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Online Booking from the Beginning (starting as you mean to on)

Amie Parnaby
12/07/2022
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Online booking from the beginning

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Nothing screams professionalism than starting from the beginning with a professional-looking website and online booking system. Even if you’re starting a beauty business in your spare time, strict and dedicated scheduling will make you look and act like the professional you are – or at least plan to be. By implementing online booking from the beginning, you cut down on many time-consuming tasks and ensure your clients know what they need to do from the first appointment.

Many people just starting their new beauty business venture think they don’t need all the bells and whistles other companies have picked up over time. However, rather than hedging your bets, you should start as you mean to continue. Luckily for our users, the Simplybook.me system is scalable from the smallest, most basic business use to large enterprises and widespread franchises – with a reasonable subscription price for any business size.

From the Beginning – What you can use to help your business

Even with the most basic version of Simplybook.me, you get access to a core scheduling system that allows you to accept online bookings. In addition to that, you have 50 appointments, a customisable booking website, email reminders, reporting, and an easy-to-use interface.

With these features, you can do so much when starting your business and showing your clientele you are here to stay.

Providing a Professional Face

Nothing says to your customers that you are here to stay like a professional and beautiful website. The appearance of making a massive effort to create a professional and beautiful public face for your business makes people feel more secure about doing business with you. 

While some businesses have grown with only social media pages, websites tend to have more information and functionality than a social media profile. Although technically, you can include online booking through some social pages, you still need a booking software subscription for it to work correctly.

I know how I feel about companies with only a social profile for their business, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I feel like they don’t have confidence in their own company to sustain itself. It’s even worse when they list a “website address”, and it takes you to an unfinished or unavailable webpage. It makes potential clients feel you might be untrustworthy or going out of business (rather than starting up).

Online booking early in your business journey is a step to proving yourself. Even in established businesses, if they want to keep their business going strong, they have had to introduce it. 

Branding

How do you differentiate your new business from all of those around you? Even if you aren’t in a saturated market, there will always be competition, and you will need to create a logo, look, style, and experience that is yours alone. 

Do you even have a logo? What about a tagline? 

Showing a professional face is all good, but it also needs to be a face that people automatically equate with you and your beauty services. You need to be able to show your branding in all your interactions with your new clients.

Organisation & Business Management

How you organise your business and your time will depend on your resources.

Some start-ups begin with a spreadsheet and a mobile phone full of contacts. While it works short-term, it’s no way to start a professional business. How do you manage your time, finances, resources, clients, and marketing? 

Let’s not kid ourselves. Managing a new business requires a lot of organisation because you have to do everything yourself initially. 

It would be best if you had the tools and resources to manage your time, payments, clients, bookings, contact information, marketing drives, and communication channels.

Using online booking from the very beginning allows you to take the strain off yourself and spend more time offering your services to clients. Not only that, but your customer experience improves because you don’t have to keep checking your phone for messages and emails.

Structure

You can be as flexible as you like to attract the clients you want to build your business, but it is not sustainable. 

If you start your business as a side gig or a part-time venture, offering your services at odd evening or morning hours might be tempting. That could really attract some clients who have unusual schedules. However, there is a reason that most salons, stylists and beauticians don’t offer appointments at 6:00 am or 11:00 pm. Most people don’t want services at that time, and burning the candle at both ends will end up with you burning out. That’s not good for your business or you.

Defining your availability with online booking and strictly setting out your availability, you don’t allow people to call and talk you into a late-night session or an early morning one for a busy day ahead.

Define your availability, with open and closed hours. Be accommodating but not self-sacrificing.

Ensure you don’t get too many online bookings that will cause you any harm. If you offer massage, ensure you don’t get four full-body massages one after the other. They can be hard on the body when you don’t get a break between them.

You can ensure that your massages are booked with at least half an hour between or set buffer time to allow you to rest. However, it would be better to see if you could squeeze something else in to enable you to get more online bookings.

The structure will also make people respect your time. Defining your time, terms, prices, and processes will make people appreciate you.

Reporting

As you gain more clients and bookings, you need to know what is working and what’s not. Do you need to adjust your available times to maximise exposure? Maybe you aren’t marketing your services appropriately. 

Sure, you get plenty of people asking for a facial or a massage, but no one seems to want your makeup or permanent lash services. 

Is it your marketing, or are you targeting the wrong crowd of people? 

A system that will allow you to analyse your business performance, tell you which are your most popular services and when you are most busy, will help you determine what you need to do next. 

Online booking will allow you to collect that data and turn it into valuable information to help you develop your business in the right direction.

What will you do next to grow your beauty business? What will push things forward to the next level?

Online Booking as Your Beauty Business Grows

You will probably need more from your online booking system as you work towards your beauty business development. It’s perfectly natural for your business needs to increase as your company grows. It would be strange if they didn’t.

Your online booking needs will change because you will need more of them (at least that’s the plan), and your management needs will increase too. Whereas you might not have taken online payments before, you might find it’s necessary to ensure you are protected from no-shows and late cancellations.

You must have an online booking system that grows with you rather than causing you more problems by having to switch every time your needs increase.

Maybe you need to request more information from your clients to improve your services or protect you from lawsuits due to allergic reactions. Do you want to add more services? Maybe you want to engage more people in your beauty business so you can provide extra services and share the load.

Online Booking With SimplyBook.me

From the beginning, with Simplybook.me, you can have a functional online booking website that you can customise for your needs. Your colours, branding, logo, and even the flow and feel of the booking website are up for customising.

Sure, you only start out with 50 bookings and one paid custom feature. It doesn’t sound like a lot. However, of over 60 custom features on Simplybook.me, eleven of them are free to use without adding to your feature count in your subscription. So you can use HTML description fields and Custome CSS to create just the right look for your booking website. There are several security features, including Google authenticator, password security setting, SSL, T&Cs, and a cancellation policy. Beyond security and design, you can also add your booking site to Google my Business (and reserve too if you’re in the right regions) and use Telegram as a method of communication.

You also get another customer feature of your choice – it’s the free version; we can’t give EVERYTHING away.

If you find you need more functions, the next subscription level will not break the bank and will provide you with 100 bookings and up to three extra custom features.

Some of the most popular “extra” custom features (not the freebies) for the free and basic packages are:

  • Accepting Payments online through one of our many payment provider partners,
  • Intake Forms for gathering client data,
  • Calendar Sync (with Outlook web and Gmail) so you don’t get your calendars confused.
  • Facebook & Instagram Integration – social media is a powerful marketing tool.
  • Photogallery – particularly for sharing the visual results of your services.

It’s up to you to decide which would benefit you and enhance your business.

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