Hello Again! Before I begin each diary entry, I review my previous segment. What had I shared that was noteworthy? Have I met my goals? Am I staying on track with the marketing plan? Am I leading by example? Or, in spite of my written word, am I completely off target? Last time I talked again about my goals of specializing and not being all things to all people. I was to sell myself, and not the product. And, I am proud to say that I have been true to this goal for the first two quarters of this year. For the most part, I followed the marketing plan I had written.
In sharing the story of my 2011 with all of you, I realize that this diary makes me accountable to someone, and this is a new concept for me. As an owner/manager, the only person I report to is myself, and after 6 months, it was time to run the numbers and see what the results told me. If I don’t take the time to actually study the trends each quarter, and assess my business plan, no one will send me an email, reminding me that my second quarter report is due. I have no presentation to make to anyone. Now, I share with my peers. I think it makes me more accountable than ever, and suddenly I have a new appreciation of that. I am so busy, do I really have time to do this? I know I worked hard at the plan. Who knows, or cares, if I run the numbers or not? As I thought more about this, the subject for this entry completely changed, and goes back to what I mentioned above.
Accountability. Who are we accountable to? Many of us are owners, managers, or home based agents. Most of us are responsible for everything when it comes to running our business. We manage our finances, we take care of our clients, we make our marketing decisions, we decide where to spend our advertising money, and what we are going to sell. Who has time to sit down and study the first half of the year, when I am busy trying to make money the second half of the year?
I am really struggling with this sense of accountability, as I am sure you can see! There are more questions than answers. My head was spinning once I got started really thinking about it. Who suffers if I am not accountable? What am I accountable for? Everything? If an agent refuses to read the trades or advance his or her education, resulting in loss of sales, am I accountable for that, too? I was starting to get crazed, thinking about it.
For anyone else who has wondered these same things, I will tell you how I dealt with these burning questions. It was really quite simple. I made a list of all of my responsibilities. Then I prioritized that lengthy list. I also noted if it needed to be done daily, or weekly, or less frequently.
None of you will be surprised at the results. The top of the list was taking care of the customer. THAT is who I am accountable to first. My customer. Everything else is secondary. The list didn’t really help me answer all the questions I had about accountability, but it did remind me of the most important person in my business.
Amy Hobbins, MCC, CTA, is a 20 plus year industry veteran. She has managed both the corporate and leisure side of a full service retail agency, as well as teaching evenings at a travel school. She is the owner of Journeys Unlimited Travel, with an emphasis on destination weddings and the honeymoon market. Journeys Unlimited Travel is known for its full “travel concierge” services available to their clients.