In a previous blog post, I discussed that the 7 items I no longer do in my indoor playground business as I have grown and matured as a company proprietor.
I referenced Michael Hyatt, that, in many of his novels and programs continuously describes designing your ideal days and weeks as"the desire zone" Operating within your desire zone, even as he explains it, simply means you're spending the majority of your time doing what you love AND are good at.
While there are many tasks I cut completely and a few I delegate to better-suited team members, there are several responsibilities that still lie inside my"desire zone," and that I believe are important for me to handle personally. While this is constantly shifting as my priorities (both professionally and personally) evolve, these are 5 of the tasks that I'm not giving up only yet as a company proprietor.
1) COMMUNICATE WITH BIRTHDAY CLIENTS
At Climbing Vines Cafe and Play, we have chosen our unique personal birthday parties as the main attention of our business.
Because of this focus, I have chosen to plan the primary facets of each celebration we sponsor. When someone publications their occasion with us, they get a comprehensive confirmation that includes my own contact info and mentions that I will be personally in touch because their event draws near.
While I don't normally handle the implementation of our celebrations, I really do still act as the major touchpoint for parents and collect all of their information and preferences. Ten days before each celebration, I send out a personalized party"questionnaire" which includes all the details we have gathered up to this point, provides additional day-of information, and asks about last-minute particulars.
I answer all questions that the host might have in reaction to that email and-- after a few back-and-forth communication-- I list all of their event info on that which we call a"celebration prep sheet." Based on clients' choices, I make a listing for every one of our sellers (catering, party supplies, balloons, paper goods, etc.) and will usually have a team member complete the purchasing and arrange all the supplies so that they are grouped by party. Since we have around 6 all-inclusive events in 1 weekend, this organization is essential!
The party-prep sheet is an extremely detailed document that makes it possible for our party hosts to do the occasion to the specific specifications of their parents, leaving no stone unturned. This has allowed me to have most weekends free yet still feel convinced we're delivering an above-and-beyond birthday party experience.
After the party, we deliver a survey to every hosting household. Should they have feedback, whether it be negative or positive, I always follow up personally. This closes the loop clients' expertise and makes sure they know I genuinely care for their child's special day. This process has lead to a substantial number of repeat bookings and consistent referrals from previous parties.
Not only is planning these celebrations some thing that I excel in, but I also take great pleasure in it. Event planning is how I got into this business in the first place, therefore I am more than pleased to take on this task. If I'm ever feeling overwhelmed with the details, I understand I have amazing team members that I can lean on.
2) OVERSEE HIRING AND FIRING
Speaking of our incredible team members, another job I choose to have a hand is our hiring and firing procedure. While I really do leave the final decision up to our cafe manager, I would rather write the project posts and descriptions and filter through resumes and applications before bringing anybody in for a meeting.
Having spent many years shooting and hiring my fair share of employees, it is easy for me to see red-flags on software and also find"diamonds in the rough." Since we've got most of our normal operating procedures documented and optimized, I prefer to hire based on personality and enthusiasm rather than experience.
I also make sure I welcome each worker to our staff and touch base with them frequently to check in and gather feedback from them.
Since I spend time doing these 7 things (and more!) , my time and energy are freed up to research what our ideal clients want and want and find out a way to incorporate that in our business model.
For example, I noticed that our birthday party bookings were slowing down in the summertime. When I asked a few clients, they said that they DID love our events and attention-to-detail but chosen a Summer party to be out at their residence (since most have backyards and pools). We then began offering mobile events, where we would bring food, decorations, and activities for the kids indoor playground to their homes, and it was a hit!
Another illustration is our occasions . We're always adding fun new events that enable customers, particularly working parents with limited weekday availability, to visit us out of open hours and receive an enhanced experience through the subject of the event, class, or activity.
If I had been I doing EVERY task in my enterprise, I would not have nearly enough time to do as much research or innovation.
When it comes to knowing how to innovate and the best way to offer, it starts with forging a real connection with clients.
It's because of this that I love interacting with our customers all time (when I could ) and on social networking. I choose to work celebrations, events, and even open-play when my family's schedule permits it so I could remain involved and aware of what is occurring during the day. Additionally, it gives me the opportunity to observe how customers are using our space first-hand and listen to any concerns or queries they have. Although at this age of technology you can find testimonials, forms, and polls, I have found that NOTHING can replace using a face-to-face dialog with clients using your distance (and probably visits competitors too!)
It is because of this that you will even see billionaire CEOs visiting retail places on a regular basis. Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, was famous for visiting hundreds of stores around the nation every year, spending time with the clients who had been spending their money on his merchandise.
I really like being a family owned and operated business, and that I love for my customers to understand that I'm fully invested in their happiness.
While I do one-on-one consulting for individuals hoping to start out indoor playgrounds, I really do spend a significant amount of time producing absolutely free articles for them on my blog and over on YouTube. In addition, I have a totally free, 44-page eBook to get play-cafe-owning hopefuls they can download directly on our website or by clicking here.
If a person consumes that free info and determines they would like to proceed with their plans, I also have an internet program named Play Cafe Academy in which I assist entrepreneurs gain from daydream to opening-day in less time and with less stress than they ever thought possible.
When I was studying this company model, there was not a lot of information out there. Recent owners really keep all their business secrets near their vest, and I don't blame them! Even if you charge a consulting fee, you're still kind of giving away the keys that you've worked so difficult for and it's very easy as a company owner to get a little smug and protective of your own research and development.
When it came time to start my own business, I wound up making a ton of mistakes (and I mean a TON of errors ) since I just didn't know any better. When I began getting calls and emails to consult for additional possible play cafe owners, then I couldn't keep all this information to myself. While it's easy for me to feel like an imposter or there are other business owners more qualified than me to discuss this information, I know that there is a 4-years-ago me sitting somewhere waiting for another idea to jump out in them.
And frankly, I do not need to see an additional business close because somebody who's walked before them did not share any information! Why not share it myself?!
However, my time is precious. I have two small children and run another company... I don't have 12 hours to spend hand-holding each perspective owner through the process. (And allow me to tell you, it will take at least 12 to 24 hours of paid one-on-one consulting to even break the surface of everything you need, including documentation) In the typical rate of $100 to $200 an hour to actually consultwith imagine what you might wind up paying for only a hint of education!
PCA is broken up into eight modules at which I cover everything from writing your business plan to deciding on a place and signing the right rental to organizing your own streams of earnings and much, much more. Students may go through these modules in their own pace, and I don't need to take the opportunity to walk my students throughout the program.
This enables me to assist other entrepreneurs in their course while also reserving time and energy that I need for my family and other commitments.
I understand many owners that choose to do ALL of the items inside their business, and it works for them since most of us have different"desire zones."
I feel very lucky I have heard over the years what my strengths (and weaknesses!) Are and can design my"ideal" weeks accordingly. If I was burning the candle on both ends trying to tackle everything , I'd do myself, my family, and my clients a significant disservice.