The first thing, is that there is never anything typical about running an art gallery (or any other business for that matter). Certain days of the week have certain patterns, but I'm glad there is always a bit of flexibility in what I can do.
Regardless of the day of the week and whatever is scheduled, the first thing I focus on every morning is taking care of orders that need to be filled. If an order is being filled from Cow Art and More headquarters, I make every effort possible for it to ship the same day and mail those orders off early. I also check orders in the middle of the day, if I'm in the office, and try to fill them in time to catch a late pickup at the post office. (There is a drop station close to me that picks up mid-morning and late afternoon.) If a package doesn't ship the same day the order it is received, it will go out the next business day. (We ship 6 days a week.) If a customer has placed an order for art that ships directly from the artist, I make sure the artist has received the order and is set to ship.
Generally, I have at least one day a week that I call and office day. On this day, I usually write blog posts for the week, list new art, update the website, correspond with artists (current and potential), pay bills and take care of other tasks from the last few days that need addressing. I also do some planning for advertising, mailings (postal and electronic) and our printed catalog.
If it's a day that I have veterinary work scheduled, I get up an hour earlier to give me time to get through my emails. First priority goes to filling orders from overnight and second priority goes to taking care of urgent emails. Otherwise, other important emails might have to sit until I have another office day to go through them.
In case you're interested, these are a few of my favorite products I use here in the office that help me remain productive and provide excellent customer service:
- Endicia internet postage. I can buy the postage online, weigh packages and envelopes in my office and print out the appropriate amount all from my own computer. All I have to do then is drop items in a postal box. (I also do something similar for my FedEx and UPS packages too.)
- Grasshopper toll free phone number. It's an inexpensive way for me to have a toll free number for customers to call.
- Paypal. Not only does Paypal handle all our online transactions processed through cowartandmore.com, but I can also invoice people directly for their purchases. (I have to do it this way for international purchases since the default for our shopping cart system does not allow purchases outside the United States.)
- Having a really good assistant. Unfortunately, my assistant graduated college back in May, and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. I'm hopeful that when school starts again in a couple of weeks, I will find another good one.
- Shelves and bins. Part of running the Cow Art and More office is storing the art we sell (including the jewelry). Being organized is absolutely essential. Trips to home improvement stores are on an as needed basis to get whatever I need to make this happen.