Believe it or not my number one rule for building a business has nothing to do with marketing automation, increasing your blog traffic, or looking for the right business partner.

It doesn’t even have anything to do with building a great product, finding team chemistry, or increasing conversions on your sales pages. It’s a principle that anyone can follow, but for some reason it seem to be more scarce than ever.

Last year I hired 8 contractors that I wanted to eventually work full time at Site Care. From those eight, we hired exactly zero. I thought the success rate was abysmal and that my expectations must be completely unreasonable until I read Brad Tousenard’s 2014 review and noticed that he had five employees go through trials that didn’t work out.

Now there’s a lot that goes on when you’re working with a potential future employee. You’re getting the feel of each other’s work styles, personalities, what processes look like, whether or not they can put up with your annoyances as a boss.

  • Two people left on their own volition because they realized that support was hard
  • One left because we couldn’t pay them the salary they wanted (totally fair)
  • The other five all left for the same reason, and I’ll get to that in just a minute

When we’re working with potential hires at Site Care, we always start with 60 days or so of having them work on small projects for our company. That gives us a good sense of what their strengths and weaknesses are, without putting any client sites at risk. All but one of our candidates had the technical skills that they needed, and we wouldn’t have reached out to them at all if we didn’t at least like them, so that wasn’t a problem either. As far as chemistry goes, they were generally a pretty solid fit.

So what was the one reason that none of them ended up working for us full time?

They didn’t follow through.

If you want to build a successful business that lasts, follow through. Follow through with your coworkers. Follow through with your bosses. And definitely follow through with your clients.

If you say you’re going to do something, then seriously, just do it. 

*cue the sound of Nike trademark lawyers calling my phone*

If it’s going to take more time than you thought it would, or you had a personal crisis come up that’s going to delay things, communicate. People are extremely reasonable and forgiving, especially when we’re up front about how we either dropped the ball, or had something out of our control come up.

  • If you promise someone that you’ll make an introduction for them, follow through.
  • If you tell a client a project will be finished by a certain date, follow through.
  • If you commit to taking out the garbage every Tuesday, follow through.

This sounds like the most elementary practice in the history of elementary practices (it’s a long history), and yet, the perfect follow through is becoming harder and harder to find.

The majority of customers aren’t looking for much beyond follow through. Do what you say you’re going to do, and they’ll be singing your praises from the rooftops. The same goes for commitments made to coworkers, family members, friends, etc. This one principle can apply to literally every single area of your life.

After a while, following through becomes a habit and a fluid motion, just like Stephen Curry’s jump shot. It’s effortless, and it’s just something you do, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the secret weapon” for catapulting your business forward.

I’m selfishly curious to know. Do you ever get frustrated with the lack of follow through from people online, or employers, or friends or family? There are so many real life scenarios that I didn’t even address where follow through makes a huge difference. How do you deal when someone doesn’t follow through?

January 8, 2015