more for the confidence of knowing that a job will be done properly.

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