Whether from a multi-purpose room, a converted garage and everything in between, itís important to set certain boundaries when you are running a business from home. Probably the biggest time thief 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 a small business, internet business or other 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 didnít answer.
As a small business owner your schedule is very important to you. One of the first things you have likely done prior to beginning your home-based business is setting your hours of business. Itís a good step to have these hours made public, by having a sign on your door or the hours posted on your business website.
Itís an important step to ensure your family is also aware of your business hours. Itís 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 are dubious about letting your children or teens 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.
You may want to set your telephone time for early in the day after you have reviewed and prioritized all of your messages. Itís possible the best time for this is while your children are at school. This will ensure you have the time set aside for the needs of your clients with less chance of being interrupted.
By following these key possibilities 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.