Monday, December 7, 2009

Should you have set business hours

When you run a brick and mortar business like a coffee shop or a grocery store, it goes without saying that you likely have set business hours. These hours are typically posted on the door and customers know exactly when they can expect you to be available.

What happens, then, if your business is primarily online or you operate on a “by appointment only” basis? The assumption that many people seem to have about freelancers and other similar professionals is that they are always “on the clock” and, as such, they are always available to be contacted by current and prospective clients.

There are certainly both advantages and disadvantages to setting standard business hours for situations like this. By having set business hours, it is much easier to achieve a healthy life-work balance, because it is much easier to leave work at work and home at home. This balance can be further enhanced by renting office space outside the home, rather than working out of a spare bedroom. To some, set business hours can also help to legitimize your company.

On the flip side, doing away with conventional business hours can also have its perks. One of the more popular reasons why some people choose entrepreneurship in the first place is the ability to have a more flexible work schedule. Set business hours can feel restrictive by comparison.

Having a more open schedule may mean that you may have greater opportunities to capture a potential sale, both at 3am and 3pm. On the other hand, clients may expect near-instant email responses at any hour of the day and they may even call you during what you consider personal time. The lines blur considerably.

In the end, it is largely a personal decision whether or not you should have set business hours. The best way to find out would be to give both configurations a try, seeing which you favor more.

About the author:" target="_blank">Michael Kwan is a professional freelance writer based out of Vancouver, Canada. He can be found blogging at" target="_blank">Beyond the Rhetoric.

Posted via email from minna's posterous