As a small business owner, you are probably a very busy person. While some have the gift of being able to do endless amounts of different task at once with absolute precision, most of us are not so fortunate. Often times we find our selves getting bogged down by the raw amount of stuff on our plate, whether it be neglecting the everyday upkeep, or ignoring the big picture stuff to handled inane tasks. You may be over-extending yourself by wearing too many, but you know you can afford to hire another employee to help ease the burden. Luckily for you, there are software programs out there that provide a cheaper alternative to this expenditure. Here are of our favorites. If you find any other hidden gems that we don’t know about, please let us know! One can never be too on top of things. OR CAN WE???
Evernote is like a highly organized notepad you can use to take notes on the fly so that you never forget important things . For us this is a must have. How many times have you had a valuable thought, only to forget it the next minute? Not only do you lose that idea, but you waste time trying to remember what it was. Evernote eliminates this frustration, essentially acting as your own personal brain-dump storage unit. Any time you have a stroke of brilliance, or even remember something you had to do, you simply hit a quick key on your computer, and a little note will pop up. You just enter it there, and it will be there waiting for you when you want to see it again. As an added plus, Evernote syncs online, so that you can access your brain-dump from any device you might use. This is great for times when you are not near your pc and need to get something down. Try Evernote here.
Omni-Focus is very similar to Evernote, in the respect that it lets you take notes and organize them efficiently. But the thing we find truly delectable about this program is its focus feature, which moniters your tasks and blocks out anything that doesn’t pertain to said tasks (at least on your computer). You simply tell Omnifocus what you need to accomplish the task at hand, and it will close all other programs, and not allow you to open them until a set amount of time has passed. This means you won’t catch yourself trolling Facebook instead of doing that accounting work you’ve been putting up for days. Bravo.
Setster is an online appointment scheduling software. It allows your clients to book appointments online, which can generate new leads. Even more enticing, it allows you to automate your appointment booking, which makes your schedule easy to access and manage. As an added bonus, it even automates the follow up proccess, sending consistent notifications and reminders to clients about there upcoming appointments. If there is a change or a cancellation on either side, Setster let’s both parties know, so you can breath easy knowing that at least your prepared on that front, and don’t have to expend extra time making phone calls.
In my mind, my dream job would be a consultant of some sort. As a consultant, you basically get to share your knowledge and make money off of it. I imagine just a barrage of business lunches where there are no inane conversations, no deadlines, just me loving the sound of my own voice. I think I could do that really well. I’m a smart guy, there’s not much maintenance involved at all. I have never been the best at maintenance. Being on time, completing repetitive tasks, or anything requires a degree of consistency. I overlook things unintentionally that most other people can’t miss. I’m constantly finishing things at the last minute, and that’s the only minute I seem to be able to get anything done. I’ve got a pretty bad case of ADHD I guess, and both my parents are messy, so I may have learned some bad habits from them. But I’m an adult now, I have a job I love and really want to excel at, and do, when my head is in the game. But I’m still pulling all nighters when I really shouldn’t have to. I have a fair amount of work, but I know it’s manageable. Except I manage to not manage it. It feels like a never ending cycle of impossible optimism followed by mediocre results. And I know it’s my fault. It’s definitely me. I’m only 22, but I can’t go on like this if I want to succeed in any aspect of life. Ugh!
Anyway, my bosses are well aware of my issues, and recently took it upon themselves to mentor me in the ways of getting things done. They both are extremely organized, clean, and productive. They make being on the ball all the time seem almost effortless. Sure, they have their off days, but they never are off long enough to take their eye off at the ball. So I of course was very open to trying just about anything that would get me on their level. What they trained me to do was really simple, but it really worked!
The problem was that I had never really analyzed what drove my unproductive streaks. The weird thing is that I like doing my work, I actually enjoy it, but somehow could get things done. Why was I able to have laser focus the night before something was due, but not four days before? I always thought I just thrived under pressure. But that seemed like sort of a copout. What I found out, as my bosses monitored my habits, is that my problem is not that I can’t get things done, like always thought. The problem is I spend way to much time flirting with the idea of doing something. I’ll go for a walk, surf the net, smoke a cigarette, give myself undeserved breaks while neatly filing a task permanently in the future, until there is no future and I just have to face it.
After my bosses told me I did this, I decided I was just going to try DOING things for one day, without even really taking time to think about doing them. When I tried this, it was amazed at the results. I finished things so much quicker, I felt so much better, I wasn’t overtired or stressed, I felt like I had a handle on a life that I rarely have gotten to grip. And as soon as I accomplished those tasks, I felt more ready to face the other things that needed to be handled that day. It was like all these little task added up to equal me having a great, fulfilling day. I felt like I had worked, utilized my time, and not just skated by on my laurels. And the funny part is, I felt more creative, more energized for the big ideas I love so much. It was definitely a win-win, and while I too have my off days, I’m starting to really get used to be somewhat dependable.
So here are three productivity tips from the most unorganized procrastinator there is. Enjoy!
1.Getting the maintenance of life down will strengthen and give you the discipline to overcome setbacks and greet success with open arms.
2.When performing seemingly inane or routine tasks, make sure you take the time to acknowledge the part it has to play in the bigger scope of things. That way you will have a more palpable and motivating directive. There is nothing more demotivating than a lack of purpose.
3.It’s all about having a process. Knowing day after day that you have accomplished something palpable even if it’s just arduous day to day tasks, will give you the confidence to effectively execute bigger picture stuff.
Hope this helps someone besides me! Happy Scheduling!
Sometimes, as a service provider, you hit a little bit of dry spout. You are just not getting as many bookings as you would like. But your business is your business. Not everyone has to know that your schedule is totally open. That never looks good. Luckily, with online scheduling software such as Setster, there is a very simple way to make it look like business is popping off when really its dropping off. All you have to do is go into your calendar and block off a bunch of time, and it will look like your schedule much fuller! Problem solved, desperation averted. Make sure not to blog off too much time though! You want people to have a healthy platter of times to choose from.
For the uninitiated, Setster, an online scheduling program that automates the entire booking process, allowing you to easily stay organized and on top of your schedule in even the busy of times. It works by allowing clients to book with you through a widget right on your business’s website. Clients can select from available time blocks predetermined by the parameters you set. Once an appointment is booked, the client is notified by email and you by both text message and email, allowing you to ensure that the proper communication was made. If there are any cancelations or changes, both parties will be notified as well, allowing you to take action according. You can sync this with your Google Calendar, allowing the seamless integration of your business and personal schedules. On top of that, it’s calendar is absolutely gorgeous and extremely easy to navigate, which means that there won’t be any headaches on either end of the spectrum. All of this, without ever having to make pesky phone calls, which are undependable and devalue your time. To learn more about what this wonderful program can bring to your business, go to their website at Setster.com, or click here.
As a tech savvy service provider, your business’s website might have specific, landing pages for each service you provide (For SEO purposes). When a client lands on that page, they are usually interested in that service specifically
If they’ve already made a decision to book specific service, you don’t want to distract them with all the other services available to book. So once you have enticed them with your copy, While up-selling is a good thing, you want to make sure people first book the service they intended to in the first place. If they are inundated with a ton of other options, they may have second thoughts, and opt not to get anything at all. Luckily with Setster, you can use our filtering tool to filter a service for each page of your site, narrowing the focus to just the service that your clients want, so that once they click the Setster booking widget, you are basically guaranteed to make a conversion.
Setster is an online appointment scheduling software that is accessible to clients through a little tab, or widget, that you put right on your business’s website. Once they click on the tab, a calendar overlay comes up right on your site that shows them the entire range of times that you are available. Once they pick a time slot, and fill out their information, the appointment is booked. The overlay disappears and the users stays on your site. As soon as the appointment is booked, notifications are sent to both the client and you, confirming the appointment. If any changes need to be made, such as a rescheduling or cancellation, all they have to do is make an edit available from the confirmation email or on the calendar, and both parties will be informed the same way.
And because Setster is a software and not a human, it does not need to sleep, and is accessible at any time, day or night. This translates into you always being open for business, or at least open for accepting business. It’s kind of like having your own personal assistant who never drops the ball. When people say you can’t get good help these days, they most certainly we’re not talking about Setster. Bravo.
The Yoga method of achieving harmony in your body, mind and emotions is becoming more and more popular. That means there are tremendous opportunities for your yoga studio. It also means that there is going to be some serious competition in acquiring customers.
Finding unique and worthwhile ways to promote your yoga center can be the difference between success and failure. Here are some great tips to think about in promoting your studio and attracting new yoga practitioners.
#1: Create Flyers & Postcards: The cost-effective tools will help you spread the word in the places that your potential customers hang out. Coffee shops, markets, cafes and so many other places welcome flyers, posters and postcards that they can put up on boards or place out on tables. Make sure that your message is consistent across all of them, that it’s easy to find information, website links, phone numbers, etc. Think outside the box about places to leave your flyers and postcards. And don’t be shy, it never hurts to ask if someone will put them out for you.
#2: Intro Giveaways/Deals: You have to think long-term so offering a great deal, even a free one, for new students, is a good idea. This is about building buzz and introducing potential customers to your studio, your teachers and you. Don’t go crazy and do five deals but consider doing a Groupon or Living Social deal that doesn’t make a lot of money but gets people in the door. There’s also something to be said for offering extremely-reduced initial offers ($20 for 10 days). Entice people and give them reasons to keep coming back after the deal is done.
Owners of fitness and spa centers have such an immense volume of tasks on their plates that it can sometimes seem impossible to take a break or even move on to the next project. To help free up resources for either rejuvenation or further investment in ongoing projects, here are four tips that will help any spa owner save time.
1. Provide information online
Any fitness and spa center that doesn’t currently have a full-fledged website is probably fielding a lot of questions on the phone unnecessarily. While a website requires an initial investment of time and money, the time savings of a well-designed site are worth it.
A spa center website should include:
The FAQ page is one of the most vital time saving aspects. Simply having this resource will prevent a lot of calls to your spa while ensuring that members remain satisfied. Adding the ability to book a class or an appointment with a trainer directly online is a big plus. This can reduce the amount of time required in promoting your business.
Every relationship starts with trust and sending confirmation, reminder and follow up emails portrays that trust.
In the world of small business, repeat business is the holy grail, the thing that keeps the train rolling. Building trust with your clients is key to building long relationships. So what does that entail? Well for one, providing an outstanding service on the regular. But you must also be consistent in other areas of your business. Trust is built by being consistently dependable. To be consistently dependable you need to be on top of your schedule. This includes confirming appointments, and sending reminder and follow up emails.
But of course, you are not a robot. You are human, and human’s can only extend themselves so far. You have many clients, and keeping everything organized, not to mention actually having to perform these tasks, seems like a job in itself. You already have a job to do, which is the service you provide.
Are you an expert in your industry? Is this the subject you feel like you could really educate people about? If you do, hosting a Webinar is a great way to use that know-how to gain the trust of new customers and take your relationship with your existing customers to new heights. A webinar is essentially a web based seminar, or presentation, that utilizes web conferencing software to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.
Learn Your Software
Before you even start planning your Webinar, you should learn the platform you are going to be using to present. Go to the platform’s website and read/watch every tutorial available. Really soak it up. Then go into the actual software and practice operating it yourself, until you’ve got it down pat. Also make sure that any equipment you will be using, such as a mic or a webcam, is compatible with the software.
Find a collaborator from a partner service
We all have heard the saying two heads are better than one. Recruiting a co-presenter from a partner/affiliate of your business not only serves as a great form of cross promotion, it will also make your presentation much more dynamic. Plus, if there is a technical issue or something else that goes wrong during the presentation, you have someone their to cover you while you work to remedy the problem.
No downloads. No software to install. Register now and for 15 days you'll have access to the top features and capabilities of the word's most innovative online scheduling software. See for yourself why everyone loves Setster.
Your 15-day free trial lasts until July 20, 2012. If you don't want to continue using Setster, just cancel before the trial ends and you won't be charged. Otherwise, you'll pay just $29.95/month for the service as long as your account is open. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel any time.
Using Setster has helped our sales team schedule demos seamlessly! We would recommend Setster to anyone looking for an online scheduling software.
The response from my clients has been phenomenal. As a small business owner, Setster makes it much easier to manage appointments.
Setster has changed the way we handle appointment scheduling. With a simple user interface,multi-location and multi-service capability, we focus on what we do best and let Setster handle the rest.
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