Posted on 2012-05-22
A flexible schedule is one of the greatest benefits of running your own consulting firm, but that flexibility is a double-edged sword. Without proper management, your schedule can quickly get out of hand. Good time management lets you enjoy the freedom of being your own boss while still getting your work done on schedule.
Centralize Your Scheduling
Keeping separate calendars for your personal life and your work life may seem logical, but it's likely to cause confusion. When you're busy scheduling in a new paying client, it's easy to forget you'd already set aside that time to take your child to the dentist, help a friend move or attend a matinee with your significant other. Instead of trying to keep track of two or more calendars, make your whole schedule available at glance by using a single calendar.
Timely Booking lets you to easily block out hours you've scheduled for family time and social engagements. You'll have a clearer picture of your daily schedule and you're clients will see the blocked off hours as unavailable when they book themselves in. Even better, because the calendar is online, anyone involved in your scheduling, like your spouse, can check your schedule without bothering you with a phone call.
Maintain Your Focus
Multitasking may make you look busy, but it rarely helps you get more done. When you jump from one thing to another, you lose your train of thought and need to refocus repeatedly, which costs you time. You'll accomplish more in day if you can cut down on distractions like phone calls and email. Just sending your phone to voice mail and avoiding your email isn't enough. You'll still be distracted by the idea that you could be ignoring prospective clients and losing business. When you use Timely Booking, though, your clients can book their own appointments and pay right through the calendar. That leaves you free to focus on your work without compromising your customer service.
Keep Clients Organized
A streamlined system for organizing your clients' information is integral to a well organized consulting business. Yet paper files and even some software programs just aren't always able to do what you need them to. Maybe you need to contact that client who wanted to discuss restaurant marketing, but you can't remember the client's name. If your current filing system won't let you search by keywords, you're in trouble. With a more flexible data storage system like Timely Booking, you could have the right client's file up in seconds. More than just an online appointment scheduling calendar, Timely Booking stores your clients' information in a searchable database. You'll be able to find what you want when you want it. Because your clients enter in their information when they book, you'll also have less tedious data entry to bother with.
The right appointment booking calendar can do a lot to lighten the work load of your consulting business. With Timely Booking, you'll be able to unify your schedule, keep your clients' data organized and focus on your work. If you could use a little extra time to get things done, give Timely Booking a try.
How to Stop Confusion Over Timezones from Ruining Your Business
Posted on 2012-05-14
Confusion over timezones has the potential to wreak havoc with any online service-based business. Whether you provide tutoring, tarot card readings or any other live service, keeping your appointments organized is essential. Unless you want to lose clients, you need a booking calendar that helps you keep track of appointments for all your clients worldwide, regardless of their timezones.
How Timezones Can do You in
How would you feel if you logged into Skype for a pre-paid tutoring session only to sit there waiting...and waiting? After a while, you assume your tutor forgot about you, so you log off. A few hours later, you get an email from your tutor apologizing for having miscalculated the timezone difference and thinking the lesson started an hour later. Even if you can forgive the mix-up, that experience won't make you feel like a valued client. It's definitely not something you want to do to your own clients.
Not everyone will forgive your mistakes, either. No one with a tight schedule can afford to work with someone who seems disorganized and unprofessional. Word spreads fast online. If your former client mentions in an online review or forum that they tried your service, but you missed their appointment, that could cost you prospective clients, too.
The Risk is Real
If you're doing business online, you're probably no longer using pen and paper to keep track of bookings. But are you still using a computer spreadsheet and trying to calculate timezone differences yourself? Stop! Sooner or later, you're almost guaranteed to make a mistake that will cost you an appointment if not lose a client. With 40 timezones around the world, ranging from one hour to 15 minutes, there's a high probability of miscalculation. As if that weren't enough, there's also daylight savings time to account for and not all countries change their clocks. Mix-ups are even more likely if you take bookings over the phone because you'll have to calculate on the fly to avoid making your client wait. To eliminate that risk of error as well as save time and hassle, switch to an online booking calendar.
Keep Your Clients Happy With an Online Booking Calendar
Online booking calendars automate the appointment-setting process. You'll no longer have to juggle all your clients' bookings and timezones yourself. A booking calendar on your website shows your clients what appointment times are available, with times displayed in the viewers' local timezones, and allows clients to book the times they want. Each client has only his or her own schedule to remember, so there's less risk of error than if you were trying to manage dozens of clients' schedules by yourself. Many calendars also include an integrated payment system, so your clients can book and pay all without taking up your time. Sure, if you have a client book an odd time, like 3 a.m. their time, it's a good idea to email or call and confirm. Otherwise, though, all you have to do is log in at the time the client requested.
An online booking calendar for global reservations streamlines your booking process, making things simpler for you and your clients. With a calendar hosted by a third party, there's no software to install or maintain, so you can be up and running in minutes. Get set up with a booking calendar today and you'll be free of timezone confusion for as long as you run your business.
How to Solve Your Reservations Booking Problems in 10 Minutes Flat
Posted on 2012-05-14
Booking problems are a chronic issue for many online businesses that accept global reservations. Endless rounds of phone or email tag, mixed-up timezones, mis-scheduled and missed appointments, and the time it takes to make each booking individually all make doing business harder than it should be. What's worse, problems like these can frustrate your clients so much that they take their business elsewhere.
Just buying different booking calendar software isn't the solution, though. Reservations management software that resides on your hard drive may not take long to set up, but it won't solve your problems either. To truly eliminate the majority of your frustrations with international bookings, an online system hosted by a third party will get you much better results.
Online Booking Means Happier Clients
Most importantly, an online booking calendar is more convenient for your client. When your prospective or current clients visit your website, they can look over your calendar to see what appointment times you have available. Times are shown in the viewers' own local timezones, so your clients won't have to worry about calculating the difference. When your clients find the appointment times that suit them, they can schedule themselves in without any help from you.
Calendars with an integrated payment system let your clients pre-pay for the appointment, too. As the appointment time approaches, the calendar's email system automatically sends reminders to your clients, so they'll be less likely to forget and miss their appointments. Long-term clients can access reports of their bookings and payment transactions through the calendar, which lets them easily keep track of their appointments with you.
This way your clients are happy because they can book themselves in without having to call or email first, and you save hours of time each month because you'll no longer have to input every booking into your appointment book. An automated booking calendar improves your efficiency in other ways, too. The automatic reminders feature, combined with pre-payment, means less time and money lost to no-shows.
The calendar system stores your clients' information in a searchable database, so you can quickly pull up any information you may need. No more flipping through a paper appointment book or searching through a spreadsheet just to find one client's phone number. A calendar with an integrated Skype "click to call" option lets you contact your clients directly through the calendar, meaning less time wasted searching through your Skype contacts to find the client you want to talk with.
How to You Can Get Started
Using a third-party provider lets you get your new booking calendar online in 10 minutes or less. It's just a matter of registering for an account and entering some basic data. From there, you can set your schedule, adjust time duration of your bookings, and block out your non-working days. If you have the same schedule each week, a few clicks lets you set that schedule for months ahead. You'll have the option of customizing the calendar with your company's logo, but that's not essential for getting started.
If you're tired of scheduling in each client individually, calculating timezone differences, and reminding your clients of their appointments, let your booking calendar do take care of it for you. By taking a few minutes to set up a online appointment calendar, you'll be saving yourself time and keeping your clients happy.
Sure-Fire Ways to Get More Global Bookings
Posted on 2012-05-14
Running a successful international online business takes serious promotion skills. To keep your booking calendar full, you'll need to use every advantage you can get. Attracting clients doesn't have to be complicated, though. With a little creative thinking, you can keep bookings coming in year 'round.
Network for Referrals
Networking can always give your business a boost, but business breakfasts and networking events aren't the only way to do it. Let your current clients know you're seeking more business and ask them to refer you to anyone who could use your services. To cast your net a little wider, look for ways to work with the online "influencers" in your market. Could you write a guest post for someone's blog or do an interview to get your name in front of their audience? Don't overlook forums, either. Choose just one or two forums and participate often enough to build relationships with people who might refer business to you.
Don't let your leads get away without at least having a consultation with you. If someone calls or emails with a question, instead of answering and forgetting, try to schedule them in for a quick consultation. Look at it this way: if you're a tutor and someone's contacted you about your services, it's safe to assume they're serious about hiring a tutor. The question is whether they'll hire you or someone else. Staying in touch with a prospective client may be the little extra that gets that person to skip the others and book with you.
Let Clients Book Themselves
If you're not using an online booking calendar, you're probably losing bookings. Some people just don't want to spend the few minutes it takes to call or email for an appointment. If they can't book with you online, they'll move on to another service provider. Setting up even a simple appointment calendar on your site helps you bring in more bookings. Automated booking calendars cut down on time-wasting no-shows, too. Because the calendar software sends your clients reminders before their appointments, they're less likely to forget to show up.
If you do business internationally, use a calendar designed to manage global reservations. These calendars show appointments in each user's own timezone so neither you nor your clients will have to calculate timezone differences.
Offer Discounts for Repeat Bookings
We all enjoy getting a good deal and like to know our loyalty is valued. Show your clients you appreciate their business by giving them a small discount when they book appointments in blocks. Just knowing they'll save a little cash can encourage your clients to book more than they might have otherwise. If your service doesn't lend itself to scheduling in advance, offer a discount after a specific number of appointments.
Creative networking, careful follow-up and strategic discounts can all help you attract more prospective clients. Just don't waste your efforts by making it harder than it should be for your clients to schedule appointments. Set up an online booking calendar on your website to let your clients schedule themselves in at their own convenience. You'll save time managing your global reservations and have happier clients, too.
Three Must-Have Website Features to Help You Book More Clients
Posted on 2012-05-14
What your website offers your visitors can significantly increase the number of global reservations your online business makes. Basic content is important, but it goes beyond engaging articles and a few well placed photos. Features like video, a mailing list and an easy-to-use booking calendar help you pull in new clients in a number of ways.
Video Entertains and Informs
Even if the text on your site is clear and well organized, not everyone's going to want to read through it all. Video feeds your visitor the essentials quickly, so you have a better chance of catching their interest and make a sale.
Video also encourages your readers to stay at your site longer, which means they have more time to consider your offer. What's more, by appearing in videos, you build trust in your prospective clients. They can see and hear the real you instead of just something you wrote. Your videos don't have to be anything complicated--promotions, product demonstrations, and tutorials can all work.
A Mailing List Helps You Build Relationships
A mailing list lets you stay in touch with people who've visited your website, giving you more chances to sell to them. It can help you better understand you clients' needs, too. Periodically poll your list about what kind of services they want and you can offer those services confident they'll sell. When business is slow, offer your list discounts or special services to drum up bookings. By using a third-party mailing list host, you can have your mailing list up in less than 30 minutes. Few people are willing to give out their email address for nothing, though. To encourage sign-ups, offer something in exchange, like a short ebook, multiple-part training course or coupon.
A Booking Calendar Add Convenience
Any unnecessary step in the booking process can cost you clients. If your prospective clients have to call or email to make reservations, they may put it off simply because they don't feel like doing it right then. Once they leave your site, there's a good chance they'll forget all about you. A booking calendar on your website lets clients schedule themselves in and even pay as soon as they decide they want your service. When booking is so easy, prospective clients will be more likely to take action immediately. If you do business worldwide, use a calendar specially designed for global reservations to eliminate confusion over timezones. With these calendars, your clients see their own local times when they make the bookings and you see the bookings in your local time. With a third-party calendar, you can easily set up your business' online global reservations calendar today.
Quality writing and images are the foundation of your website, but if your market is even slightly competitive, it'll take more to get extra edge. Because a booking calendar is so useful to both you and your clients, it should be one of the first features you add to your site. After this, look into setting up a mailing list and adding videos to build a better rapport with your visitors and convert more casual readers into long-term clients.
Today's Instant Video Meetings Make Time Zone Management More Important than Ever
Posted on 2012-05-14
One of modern technology's greatest benefits is that it allows people in different parts of the wold to communicate as if they were in the same room. With instant video meetings, you can get your whole team together in a matter of minutes, talk "face to face" and exchange documents in real time. It's simple with a local team, but when the people you want to meet with are scattered around the globe, things get a little more complicated.
Be Prepared for More Instant Meetings
Video conferencing wasn't always as quick and easy as it is now. Not long ago, using video conferencing software required special training and setting up a meeting could take up to 20 minutes. Today's cheap, user-friendly systems like Skype put instant video meetings in reach of even the most technophobic person. Because they're so easy to set up, video meetings are becoming as common as phone calls.
The great part of that is that when you or someone on your work team runs into a problem, you can easily pull everyone together for some quick collaboration. Ten minutes later your problem's solved and you're making progress again. The flip side is the easier these meetings are, the more common they'll be. These days you need to be ready to work with people in other parts of the world at a moment's notice.
Why Time Zones Matter More Than You Think
When you email or call one person, knowing their time zone isn't critical. They'll get your email or voicemail eventually. It's different when you've been invited to meet live with someone on another continent. Get the time wrong and at best you might have to drop what you're doing to to log in. At worst, you'll be out of the office and completely miss the meeting.
If you're the one organizing the meeting, trying to calculate what time everyone should be online is more than an inconvenience. It also increases the chance you'll give someone the wrong time or schedule a meeting when it's 2 a.m. for one of the participants. Online programs that calculate time zone differences help, but they don't eliminate the risk of human error. And what happens when your team members travel frequently? You may not even know exactly what time zone they're in at any given moment.
Time Zones Made Easy
Scheduling international meetings is always a little tricky, but with the right software, keeping your time zones straight is the easy part. Instead of counting backwards and forwards trying to work out the meeting time for everyone involved, let your scheduling software do it for you. Timely Booking, an appointment calendar designed for global reservations, is an affordable way to do just that. This online scheduling system shows each person's appointment time in the local time no matter where they are. Timely Booking accounts for Daylight Savings Time, too. Your scheduling will never end up an hour off because you forgot about the time change or you didn't know which regions observe the change.
With instant video meetings now nearly as common as phone calls, staying on top of time zone differences is a must. Make it easy on yourself by using a scheduling system that handles the figuring for you. You'll save time planning meetings and have fewer scheduling errors, too.
Keep Your Business Running Smoothly with Timely Booking's Content Management Features
Posted on 2012-05-14
The increase in people looking to learn online is opening up a worldwide market for teachers and tutors. Whether you tutor a language, math or even music, you can help people develop new skills without ever leaving home. Another advtange tutoring online has over in-person tutoring is how easy it is to stay organized when you have the right systems in place.
Get Organized the Easy Way
When you're working with a full-time load of students, keeping everyone's data organized becomes a job in itself. If you're used to in-person tutoring, you're probably keeping a hard copy file for each student, complete with contact information, payment records and notes on each lesson. That works in person because you naturally update your file at the end of each lesson when you already have your papers out. When you're teaching over Skype, though, it's easy to leave your paper file in a corner somewhere and forget to update it. Instead of dividing your attention between online teaching and offline files, try Timely Booking's content management features to keep everything in one place.
Keep Tabs on Payments
Timely Booking's ability to produce clear, accurate payment records can save you from awkward misunderstandings. Suppose a student logs in for a lesson you don't remember her paying for. Your student insists she paid, but you're not quite sure. If you're only using PayPal, you can't confirm the payment until you hunt through your PayPal records, find the student's last transaction and compare the amount to the number of lessons she's taken. In the meantime, you may wonder if your student's looking to sneak in a free lesson and she may think you're trying to get an extra payment. Timely Booking prevents issues like that. With Timely Booking, you'll be able to check your students' payment records online in seconds. You'll look more professional and keep the good rapport you have with your students.
Avoid Cancelation Confusion
If you've been tutoring for long, you know how frustrating cancelation mix-ups can be. Your student thinks he canceled by phone, but you're sure you never got the call. Even if you have a late-cancelation policy, you may be hesitant to enforce it when you're students are positive they canceled within the allowed time. That means if you waited around on Skype for your student to show up, you're now out the payment for your time. With Timely Booking, your students book their own lessons and pay in advance through the booking system. There's never any doubt as to whether or not a student has booked, paid or canceled.
Get Accounting Records in Seconds
Sometimes good organization won't mean much for your students, but it's critical for your business. Accounting is one of those times. If you're self-employed, you'll need to do your accounts at the end of each month. Keeping everything in separate paper files means you'll need to go through each student's file and add up the total payments. A computer spreadsheet might make things a little easier, but it will still be tedious work. When you use Timely Booking, though, you can create easy-to-read reports of student bookings and payment transactions. That may not make accounting loads of fun, but it could save you hours every month.
The old pen-and-paper ways of tracking your students just don't cut it when you're working online with people around the world. For efficient, reliable content management, you'll need a system designed especially for online tutors. Timely Booking gives you just that at a price even a one-person shop can afford.
Timely Booking: a One-Stop Solution for Skype Schools Worldwide
Posted on 2012-05-14
As one of the most popular video meeting platforms online, Skype has had a major hand in the rise of online teaching. With Skype, you and your students get a fully interactive, virtual online classroom at no cost. As great as Skype is for teaching, though, it doesn't help much with the administrative end of running an online school. You'll still need a way to take care of scheduling, payments and data management. As scheduling system designed especially for schools, Timely Booking handles all that for you.
Solve Your Scheduling Problems
If you're teaching full time, well organized scheduling is essential for keeping everything running smoothly. Putting up a static webpage with your weekly schedule may seem like a simple solution, but it's likely to cost more time than it saves. Your prospective students will have to contact you to book and it could take several emails to find a time that works for both you. Every time someone books or cancels, you'll have to go in and manually update your calendar. Both those tasks are completely unnecessary drains on your time.
With an automated online calendar like Timely Booking, your students check your schedule and book the time they want without ever having to call or email you. The calendar updates instantly after each booking, so your students always get an accurate view of your schedule and you're free from tedious manual updates.
Timely Booking also displays times in the viewer's local time zone. You see your schedule in your time zone and your students see it in theirs no matter where they happen to live. That saves both of you from having to figure out the differences and reduces the risk of scheduling mix-ups.
Payments are Easy, Too
When you teach in person, accepting cash payment and keeping signed paper records is enough. Online neither of those are options. PayPal's useful, but it's not well suited to tutoring services. It's easy enough to set up payment buttons for blocks of lessons, but those blocks may not always be what your students what. Discounts and coupons aren't easily managed with PayPal, either.
Timely Booking integrates easily with PayPal, but it also does what PayPal can't. The Timely Booking calendar lets your students book any number of lessons you allow. You'll also be able to set up package discounts and loyalty discounts based on how many lessons a student has taken. When all your students book this way, you won't have to worry about calculating discounts for each person, invoicing or waiting for a payment after you send that invoice. The entire booking and payment process is hands free. Your students book themselves in and you get an email letting you know the lessons are already booked and paid for.
An online school gives you a lot of things to keep track of, but you don't need separate software for scheduling, payments and managing students' data. Timely Booking gives you a one-stop solution for managing all of it. It's good for business, too. The easier you make it for your students to work with you, the more students you'll sign up. Simplify your scheduling system with Timely Booking and spend more time on the things that really matter to your Skype school.
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