Running a business isn’t easy, especially when you take a hands-on role in keeping things going yourself.
It can become even trickier when you add in the various business calls that owners and managers have to field. You may wonder how to balance the two roles, fielding calls from customers, suppliers and others while still running your business full-time.
It isn’t always easy, but there are ways to make balancing your behind-the-scenes and on-the-front-lines roles easier.
Here are a few things to consider that may help take some of the pressure off when you don’t know how to keep it your work-life balance in check.
Separate Your Phone Lines
One problem with taking business calls while running your business hands-on is that the incoming calls can tie up your business phone line.
Your calls are important, but so are calls from potential customers who just want to ask about operating hours or whether an old sale is still going. To get around this, set up separate phone lines (or numbers or user extensions) for your owner/manager calls and calls to the business. This can be as simple as having a cell phone for dedicated business use, though you can also opt for a dedicated landline if you use your business location as your base of operations for management issues as well.
A Trusted Assistant
Depending on the types of calls you have to field, you may not need to deal with all of them yourself… at least not right away.
Consider hiring an assistant (or a virtual assistant) to answer the calls and take a brief message for you. This allows you to return incoming calls at a more convenient time, and is much more personal than simply using voicemail to ask for messages. In some cases, you may even be able to get your assistant to answer common questions or deal with certain situations so you don’t have to return a call at all. Even if you do need to call back, you’ll already know what the call is about so things should go much quicker.
Keep It Short and Sweet
This isn’t as much of an issue when talking to suppliers, but when talking to other managers or customers then you may find the calls lasting longer than you’d like.
It’s easy to get caught up in conversation and lose track of time, but this is time that would otherwise be focused on the running of your business. Don’t be rude or rush the people you talk to, but try to keep conversations on topic and moving along. You’d be surprised at just how much time you can shave off of your calls if you actively try and keep things moving.
Schedule Your Calls
If you need to make calls, do your best to schedule them for the slow parts of the day.
This gives you more time to talk and also ensures that you aren’t busy on the phone when things get hectic at your business. If you have a lot of calls to make, try getting started as soon as things slow down; this may jump the gun on your schedule, but it can help you fit more calls into your slow period.
Ask if You Can Call Back
If calls come in at inopportune times, talk for a moment to see who is calling and then see if you can reschedule the call for a later time.
Simply explain that things are busy at the moment and ask whether you can call back once things slow down. While you may get occasional callers who insist on talking right then, most will be understanding and let you know if they have any upcoming time conflicts.
Should you find that you can’t maintain the balance between your hands-on role in your business and handling all of your ownership/management calls, you may want to hire additional management staff to help take the load off of you.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to step out of your full-time role entirely; instead, you’ll have someone else that can take over while you’re busy and who you can trust to keep things going just the way you want them.