As with any person, small business owners are creatures of habit. You’re the captain of the ship and when it comes to how you manage your business, you’ve discovered certain flows that are comfortable. You like to manage your staff this way, you like to keep track of inventory that way, and if you’re like 55% of surveyed small business owners - you record most of your assets, like your booked appointments, manually.
Now, some habits are better than others. If you go to the gym every morning, that’s superb. If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, that’s not the greatest habit to have… and it can have long-term, damaging effects. Continuing to manually manage your appointments with pen and paper can similarly have serious negative effects on the long-term success of your business. Change can be a bit scary to embrace at times, but sometimes change is truly for the best.
Here are 3 small business management tips for giving you the courage you need to break from the habit and ditch tracking your appointments with pen and paper.
Small Business Management Tip #1 - Take Your Time Back
When your phone is ringing off the hook it can be a pretty bittersweet feeling, right? On one hand, you’ve got a ton of customers calling to place an appointment. More appointments means more money. Win! On the other hand, if you’re keeping your appointments book with pen and paper, the more the phone rings, the more frequently you need to answer the call, and then manually fill in that customer’s time of appointment. You need to manually take into account: who will be servicing them, any special requests, etc. Though one call may only take you 5 minutes, multiply that by ten and you’ve spent almost an hour of your day just filling in appointments. You didn’t open your business to be a receptionist, and you certainly don’t have a spare hour to waste on something like that.
Consider an online booking platform that takes care of all that for you. Take your time back. Let customers book appointments on their time, through an online booking platform, and put your time toward what’s really important to you - enjoying your work and tending to your customers.
Small Business Management Tip #2 - Make Your Business Accessible 24/7
When you’re bound to running your business on pen and paper, your customers are bound to your business’ hours. Customers don’t like to be (and more over shouldn’t be) bound by really anything. If you haven’t heard so already, when it comes to attracting and retaining customers - convenience is king. There is a lot of fierce competition for business and if you’re not offering your customers the convenience they expect, they will simply find it elsewhere.
Consider that most people are busy during the day with work and that it’s difficult to break away and call for an appointment. So, even though your business physically operates on a 8-10 hour day, the ability for customers to book appointments should ideally never end.
With online booking capabilities, you grant customers the luxury of booking appointments even when their business is closed. Customers have the convenience of booking appointments at 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning - whenever, and wherever works best for them.
3. Small Business Management Tip #3 - Always Be Connected to Your Business
When all of your assets are recorded on pen and paper, closing up shop for the night means you’re shutting down completely. All your data and information is left at the shop. It’s because of this that so many small business owners find themselves closing their doors to the public at 9pm but not actually leaving till the wee hours of the night. You can’t help but constantly think - did I take care of that? I can’t leave until this is done! Those can’t wait until tomorrow...
Stop being a stranger to your family and friends. The right online booking system should allow you to leave your office AND take your business with you. Many online booking systems store things like your appointment bookings, employee schedules, and inventory records on cloud-technology. What this means is that you can access and make any necessary changes wherever you happen to be, whenever you have to be there. Don’t let pen and paper shackle you to your desk. Consider a solution like an online booking system to help you break the chains and be free.
Have these small business management tips piqued your interest? Check out all the benefits an Online Booking system can bring to your business in this free guide!