Good follow-up and follow-through involves doing what you told someone else you would do and/or making sure that someone else is doing what they told you they would do.
Following up and following through is crucial for sustaining a profitable business. I happen to love my yellow sticky system for this purpose because the older I get the less able I am to keep my business milestone dates in my head. In fact, no matter what your age, you should have a system that does not rely on your memory!
For instance, we manufacture a product in China that can be custom engraved with a logo. When we receive a new inquiry about this product and the customer requests engraved samples, I create a yellow sticky requesting the logo artwork from this customer.
Then I put this sticky ahead five days in my desktop calendar. After five days, the yellow sticky appears on the calendar page. If I haven’t received the artwork, I send a follow-up email message requesting the artwork. This process is repeated, moving the sticky note forward in the calendar, until I receive the artwork.
Continuing with this example, once I forward the artwork to the China factory I request the anticipated shipping date for the engraved sample. I then move the sticky note ahead a few days in the calendar, all the while annotating on the note the next milestone.
I repeat this yellow sticky process for every single phase of this new project. The additional phases might include shipping of samples, approval of samples, receipt of an order, factory confirmation of the order ship date, order shipping, order receipt by the customer and so forth.
By using a reliable tracking system for all of your projects (whether my low-tech yellow sticky method or one of the more modern methods such as Customer Relationship Management software) you will spend less time and effort looking for information in email or folders and fewer action items will fall through the cracks.
Your clients will learn how detail-oriented and reliable you are. And you will likely start receiving compliments (and perhaps even complaints) about your follow-up and follow-through thoroughness!!
How do you manage follow-up and follow-through with your project tracking? Let us know in the comments!