Over-Promise, Over-Deliver

“Always do more than is required of you.” – George S. Patton

I come from the hospitality world, where we always try to under-promise and over-deliver.  While no one likes it the other way around, too many people focus too much of their time on the under-promising part rather than over-delivering.  How many times have you heard to play it safe, be cautious, qualify your answers, short your revenue forecasts, increase your expense projections?  Basically, in business we’re taught to sandbag results, because we want to have the opportunity to come in over the expectations much more easily than if we had to focus on the other side of the equation – actually exceeding expectations rather than just lowering them.

What would your enterprise look like if you really, truly put all the effort you could into getting the results you want?  Let’s say you own your own photography business.   You probably want to do more than you did last year, so you set the mark for next year’s sales at an increase of 5%.  Now, if you worked for a business owned by someone else that might cut it, or at least you could plead your case to your boss and begin to sell her on the reasons why you should only have to increase by that much.  Five percent is 5% after all, and it’s an increase, not a decrease.  You could turn in a sales forecast with this on it and probably meet company goals.

But you are the owner of your own business, so is 5% good enough for you?  Have you become so used to under-promising so that you can over-deliver that you simply haven’t even given much of a thought to how you could do so much more, say, 10% or even 20%?  Do you even know what your goals for sales are based on a budget for growth?

Let’s say you HAD to do 20% more sales…what would happen then?  Even better, let’s say it’s one year later, and you DID do 20% more sales than you did the year before.  What would be on your list of things you did to get there?  What did you do differently than the previous year?  What promotions did you put in place?  What prices did you increase?  How did you get more per transaction?  How did you package offerings better?  How did you get more leads?  Convert more? 

Sure, you could do what you’ve always done – or just a little bit more – and get away with it.  We’re pretty much taught to do just a little better than the bare minimum from early on in our lives.  But the people who separate themselves from the pack, the real overachievers, are the ones who want extra credit when they are the only ones looking at the effort or results.

So, don’t sell yourself short.  Always do more than is required of you, even when nobody else is looking.