Have you ever thought about how available you are to your customers? What about your coworkers? Referral partners? Vendors? Are you easy to reach? How quickly do you respond to emails? Phone calls? Text messages?
Regardless of the size of the company you work for or happen to own, it’s important to determine if some constructive criticism is in order – for you. Bear with me for a moment and check your email inbox. How many emails are over 24 hours old that have not responded to? How about 48 hours old? 72? What has prevented you from responding in less than 24 hours? Is it a time issue? Is it due to low priority? While your reason may be more than valid, the person waiting on your response doesn’t know that you haven’t had the time or that they are considered a lower priority. To them, they may be in a holding pattern, waiting for your input to proceed. To them, they may feel insignificant or unappreciated. This may be far from the truth, but bear in mind the “message” you are sending whether you realize it or not.
Do not be lulled into believing you are the only one that can provide the service that you do or the connections you have. There will always be someone else (your competitor, perhaps) waiting for the opportunity to step in. Discipline yourself to commit to a minimum response time or hire someone that can provide that quick response for you. The gap between receiving a message and responding to it leaves room for misinterpretation, and that misinterpretation can be shared with others. Don’t leave your reputation to chance.
Keep it perpetual.