In an earlier blog post, I spoke the 7 items I no longer do in my indoor playground equipment
playground business as I have grown and matured as a company proprietor.
I referenced Michael Hyatt, who, in many of his books and programs continuously describes designing your perfect days and weeks as"the appetite zone." Operating inside your desire zone, as he explains it, only means you're spending the bulk of your time doing what you love AND are good at.
While this is continually shifting as my priorities (both professionally and personally) evolve, these are just 5 of those tasks that I'm not giving up just yet for a business proprietor.
1) COMMUNICATE WITH BIRTHDAY CLIENTS
At Growing Vines Cafe and Play, we've picked our unique private birthday parties as the primary attention of our small business .
Due to this attention, I have chosen to plan the primary facets of each party we host. Whenever someone publications their occasion with us, they get a detailed confirmation which includes my own contact information and mentions that I will be personally in touch because their event draws near.
While I don't normally take care of the implementation of our parties, I really do still act as the major touchpoint for parents and collect all their information and preferences
. Ten days prior to each party, I send out a personalized celebration"questionnaire" which includes all the details we've gathered up to this point, provides added day-of info, and inquires about last-minute particulars.
I answer all questions the host may have in reaction to this email and-- following a few back-and-forth communication-- I record all their event information on that which we call a"celebration prep sheet" Based on customers' choices, I make a list for all our vendors (catering, party supplies, balloons, paper products, etc.) and will usually have a team member complete the shopping and organize all of 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 nonetheless still feel confident we're delivering an above-and-beyond birthday celebration experience.
After the celebration, we deliver a survey to every hosting family. Should they have feedback, whether it be positive or negative, I always follow up . This closes the loop clients' expertise and makes certain they understand I truly care for their child's special day. This method has resulted in a significant amount of repeat bookings and consistent referrals from previous parties.
Not merely is planning these parties something I excel in, but I also take great joy inside . Event planning is how I got into the business in the first place, therefore I'm more than pleased to take on this task. If I'm ever feeling overwhelmed with the facts, I know I have amazing team members that I can lean on.
Speaking of our incredible team members, another job I choose to get a hand in is our hiring and firing procedure. While I do leave the final conclusion to our cafe supervisor, I would rather write the project posts and descriptions and filter through resumes and applications before bringing anyone in for a meeting.
Having spent many years hiring and firing my fair share of workers, it's easy for me to see red-flags on software and find"diamonds in the rough" Since we have the majority of our normal operating procedures optimized and documented, I prefer to hire based on personality and excitement rather than experience.
I also make sure I personally welcome every worker to our staff and touch base with them frequently to check in and collect feedback from them.
Another job that lies within my present"desire zone" is digging the general direction of our business and coming up with fresh tactics to best serve our community.
Since I no longer spend time doing those 7 things (and more!) , my energy and time have been freed up to investigate what our ideal clients want and want and find out a way to incorporate that into our business model.
For instance, I noticed that our birthday celebration bookings were slowing down at the Summer. When I requested a couple of customers, they mentioned that they DID love our occasions and attention-to-detail but chosen a Summer celebration to be outside at their residence (since many have backyards and pools). We then began offering mobile events, where we would bring food, decorations, and activities for the kids to their homes, and it was a hit!
Another example is our events. We are always adding fun new occasions that allow clients, especially working parents with limited weekday accessibility, to see us out of open hours and receive an enhanced experience throughout the subject of the event, course, or activity.
If I were I still doing EVERY task in my business, I wouldn't have nearly enough time to perform as much innovation or research.
4) CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS
When it comes to knowing how to innovate and the best way to offer, it all starts with forging a real connection with customers.
It's for this reason that I really like interacting with our customers in-person (when I can) and on social networking. I choose to work celebrations, events, as well as open-play when my family's schedule permits it so I can remain involved and aware of what's happening during the day-to-day. Additionally, it gives me the chance to observe how clients are using our space first-hand and listen to any concerns or questions they have. Although at this age of technology there are testimonials, types, and polls, I have discovered that NOTHING can replace having a face-to-face dialog with customers who use your distance (and likely visits competitors too!) on a daily basis.
It is because of this you will also see billionaire CEOs seeing retail locations on a regular basis. Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, was renowned for visiting hundreds of stores across the country each year, spending some time with all the customers who had been spending their money on his products.
I love being a family owned and operated business, and that I love for my customers to know that I'm completely invested in their happiness.
5) HELP OTHER ENTREPRENEURS ALONG Precisely the Same PATH
While I do one-on-one consulting for people hoping to start out indoor playgrounds, I really do spend a significant amount of time creating absolutely free articles for them here on my blog and over on YouTube. I also have a totally free, 44-page eBook for play-cafe-owning hopefuls that they can download directly on our website or simply by clicking here.
If someone consumes that free information and determines they would love to proceed with their plans, I have an online program named Play Cafe Academy in which I help entrepreneurs gain from daydream to opening-day in significantly less time and with less strain than they ever thought possible.
When I was researching this business model, there was not a great deal of information out there. Recent owners actually keep all of their business secrets near their vest, and now I don't blame them! Even if you charge a consulting fee, you're still kind of giving away the secrets that you've worked so difficult for and it is quite easy as a business owner to get a little smug and protective of your own research and development
As it came time to start my own business, I wound up making a ton of errors (and I suggest a TON of mistakes) since I simply did not know any better. When I started getting calls and emails to consult for additional possible play cafe owners, then I couldn't keep all this info to myself. While it's easy for me to feel like an imposter or there are other small business owners much more qualified than me to discuss this information, I know that there is a 4-years-ago me sitting at work somewhere waiting for the next idea to jump out at them.
And frankly, I do not need to see one more business close because someone who is walked before them did not share any info! Why don't you share it myself?!
But my time is precious. I've got two little children and run another business... I do not have 12 hours to devote hand-holding each standpoint owner through the procedure. (And let me tell you, it is going to require at least 12 to 24 hours of paid one-on-one consulting to break the surface of everything you need, such as documentation)
PCA is broken down into eight modules where I pay everything from writing your business plan to choosing a place and signing the right rental to organizing your streams of earnings and much, much more. Students can go through these modules at their own pace, and I do not need to spend the time to walk my students through the program.
This enables me to help other entrepreneurs in their path while also reserving the time and energy that I want for my loved ones and other commitments.
I know many owners who choose to do all the things inside their business, and it works for them because most of us have distinct"desire zones"
Are and can design my"ideal" weeks so. If I was still burning the candle on both ends trying to handle everything myself, I would do myself, my loved ones, and my customers a significant disservice.