We are obsessed because we choose to be. We are taught to be. We are told if we are not working, we are not worth what we should be. We believe we are the best person to run our business, to be the spokesperson and sales person for our business. And maybe that is true and maybe it is not true. But in the end it is about having a comfort level about the amount of money our business brings in and evaluating what will happen to the revenue if we decide to turn off for a few hours or a day.
So: can you say to yourself: I will not lose business if my hours are: 9-6. I will not lose business if I don't answer this text between my business hours? OR I will lose business but it is not enough to hurt my bottom line?
Turning off your business has absolutely nothing with the ability to turn off. We all know how to do it: Not answer the phones, or the texts or get another phone or an answering service. It has to do with the understanding of how turning off can hurt our bottom line. AND the fact that we have become a society addicted to Facebook, Cell phones, emails and texts. So a certain part of turning off has to do with what is clinically proven to be an addiction: READ THIS
Our society has built upon this addiction: No one is allowed to turn off. Period. As business owners we are obsessed with providing good customer service and that means being available out of the fear of LOSING BUSINESS. And I fall into that category. I am available. From 9AM to 10PM or later. I am writing this article at 11:52 on a Friday night. Maybe that makes me an addict. Maybe that makes me passionate about what I do. I am not sure. (But I did go out to dinner with friends and have a good time!)
In writing this post, I am trying to analyze my own behavior and thus project what you all must be doing as well. It is the reason that many companies now have off shore support in countries like the Philippines...because without 24-7 support, Americans get upset.
So, REALLY, what do you do? You KNOW to get a BUSINESS LINE and a PERSONAL LINE. You KNOW to screen your calls. You KNOW that you can have a phone in your studio and have an answering machine. If YOU FEEL like responding to a new client...do it. If you NEED some down time, return the call during business hours. While I understand that studios have different business hours than many businesses, it is NOT unreasonable to have an 11-5PM M-F time when people can reasonabily expect a return phone call. Many studios only return phone calls during their "normal" business hours which are 3p-9p. My recommendation is: evaluate how much business you may lose by not being available during the time period the rest of the world considers NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS.
Secondarily, hire someone to have longer hours of support. Perhaps it is an amazing student who has a good telephone personality. Perhaps it is a mom who has a good business sense and can help increase enrollment. Believe me, there ARE ways to find people who are passionate about your business (an awesome instructor) that is willing to help out and increase the phone support and parent communication. But, in the end, it is up to you to figure out: financially, personally, and businesswise. This is not about HOW to turn off. It is about WHEN and WHY to turn off. AND how to satisfy your every growing business needs and that of a society addicted to immediate answers and satisfaction.