Being an owner of a small business can be very rough or chaotic at times. One of the first things you notice is that a person, like that of a small business owner like myself will often wear many hats. One is the "customer service" hat, then there is the "accountant" hat, "design team" hat, "computer guru" hat, "shipping/receiving" hat, "manager" hat, "sales person" hat, "advertising" hat, and the list goes on. While the multitasking hat juggler -that is the role of a small business owner - may be stressful, one thing for sure. A business with less cooks in the kitchen tends to have an efficient small business that will get things done.
While this blog post may seem like it is going in the direction of complaining, it's true intention is to show all who work with small business owners - whether your a customer or advertiser - that there are a few things to keep in mind when working with small business owners:
1. We can't always respond to email within one minute of receiveing it or answer all phone calls before the answering machine picks it up. For me, at By the Bay Botanicals we check emails several times a day. We reply to all correspondences that are time sensitive first followed by those that can be easily answered with a short 1-2 sentence reply. All other emails are responded to on a first come first serve basis. Phone calls are handled the same way. If you have found that the response time to your email/phone call is over due, try a second form of communication. For example, we can't call you back if you never leave your phone number or email address. Also, emergencies occur where we may be off a day to take care of things that arise.
2. We have a schedule that we strictly follow. Some days are designated as delivery/errand days, other days are devoted to core workshop time which includes making products as well as filling orders, and Friday's before an art fair we may be "off the radar" doing inventory and get all of our merchandise plus retail displays gathered and packed in our vehicle. We try to fit emergency situations into our schedule, but we ask for folks to understand that with small business we are just one or two people with just two hands and will do the best we can and cannot make any promises.
3. We are not rich. You're probably chuckling over this point, but it is true. With By the Bay Botanicals for each art fair we sign up for we have to turn down five either because we cannot afford to do them all or we cannot double book weekends. The same for advertising. Advertising is important, but we are more into grass roots advertising using social media, exposure at art fairs, and word of mouth, than full page magazine spreads not that we won't entertain that idea. We don't have big salaries nor drive expensive cars and often reinvest profits into the business for better equipment or pay down debt.
4. Expect to actually talk to real people and we acutally care about your experience with us. The smaller the business the better the customer service. You'll find real people will answer the phone, will remember your name and want to develope a personal relationship with each client in order to deliver personalized customer service. And we are genuinely happy too.
If there is one thing to take away from this blog is that small businesses are the backbone of today's society in that we help grow local communities and help their economic growth. Supporting us with your business is not just helping the local economy, but supports someone's American Dream albeit providing a service or product they believe will make a difference in the world. For that we thank you for your support!
Michelle Sholund, By the Bay Botanicals
I am the owner of By the Bay Botanicals. We want to stay connected to you, and through this blog we aim to share with you tips and tricks to buying and burning candles as well as read up on what goes on behind the scenes at By the Bay Botanicals. Feel free to comment, and comment often as well as share with your friends and family.
Wish to contact me directly about questions or comments, visit our contact page.