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January 28, 2014

When the Phone does not Ring

It happens to all of us. Some more frequently than others; the dreaded “Zero Day.” Anyone who has notary work every day is either the “Company Notary” or works at the office of the County Clerk. No independent notary has work every day, nor should they. True, you need to earn money; but you also have a life and need to relax now and then. After accounting for your personal life, with excess unwanted “Zero Days” – it’s possible to make very good use of that time.

A Zero Day is an excellent time to take an in-depth look at your “go” kit. Is your notary stamp clean and clear; perhaps a bit more ink on the pad would make a nicer and darker impression. Do you have a good stock of pens? Take them apart and look inside at the ink level. It’s ugly when the ink runs out in the middle of your signature. How about your supply of forms? You have been using them, is it time to add some more to your kit? It’s also a good time to take a look at your receivables; a gentle reminder after 30 days might be in order.Grow your business. Are you resting on your tail feathers expecting business by doing nothing?

Those good clients you had might now have an in-house notary and not call again. Marketing is a never ending task. You must get the word out to potential clients that you exist. Get a map of your local neighborhood and systematically distribute business cards. Do NOT call or email trying to drum up business – most people resent that. Most of all do not fax!

Expand your skills. Do you know how to handle every possible situation? No matter how good you “think” you are there is room for improvement. Many sites offer training courses that are beyond the basics, find them and register. For no cost there is the internet, a vast resource of training and techniques. There is also the library. Knowledge does not have to cost an arm and a leg; but it does “cost” effort on your part. Sitting in front of your TV will not cut it.

Do some preventative maintenance on your printer. When it fails, do you really want to go to Kinkos to print that 300 page set of edoc? Order that spare ink or toner; add a few reams of both letter and legal to your supplies. In addition to your existing hardware, investigate adding a scanner or perhaps a faster fax machine to your inventory. Don’t forget the computer. It will run faster if you regularly defragment the hard drive. Is that hard drive filling up with stuff that you should have deleted long ago? Look at the options for a newer phone and phone plan; steep discounts are out there for those willing to change service providers and learn a new phone.

Now for the tough issue: when it does ring. Let’s say the caller is a world class lowballer who is offering the notary 65$ for an edoc 50 miles away. Yup, it has fax backs, and they said it’s “somewhat large” with 4 people signing. Do you leap at the opportunity – happy to have “some” revenue? You know it’s not worth doing, but that 65$ sounds better than another Zero Day. Don’t fall for it. In the long run you will be much better off doing the tasks cited earlier in this blog.

Tweets:
(1) A day w/no calls is an opportunity to re-ink your seal, call the clients u haven’t heard from in 60 days & rest.
(2) A dead day is a great opportunity to do some maintenance on your printer. Buy a new toner, etc.
(3) If you are offered $65 to print 300 pages and go far away, take the day off instead & catch up on other things.
(4) Do you ever have a day when the phone just doesn’t ring w/customers? Time to catch up w/errands.

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