Today’s Brain Fart: Ok, so this is a bit of a rant!
We’re only on Wednesday, and I’ve already have the same conversation with at least three different business owners who we are working with in the Business Incubators we run and also those that I privately mentor.
Why are deadlines for business competitions generally so early in the day?!
I love a deadline! In fact, I need them.
Everyone works differently, and I get that. And in my experience, nothing focuses you more than a deadline. This is absolutely true in my case, because I leave things last minute.
I am comfortable with this and I know I do my best work here. I thrive under this pressure and it’s how I’ve worked since my University days, about 10 years ago. However, I would never dream of encouraging anyone to adopt this method if they are not comfortable with it. Again, we’re all different.
Take an example we can all relate to - going on holiday. My beautiful girlfriend Sarah likes to have her packing finished at least a week before we go, whereas I would do mine either the day before we leave or the day of - she's not a fan of this! :)
Based on that last sentence, you’ve either just smiled, because you’re the same and can relate to this, or you’ve just shrieked because you can’t imagine anything worse! Do you pack a week before or on the day you leave?
Back to deadlines - if we didn’t have them, the world would stop! Quite literally. However, let’s take a look at the timings of deadlines.
If you ask any academic or anyone that organises business events or competitions when they receive the most submission for coursework, ticket purchases or entries respectively, they will all tell you the same thing.
They receive a fair amount of submissions straight away - from the organised people who just want things done so they can get it out of their mind and focus on other areas. And the second largest time for submissions, purchases and entries is..? The last few days, or even the day of, the deadline.
Looking exclusively at business competitions, why is it that so many of them
close so early in the day - typically 12pm or 4pm?!
This is ridiculous! Business owners have a lot on - they are spinning, juggling and hopscotching (why not?!) so many different things at once. Not to mention they have a social life and potentially a family to look after too. Such early deadlines are a real disservice to them!
12pm is basically still morning! People have different working schedules - what about business owners who work until 8pm or even 12am...? Whether this is “healthy” or not is a debate for another time. This is their choice, it’s how they work.
The main rationale provided by these organisations is usually some dismissive bullshit like: “if you can’t get a submission in by a (4pm) deadline then you maybe aren't serious about your business or entering this competition”. Or “you don’t deserve to win!”.
That’s lovely you can say that from your paid job, probably on your 3pm tea break!
However, for one minute, put yourself in the shoes of the people you serve. Think about the business owner. They don’t have the luxury or clocking in and out; set breaks and switching off when they
leave the office (if they even have one!) for the day.
Instead of forcing your crappy 4pm deadline on them, for someone unknown bureaucratic reason, why not show some empathy towards them and extend the deadline until 11.59pm?
I don't really see what difference it makes to you getting a competition entry at 4pm or 11.59pm? You'll probably be clocking out at 5pm so won't be looking at them until the next day anyway!
Why not give everyone the best possible chance of applying and completing an application, that is well thought-through, rather than cobbled together last minute (unless you’re a freak like me who prefers this!).
I’m calling on all business competition organisations to make their deadline 11:59pm!
I would love your feedback on this idea! As a business owner, do you agree with me? Do you disagree?
And as an organiser, are you going to take me up on this call and show some empathy with the business owners you claim to help and get rid of this stooopid early deadline for good…?
Kallum with a K