Today’s tech-savvy customers know what they want out of their service providers. Obviously, good customer service, quality and value are important, just as they’ve always been. These are pillars that help small businesses grow and succeed. Another factor that’s becoming increasingly important for owners and operators, regardless of the type of services they provide, is the ability for their customers to interact with the business and conduct transactions online, specifically scheduling appointments and booking reservations. An online business calendar is the perfect tool to accomplish this.ONLINE BUSINESS CALENDAR: THE BASICSAn online business calendar is a term many small businesses use when referring to online appointment-scheduling software, a cloud-based technology that offers owners, operators and staff functionality to completely automate, streamline and improve their booking procedures. Typically, these applications are classified as software as a service (SaaS) programs, “pay-as-you-go” services that usually don’t require contracts, expensive hardware, downloads or installations, or in-house or contracted IT support. All that’s necessary to implement and use the software is an Internet connection. You simply access the online business calendar just as you would any Web site.Although functionality can vary among providers, standard features found in many online business calendar applications include:• Online customer self-scheduling. Ask any small business owner that utilizes an online scheduler calendar what’s their favorite feature and most will say its online customer self-scheduling. This feature alone can completely automate the entire scheduling process, as it gives customers the ability to book their services at any time of day and when it’s most convenient for them. The system does the rest and automatically books the individual without any additional effort from the owner or his or her staff.• Automated e-mail and text message reminders. Reminders continue to be an important tool in keeping open time slots full. In fact, studies show that reminders of any kind can decrease the “no-show” rate by over 50 percent. However, reminders can require a considerable amount of staff time and resources, especially if done manually. Some online business calendar applications take the effort out of this important task by automatically sending out e-mail and text reminders prior to a scheduled appointment or reservation. Owners or operators simply select when they want the reminder sent, such as one or three days before the customer’s appointment or reservation, and the system does the rest.• Record-keeping and reporting. Another benefit to an online business calendar is data management and storage. In short, the software can centralize all customer and appointment/reservation information in one easy-to-access location. Before implanting online scheduling software into their operations, most owners and staff would record appointment and customer information in multiple paper appointment books, spreadsheets, folders and other documents. Not only is this manner of scheduling time-consuming, it forces one to juggle back and forth between pages, files and documents to locate details on a specific customer or appointment. It can also make it a hassle to compile all of this information for a report. An online scheduler calendar makes it easy to quickly locate data on an individual or details about his or her appointment. Many also allow users to effortless create and download standard reports.• E-marketing solutions. Reaching out to customers through e-newsletters and messages keeps them the loop on discounts, specials and other news. Keeping track of their e-mail contact information, however, can be tedious. Since an online business calendar centralizes all data in one spot, customer information is easy to access, including e-mail addresses. Some online scheduler calendars even allow users to send messages right through the software, instead of having to download it into an Excel or other file (although this option is usually available as well).Other popular functionality available in some online business calendars include online customer payment options, repeat customer reminders (sent to individuals after a specific time of inactivity), gift certificates and package bundles of several service appointments.HOW IT HELPS SERVICE PROVIDERS IMPROVE OPERATIONS, SAVE TIME AND MONEYIn addition to making it easier for customers to book appointments and reservations, an online business calendar can help a business save time and money and, ultimately, even help it grow. Although one of the main reasons many small businesses implement online scheduling is to provide a convenient way for individuals to schedule online, they soon find out that many of the features are beneficial to overall operations as well.When properly implemented, an online business calendar can:• Save time. Besides being convenient for customers, online self-scheduling can dramatically reduce the number of appointment phone calls and e-mails that must be answered by the owner or staff. This, in turn, frees them up for more important tasks. In cases where a business schedules a large number of daily appointments and reservations, an online scheduler calendar can eliminate the need to bring in a new staff member solely to handle scheduling.• Save money. As the old saying goes, “Time is money.” The time savings from an online business calendar quickly equates into monetary savings, when you factor in employee salaries or an owner’s time. Additionally, automated e-mail and text message reminders, as mentioned above, can help reduce “no-shows”. This means fewer time slots will go unfilled…and more revenue from services rendered. And since the scheduling software provider typically oversees the maintenance of the software, an owner or operator does not to budget for any IT support, since all updates, upgrades and technical issues are addressed by the provider.• Keep a business open 24 hours a day. An online scheduler calendar can keep a service provider open 24 hours a day, even if its business hours are only 9 to 5. Many people these days simply do not have the time to book a service appointment during the day, and instead conduct most of their daily transactions in the evening or early morning. And they’d much rather book an appointment instead of leaving a message requesting one. A service that offers 24-7 booking will undoubtedly see an increase in scheduled services.• It makes a business more competitive. In addition to those individuals who are unable to make an appointment over the phone during normal business hours, there are those who simply do not want to pick up the phone and prefer to conduct all of the daily transactions online. In some instances, an individual may not even consider a service provider if it doesn’t offer online scheduling. Not providing an online option for booking a service can put a business at a major disadvantage, especially if its competitors do offer it.Implementing a new technology into a small business operation need not be a frightening endeavor, especially if it’s SaaS application such as an online business calendar. Online scheduling software providers have made it easy to add this technology into any service-based business with a minimal amount of effort and cost. It’s an affordable and smart solution that both customers and business owners will appreciate.
There are some important aspects that you need to consider when starting a home based business with a network marketing company or a multi level marketing company because the home based business industry can be very over whelming and if you want to be successful then you are going to need to run an easy home based business.Why?Because there is a new person joining this industry looking to start a home based business for themselves every 17 seconds so it is very important that you can offer an easy home based business for even a newbie to run and become successful with.What are the things to look out for in a company that can provide this easy home based business?You want to join a company that has a great business overview webinar that you can send your prospects to so you don’t have to do any selling because the best way to sell someone on something is to let someone sell themselves.You want to be in a position so you can just focus on your prospect, find out why are they looking for a business and what they are looking for in a business.If you join a company that has a great business overview webinar then you can follow this four step system to create an easy home based business for yourself.1 – Generate a lead2 – Have a conversation with your prospect, qualify them to attend the business overview webinar.3 – Send them to the business overview webinar4 – Call back and collect their decisionYour entire business model should revolve around this four step system, these are the action steps that will make you money in your easy home based business if you’re not closing sales and bringing people into your business you aren’t making money.OK so let’s face it without a constant supply of leads this four step system just doesn’t work so when it comes to choosing a company to join you absolutely must have a training centre that teaches you how to market using the internet.You want an internet marketing university that you can plug your new business partners into so they to can learn the very latest internet marketing strategies for generating targeted leads for their business, leads are the life blood of your business! Without leads you don’t have a business.If you are putting in the hard work you want to be getting paid the big bucks for your efforts so when you are searching for the right company to join you want a compensation plan that is going to pay big dollars, you don’t want to have to bring 100 people into your business just to make $1000, you want a compensation plan were you can make $1000 – $14000 from bringing just one person into your business this is called a top tier compensation plan.The compensation plan is a very important part to your home based business because this is your pay structure and you want to maximise your efforts by getting paid big dollars, this makes it all worth while also allowing you to transition from your current employment to working full time on your home based business.One of the most important aspects to think of when partnering with a company to start a home based business is that you must have a passion for the product or opportunity that you are selling, you want to partner with a company that is closed to your heart and passions because at the end of the day this is a business and if you don’t enjoy working on your business then it just becomes another job.Partner with a company that has all of the points that I have mentioned and treat it like a business not a hobby, follow the four step system and you can’t go wrong.