Too Late

Is timeliness an important part of your service? A good way for small companies to differentiate is by using their agility and flexibility to deliver goods and services faster than their competitors do. The more complex your service, the more a timely delivery may be a great selling point

Of course, you have to be totally prepared to deliver at the time you promised. Think of how many dry cleaners post a sign saying “same day service” or “in by 8, back by 5.” But when you stop in at 7:30 a.m., the clerk is very hostile about delivering the same day, or has some excuse about why your order is exempt from that rule. That’s an empty promise that drives customers to your competitors.

But a real promise of quick delivery can work wonders. One of my clients was a small digital marketing agency hoping to land its first national retail client. They got their first job because the customer needed specialized work done in a short time frame, something his agency of record could not deliver. A printer, a baker, an alterations company, or a parts manufacturer could all sell business based on rapid turnover time. Think of what some people will pay for express shipping or overnight delivery before a holiday!

Delivering “on time” is a standard promise–customers expect you to live up to the timeline you’ve agreed upon. But if you can do high quality work in a shorter time than others can, you might build a brand on it.