Business is booming. Clients are emailing at all hours of the day and night. It’s a good problem to have… isn’t it?
Yes and no. The stress we may end up feeling knowing we cannot service all the dogs and their humans can be overwhelming. It may be compounded further if you don’t know where to turn, you may overbook yourself and end up burning out.
I have some tips to help with the overwhelm.
Closing Your Books
Turning away business? Yes, indeed. You cannot service everyone to the level you know you should when your tank is on empty and you are stretched too thin. Closing your books to new clients is not uncommon. You can offer a waitlist (Google forms are great for this) but keep in mind that most people need a trainer YESTERDAY. I would advise giving them referrals and if you don’t have great local trainers there are a TON of fantastic trainers and consultants, many who specialize, available remotely.
I highly recommend starting a referral list so you have other trainers you can confidently send inquiries to. As mentioned above, many trainers specialize in a variety of areas and work remotely so you should be able to give anyone inquiring a few options.
Veterinary behaviorists are often opening and closing their books or have long wait lists so make sure to check their websites or email them to see where in their calendar they are booking.
Separation anxiety is something I do not specialize in so I typically refer clients to www.malenademartini.com as they have an on-demand course as well as certified trainers. Julie Naismith also has a certification program and you can find a trainer to refer to through her website.
Having an email and voicemail auto-responder can take the pressure off of you to get back to everyone immediately.
A standard “we return emails within 24-48 hours” as well as letting people know if your books are closed and immediate referral options can lighten your load. Some trainers choose not to answer the phone (me!) and my voicemail lets those inquiring know that due to an overwhelming amount of inquiries we only respond to email inquiries.
Lastly, ensuring your messaging on your website is very clear whether you are taking clients or not is so important. Temporary announcement banners can be put up on your home page as well as any of your services page.
I hope these tips help relieve some of the overwhelm you may be feeling. I will have more helpful information coming in upcoming blog articles.