The now is an exciting time for small business owners, and the same certainly holds true for those who desire to start their own. The last couple of decades has seen growth in the small business sector, as corporate America has downsized, the entrepreneurial spirit has blossomed.
Leading up to Now
How often do we turn on the television, the radio, or open our favorite news website only to hear or read about some large corporation? Certainly, these entities are important, they employ many individuals and assist the “capitalist machine” as we have come to know it.
The “doom and gloom” that is often portrayed by the media when troubles arise within one of the larger corporations is justifiable, to some extent. However, to those of us with an inherent entrepreneurial spirit, we view these unfortunate circumstances as an opportunity.
The statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration back this. Going back to 1990, large businesses eliminated 4 million positions, and 8 million jobs were created by small businesses. Additionally, small businesses in the United States have grown by 49% since 1982.
What these statistics demonstrate is that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the United States. Regardless of what develops within the confines of corporate America, there is significant room in the marketplace for small business.
A good portion of the chatter leading up to the presidential election here in the United States last year revolved around how the economy would react to a Trump or Clinton victory. While it is early in the term, a look back at some observations bears mentioning.
Stanford economist John Taylor believes that a deviation from the economic policies that worked in the 1980s and 1990s is responsible for the slow economic growth we have experienced. This is based upon his research, and the research of others.
If Trump steers the country back to similar policies, and has the cooperation of both political parties at his disposal, growth can not only meet but possibly exceed expectations within the economic sector.
A Helping Hand
For those who are considering the foray into business ownership, often what drives them away and back to the corporate world is fear. They are fearful of how they will finance their startup. Let’s not empty the 401k to finance this idea if we can help it.
There are options to assist with financing your small business startup. What many individuals fail to recognize is that they can apply for a personal loan and use this capital for their business. Take, for example, the Light Stream personal loan review. If you have excellent credit, and meet certain criteria, you can receive an unsecured loan at a low interest rate. With the funding, you can use some of it for personal, while utilizing however much is needed for your startup.
Knowing that you do not have to apply for a business loan for your small business is half the battle. Embrace your creative side, and take the actions to launch the great American dream.
If you’re planning to get a loan for your small business, you’ll be met with many different opinions as to what you might want to do with the money to help your business grow and expand. But the truth is, you most likely have a specific reason already as to why you need a small business loan.
Or, you may have a desire to think long-term for your new business opportunity. And because of this line of thinking, it’s quite possible that a small business loan could fulfill a number of different needs.
1. Your Company Is Growing and You Need to Expand into a New Location
In a perfect world, companies will need to take out an SBA loan because their business is growing very rapidly and they need to expand their physical space into a new location.
In some instances, you may keep your current location and also open up a second space to house more workers and inventory for your thriving company. On the other hand, you may decide to close your current office and move into a newer, bigger location to accommodate your needs and keep everything under one roof.
At the end of the day, only you can decide which type of location to choose during the business expansion process. And to make it easy to move into your new location, you should seriously consider a small business loan to help cover your expenses during this transitional period.
According to Smallbusinessloans.co, a website sharing info about are there small business loans for minorities, “With a working capital loan, you can cover the operational cost of your business until you see a return on your investment.”
2. Building Credit for Your Small Business
Building credit is another reason why you may decide to take out a small business loan in the near future. By taking out a smaller loan, and then working hard to pay it back in a timely manner according to the terms of your agreement, or even ahead of schedule, you will set your company up for an even larger loan in the future.
At this point, your company might be small and you may not even really need a smaller business loan. But taking the time to build credit now is great because it opens up your opportunities later in the future when it comes time to expand or grow your business in other ways.
So, it’s definitely a good idea to take out a small business loan to build credit. You will do your company a great service and set it up correctly so that you can get an even larger loan at some point down the line when you might potentially need more money to achieve your business hopes and dreams.
3. You Need Capital to Upgrade the Equipment for Your Business
For those looking to improve their businesses productivity, it’s often wise to purchase new business equipment to upgrade your company and take it to the next level.
It really doesn’t matter what type of business you own, because equipment upgrades are a necessity for many business types. You may have to upgrade your computer system, your warehouse equipment, your vehicles, your inventory, and much more.
By taking out a small business loan, you will make it much easier to afford these upgrades without having to come up with a huge capital investment up front. This loan may make it possible to take your business to the next level.
As you can see, taking out a small business loan is definitely a good idea. Take advantage of this opportunity sooner rather than later.
You’ve probably already heard how WordPress is a very popular platform for bloggers, and chances are, a majority of the blogs you read every day were created with WordPress. While it is the best blogging software available, thanks to some great theme developers, WordPress has now also become arguably the best platform for business websites.
WordPress is very easy to learn how to use, very easy to customize and scale to your business, is incredibly affordable, and lets you chose your own hosting company (opposed to getting ripped off for hosting by hosted website solutions). WordPress.org software is free, and you can then easily add themes (otherwise known as templates) that integrate perfectly with WordPress, letting you get virtually any type of website up and running within minutes. WordPress themes can let you have better websites than people and companies that pay thousands of dollars to developers to build their websites. Best of all, outstanding premium WordPress themes usually cost under $100. I’ve personally spent well over $100 a month for hosted website software that was honestly not as good as WordPress. Using WordPress can easily save you or your company a ton of cash that can be better used to market your business.
7 Steps to Finding the Perfect WordPress Theme for Your Business
1. Decide on the type of business website you are looking for. This may sound obvious, but there are WordPress themes available for a wide variety of businesses, from corporate websites to directory sites, news & magazine sites, eCommerce businesses, daily deal sites, photography websites and much more. There are some WordPress themes available that are so good that they might even encourage you to start a type of business you hadn’t even considered!
2. Decide on must-have features for your website. Most themes have standard features such as multiple color schemes, giving you the ability to easily customize things like fonts and colors, and some pre-designed page templates, but are features such as Advanced Search, integration with Google Maps, Image Sliders, or the ability to sell digital products important to your business? In other words, focus on key features that might be specific to your business, or maybe features that would be a great improvement over your current website.
3. Decide on what type of style best suites your brand. Do you want to portray your company as professional, fun, modern or high-tech? What about minimalist, artsy, bold or retro? Do you want your website to be clean and organized or have more of a grungy look?
4. Decide on your preferred website layout. This one is a bit tricky since many of the best WordPress themes might have one layout by default, but give you the option to easily chose from various layout options. If you don’t love the default layout of a specific theme, but it has all the features you are looking for, you might want to check whether the theme includes multiple layout options. Also, it is often worth deciding whether you want a blog-type layout (generally with a widget-based sidebar on the right and comment fields below your posts) or more of a professional layout. Having a standard blog-style layout might work well for news sites (and it encourages discussion from your site visitors), but it might not be appropriate for corporate websites.
5. View theme demos. Browse theme demos as if you were a customer or a potential client. Is the website easy to understand and navigate, well organized and give you the search options you would want? Is it easy to browse photos on the gallery page? Does it give a professional image of the business?
6. Make sure the theme designer provides at least some form of technical support. Some theme companies provide phone service, while others use email or a ticketing system for support, and others use support forums to communicate with customers. Any of these options are usually fine, but make sure they offer some level of support and customer service. WordPress is easy to use and most themes (especially premium themes) work very well, but you can still have issues or encounter bugs once in a while. You want to purchase a theme from a company or individual who will be around to help you if you run into an issue 10 months after you purchase the theme. Technical Support is one of many features you’ll get when purchasing a premium free, as opposed to using a free WordPress theme.
7. To save a lot of time, rather than digging through the websites of numerous theme companies, check out a few online marketplaces that aggregate the best WordPress business themes from multiple theme designers into one place.
When it comes to online marketing, It seems like the focus of every small business these days is on places like Facebook and Twitter. While social media is important, and a great way to communicate with your customers and potential clients, your website is the real face of your business.
I constantly see small businesses spending a lot of money on things like pay-per-click ads, Facebook ads, SEO and more; all of which direct traffic to their websites. When you click through the company’s website, you’re often greeted with a stale, confusing and out-of-date website that the company probably paid a good chunk of cash to have built for them in 1992.
You can create the best products, offer the best services, make the best food of any restaurant in your area, or write an amazing e-book, but if your website is not easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to purchase from, you are most likely losing a lot of business. People DO judge a book by its cover, and your website is that ‘cover’ – it’s often the first impression people have with your business.
I was reminded of this recently as I was searching for a carpenter/contractor to do some work on our house. I searched on Google, clicked on some AdWords ads, and was repeatedly brought to cringe-worthy websites that make me leave their sites literally within seconds. My attitude was that if these ‘businesses’ cared so little about themselves to pay attention to their websites, I didn’t want to trust them renovating part of my house. They might have been amazing carpenters for all I know, but the first impression they gave me immediately turned me off to them.
It is simply so easy and affordable to have a great website these days, that there’s no excuse for businesses not to, regardless of what industry they’re in. WordPress and other website software options out there make it possible for virtually anyone, with any budget and any level of technical knowledge to have an amazing looking website.
Dustin Glass is the founder of Themespotter.com and is passionate about technology, web design, small business, and of course, WordPress. Themespotter is a WordPress theme marketplace designed to make finding the perfect theme for your business incredibly easy, allowing you to search, sort and demo themes from all the top designers in one place.
Rohit Shetty September 21, 2018InternetComments Off on How These 5 Mobile Apps Will Help You Enhance Your Revenue
Dominos, an august food brand known for its quirky marketing campaigns, increased its sales by 19% through its website and mobile app.
The gross revenue made through mobile apps is projected to cross the bar of $76.52B in 2017 Gone are the days when mobile apps were just for fun and games, today over 71% of the marketers believe that mobile applications are an integral part of their sales strategy. From collaborating with team to managing customers, tracking the competitors, and making employees more productive; slowly but surely, mobile apps are being adopted for each business process, which in turn is bringing more revenue to the firms. Given below are some of the intuitive mobile apps that the marketers are using effectively to generate optimal revenue.
In this data-driven e-commerce landscape, Insightly can prove to be a rewarding tool for the marketers. Insightly is a fast and performance-rich cloud-based CRM mobile application that allows your sales personnel to keep a track on the customer activities, forecast opportunities, and manage notes & calendar from whichever device they want. With Insightly, marketers can figure out the loopholes in their sales funnel, which in turn will help them to energize their sales and stay up-to-date with their customers and prospects.
Staying ‘à la mode’ with the latest buzz could be a task for the marketers who are always on the go. In fact, not utilizing the news effectively to capitalize your PR initiatives can make you pay off heavily. With Flipboard, marketers get an easy access to the relevant content that is spinning across the internet. Flipboard lets you subscribe to the topics of your choice and gathers the latest content from various social media networks, blogs, and news publications in a magazine like a format.
Many of us didn’t expect “Whatsapp” in this list; however, the perks that it serves to the marketers could not be undermined. Whatsapp allows the marketers to chuck off the extra text charges that can go out of hands at times. It relishes the user-base of millions and lets the marketers send messages internationally, without burning a hole in their pockets. For less than $1 a year, marketers can send messages worldwide and use the saved capital in other vital business activities.
Shopify is the must-have tool for all the retail-store owners who seek to engage customers and ring up their sales simultaneously. Shopify is a mobile point of sale system that maintains your inventory, help you to collect payment without the need of cash register, and offer relevant recommendations and quick transactions. With Shopify, marketers also get a range of effective social media and e-commerce purchasing tools that help them to generate additional revenue and streamline sales.
Efficacious customer management is crucial for every firm that seeks to generate more cash from their business. Zendesk is a cloud-based customer support application that enables you to serve your customer complaints whenever and wherever. Zendesk allows customers to create tickets for each problem they come up with. The tickets received can be then assigned to the appropriate person to resolve the issue while keeping everyone in the loop. Happy customers are perhaps the biggest asset of a business. More happy and loyal customers definitely result in more cash flow.
Be it a small business or a big enterprise playing in millions, mobile apps present an array of elements to the user, thus boosting the performance and revenue. With that said, I would wrap up my post.
Hope the above-mentioned mobile apps take your revenue to new heights.
Thanks for the read. Good Luck!
Ankit Gupta owns and manages ExportersIndia.com, A well known buyers and sellers business marketplace based in India.Owing to his passion for writing, Ankit keeps sharing his valuable insights with marketers of SMEs and small business owners to keep them upaded with the latest technology trends.You can Follow Ankit on his Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.
Rohit Shetty July 26, 2018HealthComments Off on Are Alternatives Available to Traditional Health Benefits?
More people are changing jobs regularly than before to climb the career ladder. Workopolis noted in a 2014 study that 88% of people had to change companies to obtain better positions, and only 51% of people keep the same job for less than 2 years. This is making it exceedingly difficult for smaller businesses to not only keep employees, but to offer them health care plans that are as affordable and competitive as those offered by larger corporations as well.
Many small business owners are under the impression that group health insurance is the only option that they can offer employees. In fact, a large number of them aren’t even aware that other options available, such as the Health Spending Accounts (HSAs) that are available through Benecaid.
Benefits of Health Spending Accounts
HSAs provide employees with predictable costs. They are also pre-funded, meaning that companies deposit set amounts into an account, which are then used to cover the cost of claims that are submitted. If the full amount in the HAS isn’t used, the balance of the funds are rolled over to the next year.
Another benefit of HSAs is that employees can choose how to spend their plan funds instead of being limited to predetermined amounts in categories that they might not even use. These accounts provide employers with the benefit of a set budget, while also giving employees control over how their funds are allocated. All of these benefits mean that HSAs are ideal options for small and medium businesses to provide a counter-offer to health care options that are offered by larger corporations, thus helping to retain as many of their employees as possible.
Benefits of Working with Benecaid
Small business owners can enjoy numerous benefits when working with Benecaid. For a start, sole proprietors and companies who don’t have any experience in developing a small business benefits plan from scratch have found that working with a trained and experienced Benecaid Advisor helps them to create benefit plans that are the most suitable for their businesses.
Benecaid firmly believes that it’s essential to ensure that all potential candidates and existing employees are aware of what benefits they are entitled to. It is also crucial to look at health benefits as a part of an overall goal of ensuring that workplaces are kept as healthy as possible. When employees are aware of how much money they have available and what medical benefits they are entitled to, it enables them to enjoy significant peace of mind.
HSAs are just one of the many available Benecaid insurance plans for small business owners. The company has helped many small and medium businesses remain as competitive as possible in the marketplace by means of being able to retain top talent in their industries.
Your dedicated Benecaid advisor will work with you so that you can learn more about the plans and HSAs that are available through the company. This will help ensure that you are able to provide your employees with the best benefit of all – namely, peace of mind in knowing that their medical expenses will be taken care of.
Rohit Shetty July 9, 2018FinanceComments Off on 4 Funding Options That Every Small Business Owner Should Consider
While you tend to run your small business on a cash basis, there are times when securing some type of financing would come in handy. Whether the plan is to buy more office furniture and equipment or target a new sector of the consumer market with an ad campaign, the proceeds from the funding will make it easier to start now and reap the rewards sooner. Here are several options for securing those funds that you should consider.
Traditional Bank Loans
One of the more common approaches that comes to mind immediately is a traditional bank business loan. Depending on the type of assets your company owns and how high the business credit rate happens to be, this approach may be fine. Keep in mind that traditional lenders tend to have strict lending policies that could prevent you from being approved even if your company is doing well at present.
Loans from Alternative Lenders
If your business credit score is not the best but the company is performing well after a slow period, alternative lenders are worth checking into. You will find many of these lenders are happy to extend loans even when others turn you down. Thanks to the different type of qualifications that these lenders require, you could have that loan for small business approved in less time than you expected.
Another approach to funding is to put a resource you already have to good use. That resource is the monthly batch of invoices that you send out to clients. There are lenders who will basically purchase those batches and advance you the majority of the face value. Your clients remit their payments directly to the funding partner, who credits them to your account. As more payments come in, most of the remaining income from the invoices is released to you. The partner keeps only a small percentage in return.
Since you don’t have to wait for customers to send in their payments, you can use the money immediately for whatever growth strategy you have in mind. Best of all, you don’t have one more debt to manage each month.
Merchant Cash Advances
Another way to use what you have coming your way is to set up a merchant cash advance. The partner who processes credit card payments to your business evaluates your average monthly income from credit purchases and provides an advance based on that figure. The debt is repaid incrementally as the merchant keeps a small percentage of each payment that is processed. You have an influx of cash now and can rest assured that the debt is being paid off every time a customer pays using a credit card.
Never assume that you can’t secure some type of funding for your business. Talk with a professional today who can help you find the right approach to funding. In less time than you thought possible, the money will be in hand and you can get to work on your revenue generation project.
Starting your own small business can be a challenge. When things go well, it’s a great opportunity to make a living on your own terms, and to achieve goals that you’ve had for years. However, when mistakes are made, the failure of the business can have a major impact on both your life and the lives of your family members. To ensure that your small business gets off to a great start and succeeds in the long run, avoid these common mistakes.
Ignoring online marketing. In today’s tech-savvy world, it’s a huge error to neglect digital marketing. Even small businesses need to have an online presence. You don’t have to be a tech genius to get your digital marketing right – use a Web Development Company to build a beautiful, professional website. Skipping this step could lose you plenty of customers and make it difficult to gain a proper following for your services. Focus on creating a great website and a strong social media presence to ensure that your business makes an impact.
Neglecting short-term goals. Many business owners focus too much on the long-term and don’t consider the potential importance of short-term goal setting. Having clear goals for the first few months of your business will keep you on track and ensure that your current strategy is working. Use the SMART goal setting technique – set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Losing focus. In the first years of your business, it’s essential to stay focused on the specific products and services that you began with. Don’t get pulled off course by new ideas and potential opportunities – stick with the initial game plan and stay focused.
Investing all of your personal finances. It’s great to dream big, and it’s important to be optimistic, but realism is also a key element of business savvy. No business idea is 100% perfect, so investing everything you’ve got into your small business could be a recipe for disaster. Stay realistic and calm, and focus on finding capital from investors who believe in you rather than taking massive risks.
Hiring the wrong people. The team you build around you will have a huge impact on the success of your business, particularly in the initial launch stage when you need all the support you can get. Take the time to find employees who understand and believe in your vision, and who have the enthusiasm and relevant skills to back you up.
Ignoring the market. Before you launch your business, you need to understand your market. Is there a real need for the service you’re planning to sell? What is the competition like? Don’t just dive in without doing thorough research – get to know the industry environment and strategise accordingly.
Under-marketing your product. Marketing is the key to success for any new small business. People need to know you exist, so don’t be afraid to get out there and make some noise. Figure out who your customer is and find them – make sure people are aware of what you’re offering, and push your product hard until the customers start showing up. There are plenty of strategies to experiment with, from social media marketing to leafleting; you just need to figure out which technique will work for your market.
Has your small business survived the start-up phase? Congratulations! You are one of the lucky ten percent of new firms that made it. The fact is that the small business environment is a challenging climate to operate in and if you have managed to navigate your way through the countless pitfalls that every business owner experiences, then you deserve some kudos.
Congratulations aside, it’s time to focus on the path ahead for your company. What do you want to achieve with your business now that you have managed to find some form of stability and profitability in the marketplace?
Your growth strategy will depend on your business model, and different models have different needs for growth. For instance, a retail location would not have the same growth strategy that a tech firm would use. Here are five ways to grow your business. Pick the growth strategy that sounds like it’s right for your company and then get to work researching the idea and how you can implement it to your own business.
#1 Open Another Retail Location
If your original business plan worked and you have a thriving retail location, consider replicating your success in another part of your city. Benefit from your experience of managing the outfalls of your first business and applying them to your new location. If you are confident in the systems you have built, then consider offering your model as a franchise opportunity.
#2 Expand Online
In 2017, almost all businesses have an online presence. However, what are you doing with your website? Is it a static space on the worldwide web that only acts as an informational site about your company? Turn your website into a lead generating machine by implementing SEO tactics and social marketing strategies to bring you more qualified leads at minimal cost.
#3 Create a Licensing Strategy
Is your company’s core product information-based? Do you offer a revolutionary technology such as an app or software program? Then consider licensing agreements to grow your business. Licensees will pay you a licensing fee, as well as commissions or royalties on all sales of your products made through their networks.
#4 Partner with the Competition
Does your business lack in a particular area where a competitor or partner is strong? A leveraged buyout (LBO) of their company could help you take the best resources of your competitor or partner and assimilate them into your organization.
#5 Gain Global Market Share
Penetrate markets in new foreign countries by meeting with trade consultants that can take your brand into international markets. International expansion can be applied to manufacturing, marketing, and logistics, growing your brand into a multinational business with tremendous opportunities.
Planning for Growth
Do you remember your business plan? You know, the document you drafted when you were just starting off? Many entrepreneurs forget about their business plan the moment that they open the doors. Now is the time to update your plan with the successes that you experienced during the start-up phase. After that, add in your comprehensive growth strategy and remember to update your projections to financials and sales forecasts.
Work with Professionals
By now you should realize that one of the key components of running a successful small business is working with people that are competent, professional, and as committed to the success of your company as you are. Your team will determine the success of your business, so make sure that you hire and work with only the best people.
Funding Your Expansion Plans
As a small business, you may find that funding your growth strategy using traditional finance methods, like a bank loan, is inaccessible. Financial institutions do not like to assume the risk of lending to small businesses, as they have no established credit record. Therefore; the only solution left for small business funding is using an approved microlender to assist you with your small business financing needs. Microlenders will assume the risk of lending to small businesses, however; always make sure that you can afford the loan repayment and never take a loan that you do not intend to repay.
Your business deserves to grow. Take advantage of the current business climate to expand your operations and increase your revenue.
Rohit Shetty June 21, 2018TipsComments Off on Finding The Best Small Business Scheduling Software
If you operate a business Being Mad where you schedule appointments, class attendance, consultations, seminars, workshops, or any other type of event from which you earn revenue, it is critical that you use easy-to-use, yet powerful and interactive small business scheduling software.
I also encourage, if it’s possible with your business, to look for scheduling software that enables your customers to schedule themselves.
This not only makes your life easier but is an outstanding website conversion tool. What I mean by this is new customers to your website can instantly book themselves for your service. No phone calls or any other obstacles that might lose the sale.
When you book a customer, how much time does it take? Yeah, scheduling customers and clients take time – yours and/or your staff’s time. How about the time you spend playing phone tag just to book an appointment?
That’s why if you can set up software where your customers can book their own appointments, you’ll free up a great deal of your time. You’ll also be offering a very worthwhile customer service (and impress them). Even if only 1/3 of your bookings do it themselves, you’ll be way ahead – and probably book more clients than otherwise.
The fact is in today’s fast-paced world, customers want immediate gratification. If your phone line is busy or you have to put customers on hold, you could lose that booking. Why not eliminate those losses and poor customer service with implementing online scheduling?
How Does Online Scheduling Work?
It’s simple, and you don’t have to worry about giving up control of your schedule with the right business scheduling software.
There are different uses of scheduling software – it depends on your business
1. Simple Schedule Viewable Online
Some businesses, such as yoga studios, dance studios, martial arts schools, and health clubs may simply wish to display class schedules on their website(s).
The key is getting scheduling software that makes it incredibly easy for you to change the schedule in one central location – which changes then appear on your website(s). Let’s face it, class times, instructors, etc. change regularly.
Instead of displaying your schedule in a fixed table on different pages in your website(s), which is inconvenient to change, use a central schedule dashboard where you can easily make changes.
Have you ever forgotten to change the schedule on your website? When you maintain separate schedules, it’s very easy to forget to update your schedule on your website(s). I don’t have to tell you how customers feel about being misinformed and relying on an out-dated schedule.
Solve this problem by using scheduling software you manage in one easy-to-access location – which updates all your schedules wherever posted.
Moreover, look for scheduling software that lets you present pop-up descriptions of your classes and perhaps brief bios of the instructor teaching particular classes. The more information you place where it’s easy to find for your customers, the better service you’re providing.
2. Self-Booking Capability
Other businesses require customers to schedule appointments or reserve rooms/facilities. Examples of these types of businesses include hair salons, spas, tattoo parlors, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc. Take yourself as much as possible out of the booking process by getting scheduling software that enables your customers to book their own appointments.
The process is simple with the right software. Your customers register and you provide them log-in information to your online scheduling system. Once logged in, your customers see only availability and then book in available time-slots. Moreover, you then add a contact to your database.
Online booking puts the scheduling power into your customers’ hands. If they need to change an appointment, they can easily do so without taking up your time.
What Other Features to Look for With Business Scheduling Software?
1. Look Only For Cloud Computing Scheduling Software
Without a doubt, the most important feature to look for with business scheduling software is that it’s cloud-based. This means the software you use is hosted with the service provider.
A classic example of cloud-based software is Google Docs. You simply log in to your Google account and use their fleet of document-producing software (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.).
I’ve used desktop scheduling software and like most desktop software, it costs much more in the long run and is very difficult to add new users (i.e. adding computers to the network).
The bulk of the long-term cost with desktop software is paying a tech consultant to network the software among your computers. Moreover, your scheduling software is not available anywhere – only on computers on which it’s installed. Don’t even think about the cost when you upgrade computers or if you use a server.
Cloud computing solves all these problems because all you need is an Internet connection in order to access your software dashboard. You don’t have to pay for networking, installation, and/or have a server. Instead, most cloud-computing software services simply require a monthly payment for access. It’s easy to scale up – you simply add new users to your account. Your cost only increases as your business grows.
2. Get E-Commerce and Credit Card Payment Processing Integration
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could have customers pay upon self-booking their appointments? This frees up you and your staff from two time-consuming activities – booking appointments and taking payment.
Moreover, you can book appointments if you’re busy, thus reducing lost appointments. Often saving one booking will pay for an entire month’s software cost. Not to mention gain you another potentially loyal customer.
If you’re looking to get top-of-the-line scheduling software, look for software that can process payments automatically upon a booking.
3. E-Mail and Text Messaging Reminders & Notices
Do you and your staff send out appointment reminders via e-mail and/or text messaging? This too is time-consuming. Maybe you don’t do this because you’re too busy – but wish you had the time or resources to send out reminders to reduce no-shows.
When deciding on scheduling software, be sure to opt for the capability for automated reminders. Yes, this is available. Once you have a customer’s contact information in your system, and a customer books an appointment, you can set up the software to automatically send e-mail reminders and text message reminders about upcoming appointments.
This serves three very important functions:
You’ll provide a great service reminding your customers about their upcoming appointment;
You’ll reduce no-shows; and
If a customer realizes they can’t make an appointment, they can re-schedule. This frees up appointment space which you can fill from your wait-list.
Speaking of wait-lists – with the right software, you can configure it so that once an appointment slot becomes available, e-mail notices are sent to your wait-list giving them an opportunity to take up that time – all done automatically.
4. Additional Sale Opportunities
Most small businesses earn the bulk of their revenues from loyal, repeat customers (especially service-based businesses that book appointments). With the right software, you can make it extremely easy for customers to book recurring appointments.
Perhaps they like to visit your business on the same day of each month. Instead of having to enter in their booking information manually for each month, use software to automate recurring bookings. Better yet, with self-scheduling, make it easy for your customers to book their own recurring appointments.
Many small businesses that are appointment-based offer a variety of services. If you do, make it easy for your customers to create customized booking packages or you can create pre-arranged packages they can easily choose and book. This is a powerful up-selling option to earn more revenues per customer.
Gift cards are a very powerful sales tool. Not only do you make sales, but it’s a way to attract new customers. If you’re looking for powerful scheduling software, look for the ability to sell gift cards within the system.
Do you offer referral incentives to your existing customers? If not, you’re missing out on using an extremely powerful sales tool. If you don’t, it’s probably because it’s a hassle to track referrals. You can automate referral tracking with some business scheduling software.
When a customer makes a referral, the software tracks that referral and credits the referring customer with whatever incentive you offer (i.e. discounts, free services, gift cards, etc.).
Online Point-of-Purchase Opportunities:
If you get scheduling software that has e-commerce capabilities, you automatically have a shopping cart available with which your customers can access while booking an appointment.
Point-of-purchase works both in-store and online. Why not increase sales by making it easy for your customers to buy your services and products online while they’re already in your system booking an appointment?
If your customers can’t figure out how to book their appointments online or read your class/event schedule, then you’ve wasted your money. Sure, automated scheduling software will save you time – but the main goal is serving your customers. Look for a user interface that is extremely easy to use and pleasing to the eye.
6. Centralized Contact Database
Integrating your scheduling software with your contact database is absolutely crucial in order to get the most out of your scheduling software. Why? Because you can then use that contact database to manage your operations, financials, and of course leverage it for marketing.
When a new customer signs up with your business, you want scheduling software that automatically adds their data and profile to your contact database. Once in your database, you can leverage that information throughout your entire business’ operations from client management, report generation (to track your sales, attendance, etc.) to your marketing campaigns.
Impress Your Customers with Your Scheduling Software
If you offer self-booking capability and/or extremely informative up-to-date schedules on your website, you’ll impress new and existing customers. When they get reminders, they’ll be delighted. When you send them notices for openings, they’ll think the world of you and your business.
Even if you’re a small business, the right software doesn’t need to break your bank in order to appear and offer a level of service large, resource-rich companies offer. When you deliver a high level of customer service, you’ll build trust and make dealing with your business a pleasure.
Look for scheduling software that makes it extremely easy for your customers to use your services – and you’ll not only get more customers, but you’ll get regularly attending customers.
Small business owners have Presso Graphy a lot to think of in order to make their business a huge success. They need to think about how to improve their products. They also need to look for cheaper sources in order to maximise income. They might have no time left for marketing. They might think that they are only limited to local audiences so it is not really something they care deeply about.
The truth is that marketing is part of any business, regardless of the size. Small business owners have the capacity to transform their business into something big and successful if they work really hard at achieving their goals. It also helps if they have a good website to begin with.
This is where you can be of help. You can sell websites that are already designed to help business owners easily market their products and services. They also receive consultation and technical support. For those who have prior knowledge and experience in web design, dealing with website creation is easy. However, for those who have no experience in doing so, the entire idea is foreign.
You can help if you let them realise that they are doing the right thing by simply buying an online franchise that already works. They only have to maintain it and do some changes. Everything else is done for them. This also gives them more time to focus on other aspects of their business, which might be important but they might not have the time to finish everything up considering the number of tasks pending.
Your role is to provide solutions to their business problems instead of simply selling a website to them. This will make them see the value of the website. They will also find the information more useful as they try to build their business.
They should also see the relevance of the website in making their business successful in general. For small business owners who think small, this is not an easy task. Of course, you can’t promise heaven and earth to them. The goal is to make them open their eyes to possibilities. They should not be limited to what they know. There is more to their business than what they are aware of.
You can see successful online business UK companies are involved in because of people who believed in the power of their ideas and have done everything possible to improve. You should make other business owners believe in their potential and help them reach their goals. It might be a huge challenge given their skepticism, but they will surely understand what you are doing will be of help to them.