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05 - Business Operations Management, P&L Control & More

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  #1  
Old 05-31-2007, 10:28 AM
TeodorSame TeodorSame is offline
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Default Going on holiday - help!

Hi everyone!

I was hoping for a little advice. I run a web based business selling goods from home. It's my only source of income (I'm single). I desperately NEED a holiday, I have been working for so long non-stop, I am feeling a bit burnt out. I want to go away for about two weeks. My problem is (like most people) I have bills to pay, my mortgage etc and although I can easily pay for the holiday, I can't afford to lose two weeks income.

I am trying to think of ways to keep making sales during that time. Obviously, I can't just go away and pack all the orders when I get back without saying anything (a two week delay is a bit much when people usually get their order within 2-3 days). What do you think would encourage people to buy off me while I am away?
Here's my ideas so far:

1.)Have some sort of promotion "we are going away but...... get 20% during this time" etc.
er... well I was going to make a list but that's all I can think of.
<edited to add:>I just thought of free postage - do you think that would make much difference?

I can't hire someone, as I cary over 1500 items and I couldn't possibly train someone in time, nor would anyone want to do it for just the two weeks. Plus I don't really want a stranger in my home while I am away.

So that's it! I would appreciate any ideas. I know what the common sense thing to think is: if you can't afford it, don't do it. But really right now I can't afford not to have a break.

Thanks in advance for any input.
Levant.
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2007, 10:54 AM
Corey Bryant
 
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But you have saved enough money for a vacation? Why two weeks? Why not maybe a week?

You could always say that all shipments will be done on a certain date and not really give a reason. It seems like you might be doing pretty good though if you are able to afford to give a 20% discount actually.

Do you store these 1,500 items in a warehouse or something? Maybe you need a couple of weeks to do inventory perhaps? That's why no shipments can be made until a certain date. Of course, chances are pretty good that people won't order from you unless you make it worth their while. We live in a society where we expect everything now unfortunately. And sometimes waiting a week is too much for some people.
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2007, 06:39 PM
SexxQueen SexxQueen is offline
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Do your customers know you are a 1-person company? If they know you are solo, then be honest. Tell them you are going on vacation ... but as a reward for their patience you will give a 20% discount on all orders that arrive while you are gone. That would keep them ordering. Just give very specific dates and times for the discount start and end. Then let them know approximately when they can expect delivery.

If they don't know you are solo and you don't want them to know, lie. Hey, they'll never know! ha! Say you're doing a big mid-year inventory count, blah blah blah and then offer the same deal as above.
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  #4  
Old 05-31-2007, 08:56 PM
SeattleCPA
 
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OK, I'm in a service business, and I too suffer from the problem that when I vacation the revenue generation stops.

But I think you need to budget for vacations. I.e., you need to price your services in a way (and budget your life in a way) that means you can work for 46 or 47 weeks a year, take a couple of weeks of holidays over the year, and take 3-4 weeks of personal leave.

I think you'll find that most of the sales will just spill over into the weeks when you're back. And if they don't? Well, one never wants to rely too much on the wild-eyed ravings of fellow forum posters, but you maybe want to think about a different business model if you need to work 52 weeks a year.

At least a regular job would provide vacation.

This reminds of an old Saturday Night Live "advertisment" with Bill Murray. Jeff's Travelers Checks. The camera cuts to "Jeff" in his apartment... empty pizza boxes lying around. Jeff looks into the camera and says you can trust his travelers checks because he never leaves his apartment. You'll always be able to call him night or day. And then the phone rings and he takes another call.

I don't think you want to be Jeff. And there are businesses where you don't have to be Jeff.
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  #5  
Old 06-01-2007, 02:04 AM
TeodorSame TeodorSame is offline
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Thanks for your replies everyone, much appreciated.

I am aiming to have a business that doesn't need me 100% of the time. My goal is to hire someone within a year, that will take on the role as packer. If I went away I would still have to do some work, but only about 30min to and hour a day. Things are going pretty well, I have been building the business rapidly over the last year by investing in new stock lines and advertising. My goal is to reach a certain weekly turnover target, which is approx 50% more than I am taking at the moment. I think this can easily be acheived within another year. At that point I will hire the packer. And hopefully if things go to plan (and my time freed up to concentrate on the business itself) and turnover increases more I can hire more people
Right now I am in the stage of putting my whole self into the business, all profits go straight back in. It's probably not the right time to take a holiday - but for about 2 years I have been running on pure adrenaline and ambition, I can feel it draining away a little!

I think having some sort of promotion should do the trick, if I decide to take a holiday. My customers do know (well the regulars anyway) that I am a one person business. I think maybe more than a vacation I need an injection of newly found motivation. Reading through the forum posts alone have helped quite a bit

Thanks again
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2007, 03:57 AM
hurleygurl777 hurleygurl777 is offline
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It's tough,

I've been exactly where you are - once worked every day and every night for 8 months solid. (I eventually quit burned out at 36 and 9 months later I am only now starting to feel like doing something again).

May I suggest some holiday reading: The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and read it on holiday. It gives some ideas on how you can solve this problem.

Cheers

Pete
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  #7  
Old 06-04-2007, 09:50 AM
TeodorSame TeodorSame is offline
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Thanks for the book recommendation Pete, I have bought the book and am going to start reading it tonight
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  #8  
Old 06-04-2007, 11:01 AM
BiziManIndustry BiziManIndustry is offline
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To resolve next years problem, in case you're still solo, add a year around advertisement on your site for 10% off for orders placed during the weeks of Jun__ to Jun__ . I/we will be on a family vacation during period and orders will be delayed 14 days.

They know in advance, they get a discount for service interruption, you get your vacation and your still a nice guy. Word it for a win/win.

My employer (sometimes that seems like such an ugly word) ships 365 days a year. I ask why? On Christmas day they're always trying to find ways to get us to work and we're always trying to find ways to get out of it. It always turns out to be a stressful day, when it shouldn't be, unless you lie and become sick. Which 1/3 of us do. I don't understand this for 3 reasons. 1) They make millions, their not going to go broke. 2) No one is going to be a the customers location to receive the items anyway and 3) If you told the customer they would receive the shipment one day late because you taking Christmas day off they would program for it and probably wouldn't give it a second thought. They'd probably think you were an OK guy. They get the day off why shouldn't we.

I think the same applies to vacations. Anybody disagree?
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  #9  
Old 06-04-2007, 12:34 PM
Corey Bryant
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisconcountry
I think the same applies to vacations. Anybody disagree?
Depends on the business. I was reading an article the other day how so many people take their laptops now with them on vacation. I think it said 80% take their cell phones and 20% take their laptops.

It depends on where we go, but usually I take my cell phone at least.
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2007, 10:04 PM
ntarifi dubai ntarifi dubai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey Bryant
I think it said 80% take their cell phones and 20% take their laptops.
When we are going on vacation my wife asks "Are you bringing your laptop?" but what she's really saying is "Do you even THINK you'll have a chance for marital intimacy this weekend if you bring it"?

Fortunately I can put the cell phone on vibrate.

Wait, I didn't mean it like that!!!!!!!!!!!
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