Thursday, June 19, 2014

Voice mail

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from my lifetime of experience founding and growing small businesses.

     Voice mail can give you a clue as to the age of your callers. Older callers usually leave a message on your voice mail. Not so with the younger set--I'm talking teens and twenties here. They simply hang up.

     Voice mail is a useful tool in business--particularly in small business. Frequently, a small business can be one person. Think beginning plumbers, electricians, landscapers, pet groomers, chiropractors, therapists, and the list goes on.

     A specialist needs to be doing the jobs that will bring in the cash flow. Voice mail helps small businesses organize time. The distractions of ringing telephones can be compressed into voice mail messages, and these can be tended to at a time more convenient to the business owner. 

     Therein lies the problem. 

     Example: I write a weekly business column for a local newspaper. The column is informational, directed to the general public, and introduces readers to a few of the thousands of small businesses in the area.To do the groundwork, I talk with a dozen or so people in different small businesses every week. Frequently, my call goes directly to voice mail. I identify myself, referencing the weekly column I'm writing. I say that I'm not selling anything, rather it's free publicity for their business. And I give a 2 or 3-day deadline for a callback. About half the time I get a callback before the deadline. Others have called me back a week or so later. And a few are never heard from. 

     When potential customers or clients call a business, they expect a live voice to answer. Leaving a voice mail is an inconvenience to the customer or client. The teens and twenty-somethings have figured this out--and they just hang up.

     After a lifetime founding and growing small businesses, I retired. Nowadays, I spend my time writing about business and coaching small-business people. If you have questions, email me for a free, quick answers: and put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. Your privacy is always respected. 

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