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Sorry to hear it. That said, I guess I'm not terribly worried. Why? Your small company has faced communication and work-flow issues before, and - as far as I know, always managed to fix them. With a longer view, you will figure out what works for your business and staff. This really is a part of the steep growth and learning curve (curse?) associated with developing a partly new business model in the service industry. You will figure it out. My only advice is crunch this through with your more experienced staff and perhaps with a few trusted friends and advisers. Stay clear of paid consultants when possible; you probably understand your options far better than they do and your limited capital is likely best invested elsewhere.
-Great posts and posts that address important questions. Thanks! -C.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on In the Trenches: The Money vs. Time Tug-of-War
Great insight, Brett. I appreciate your need to anticipate growth, be prepared for it etc. That said, if the simple (and FREE) "Reply All" method is currently working for you, don't mess with it. There will always be a few clients that cannot manage to Reply All correctly, but if you remind them a sufficient number of times and perhaps as a boilerplate part of every client communication, I suspect that your needs will be fulfilled for some time. You obviously recognize that this method will not work forever, but using it well now does buy you the time necessary to more thoroughly investigate other options. I also agree with the suggestion made by @Dan Nunn above, that you may be able to develop a bartering arrangement. Barter has its own set of potential problems, but if addressed properly and professionally it can be a viable choice. Good luck!! -C.
Like most, I guess I would prefer to have the best of both worlds, both personal and quick, 24/7. And you're right; that simply cannot happen. Since the relationships developed remain in the business/professional category, not personal, I'll opt for the team approach. I do not need your services at the moment, but when I do, I'll try to remember to hit "Reply All," a button that I have avoided for years!
8 months ago on In the Trenches: Team vs. Individual Customer Service
Hello Brett. I think you have nailed the differences to the wall. SB operators should know the difference, but until much larger, the focus must remain on operating the business, not the accounting method. As long as the every phase of the business requires your personal attention at some point, keep it simple and use the cash method. In other words, run a travel services firm, not an accounting firm. BEst wished for continued success. -C.
8 months, 2 weeks ago on In the Trenches: Cash vs. Accrual Accounting
Absolutely correct response! It probably helped you more than it hurt you.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on In the Trenches: Being Honest With Clients
Good questions! I'm not an expert in you unique field, but here's what I think: Continue closing on the holiday itself, but make it EASY to find information about when you will be open. Be open the next day and ready to sign up the new clients in need of future assisted travel; there may be a lot of them. In my view, key here is communicating ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,your day-after hours and then being available. Best wishes.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on In the Trenches: Dealing With the Holidays
Yup. For business-in-progress, CC does a fine job, 24/7. Your concern - I think - was only about expanding the new intake business. Thirteen hours a day (6A-7P, PDT) is enough - I think. The folks that you want to deal with - those that you want as clients, make their arrangements within those hours. When you need to expand, you'll know it - and not right now. Thanks. -C.
1 year, 6 months ago on In the Trenches: Expanding Our Hours
I must assume that this refers to acquiring NEW clients (or new trips from existing clients) rather than servicing those clients already in-process on a current trip. (Those already in-process do receive 24/7 care, when necessary - I hope. For those new trip clients, I don't see any problem with your current hours. Please, just don't skimp on those who are already flying a trip! IN the blub that I read, the distinction was not made clear and I sure hope there is a difference. You will grow over time and you can re-visit this issue anytime it is necessary. Best wishes, -C.