“Nothing inspires confidence in a business man sooner than punctuality, nor is there any habit which sooner saps his reputation than that of being always behind time.” (W. Mathews)
Being tardy can be a serious marketing blunder for today’s business owner. From being late to meetings with a colleague or client, to not delivering your product or service on time, tardiness speaks volumes about who you are and how you do business. If you want customers to choose to do business with you, you must meet their expectations for performance. If you can’t meet deadlines for delivering products and services, customers will quickly find their way to your competitors.
What does being punctual say about you?
1. You care. Showing up and on time is one of the best ways to show someone that you care about them. By keeping our commitments to others, we are acknowledging them and their needs. Caring about our customers must be our number one priority since it is through our relationships that we build our business. No one knows how much you care until you show them … by showing up.
2. You respect others. Horace Mann said, “Unfaithfulness in the keeping of an appointment is an act of clear dishonesty. You may as well borrow a person’s money as his time.” Arriving on time for customer meetings, speaking engagements, meetings with vendors, or anything else you do in your business, shows that you respect others. Respect is the foundation for creating great long-term relationships with your clients.
3. You are professional. Thomas C. Haliburton said, “Punctuality is the soul of business.” As a business professional, you have a toolkit of knowledge and behaviors that serve to create an aura of professionalism. Being on time is a fundamental tool for anyone who wants to be perceived as being the very best.
4. You are confident. When you show up on time, it’s a sign that you are confident to take on whatever might lay before you. Tardiness can imply that you aren’t confident, that you are hesitating to deal with a person or situation, possibly because you don’t have the skills, knowledge or tools to create a successful outcome. Confidence is the companion of success, and by showing up on time, you’re putting yourself one step closer to achieving it.
5. You are ready to receive others. Punctuality says to others, “I’m ready”. It implies that you are open to allowing more into your life. You’re ready to meet with a client to discuss business. You’re ready to deliver a presentation. You’re ready to be involved with whatever is set before you. People who “aren’t ready” tend to show up late or not at all.
6. You have an edge. Being punctual gives you an edge in business. Undoubtedly you’ve heard the proverb, “The early bird gets the worm”, or in our case, the work. In today’s competitive business climate, timing is everything. With businesses moving at the speed of light thanks to the latest technologies, delay of any sort can cost you clients. Being punctual is great; being early is even better!
7. You’re in control. Not only do people choose to do business with those who they like, know, and trust, they also like doing business with people who are in control. Business owners who always arrive early or on time to appointments give the impression that they manage things well. It gives customers the impression that you are reliable in everything that you do. People want to do business with people who are in control.
8. You have a standard for excellence. Punctuality is a standard for operating excellence. Not only does it imply that you are in control of your business, it shows that you respect yourself and others. Successful, well-liked business owners typically have punctuality as one of their highest values. In a business world where rules are constantly changing, showing up on time will always be at the top of the list when it comes to standards of excellence.
9. You keep things in flow. When you are on time or when you deliver your products and services on time, you keep things in flow. Other people and events are affected by what you do and don’t do. If you don’t show up or if you don’t deliver as promised, you can adversely affect the plans of others. By showing up on time, you allow other people and things to show up on time as well. Everybody wins.
10. Your habit is your brand. Over time, if you deal with the same person or groups of people, you will become known as someone who is punctual. You will be perceived as a business professional who respects others and who is confident and in control. This natural way of being will take on a life of its own and become part of your business branding.