Whether from your dining table, a converted garage and everything in between, it’s important to set certain boundaries when you are running a business from home. One of the biggest time thieves – apart from the Internet, is the telephone. Not only does it steal precious time (usually at the most inopportune moment), it can also raise havoc on your busy schedule.
As home-based business entrepreneurs, we are very much aware how easily the phone can disrupt our day. Then again, the telephone is probably the most important of all office supplies we have. Learning to manage telephone interruptions is definitely a skill needing to be worked upon.
When you consider the fact that most calls coming into your home during office hours will in fact be business related, you need to figure out how you are going to handle them. Unless a client is in a panic because of a problem only you can resolve, most other calls can be returned during regularly scheduled phone time. If people are aware you are running your business from your home they are more likely to accept certain office hours, as well as your personal time frame for returning any calls you didn’t answer.
As a small business owner your schedule is very important. One of the first things you have likely done prior to beginning your home-based business is setting your hours of business. It’s a good idea to have these hours made public, by having a sign on your door or the hours posted on your business website.
It is also important to ensure your family is aware of your business hours. It’s not always easy to keep children and family life quiet in the background while you answer your phone. By setting boundaries and discussing them with your family, your task will be made a little easier. It may also be wise to inform your clients of your daily phone time, allowing them to be aware of when to expect your call.
If you don’t want your children or teens to answer your business calls, you may consider a second line for business purposes. This could be a cell phone, a second phone number altogether or a specific ring tone for business calls. This allows everyone to know which calls are personal and which are business. For a couple of dollars a month you can have the second ring tone as well as a voicemail box installed. This enables you to pick up your messages at a more convenient time.
When organizing your day, you may want to set your telephone time for early in the morning after you have reviewed and prioritized all your messages. This will ensure you have the time set aside to focus on your clients’ needs without being interrupted.
By following these ideas you will not only be able to provide quality time for your clients, but will be able to teach your family the importance of priorities and phone etiquette. This alone could be quite promising and potentially positive for the success of your business.
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