Procrastination. It affects us all from time to time. Procrastination isn’t a terribly bad thing depending on what you’re putting off, but if you operate a business, it is something you must avoid as often as possible. If you’re not careful, procrastination will leave your business stuck in neutral.
1. Loss of Precious Time
As a business, time is one of the most valuable commodities you have. Wasting it isn’t just equivalent to leaving money on the table; it’s like throwing that money in an open flame and standing there to watch it burn. May sound like I’m being dramatic, but procrastination can cause you to lose out on precious time that could have been spent on something productive — something that could have moved your business forward. Time loss is only the start of many other problems that can stunt growth.
2. Blown Opportunities
Opportunity knocks, but sometimes, it only knocks once. If you’re not ready to answer the door and seize the moment, you just might miss out. Imagine your company looking at another prosperous business to either merge, or buy them out. These things definitely take time, but if you wait too long, a competitor might jump on the deal and snatch them right from underneath you. Business leaders must understand the importance of moving quickly while in the process of evaluating their options.
3. Poor Financial Decisions
The decisions you make in regards to your finances can make or break you. When our old friend procrastination is involved, the latter is usually the result. For instance, let’s say you have been planning to make an investment in a recently launched technology, but want to wait until the price goes down before hopping on the bandwagon. The price may indeed go down, but what if it goes up? In this case, you may feel the need to jump for competitive reasons, and end up making a poor financial decision that costs you, which is just bad for business.
4. Inability to Meet Goals
When procrastination rears its ugly head, meeting your goals can be a very difficult feat. This is primarily because it tends to be contagious. Managers lack the sense of urgency needed to assign work in a timely fashion. As a result, individual employees start to miss their deadlines. Whether it is laziness or just bad habits, this type of behavior can do more than stunt the growth of your business — it can literally kill it if changes aren’t made.
5. Create False Sense of Progress
Postponing things can sometimes work out in your favor. However, businesses must realize that there is a difference between the occasional postponement and procrastinating on a regular basis. When procrastination becomes a regular part of your routine, it can create an illusion that you are on a slow road to success, when in reality, you are just delaying disappointment and failure. This is neither good on a business or personal level.
6. Ruin Customer Relationships
Procrastination can also ruin the relationships you have with your customers. It could start small and blow up to something hugely negative. First it’s failing to respond to their inquiries in a timely manner. Then it’s not getting their orders out on time. No matter what form it takes, procrastination is a relationship killer for the simple that it betrays the trust that existed between you and the customer. Once that happens, your entire image could take a hit.
7. Damage Your Reputation
If your business becomes known for procrastinating and not delivering, your reputation is bound to take a hit. Reputation management is crucial in times when everything about you can easily find its way to a discussion forum, blog, or social network. Don’t think your customers won’t use these channels to speak negatively about you because they will in a heartbeat. And the more you procrastinate with servicing them, the more likely they are to do so.
When it comes to your business, procrastination is typically possesses more downsides than ups. So how do you elude its’ often brutal grasp? I’ll leave you with these simple tidbits:
* Don’t just envision your goals — actually write them down. Even the short ones.
* Know your priorities. What’s more important? Getting thousands of fans on Facebook or catering to the customers you already have?
* Maintain focus. It can be difficult to stay motivated. But beware that lack of motivation and procrastination go hand in hand. If you can stay focused on the task or tasks at hand, you can stay motivated and keep your eyes on the prize.
Francis Santos is a writer for Benchmark Email, a best practices email marketing company.