Back Office Secrets
with Jenny Shih

Back Office Secrets: Time-Saving Business Systems for Booking New Clients

Whether you’re brand new to business or have been growing an empire for the past decade, you’ve likely noticed that each step toward greater success comes with a new set of time-sucking challenges.

The more your business grows, the more tasks that gather on your plate. You find yourself dealing with the day-to-day aspects of running a business plus the big projects that are helping your business grow even more.

As heftier demands start to clog up your schedule, overwhelm can put a serious damper on the joy of success. You start to resent all that you’ve created. The day-to-day tasks of running your business become something you loathe instead of something that lights you up.

Many entrepreneurs find themselves faced with this glaring problem: there is an increasing amount of work to do and a decreasing amount of time in which to do it. Even if you have a skilled assistant or a team that helps run your business, the bigger your business gets, the more those to-do items continue to add up and the faster your time seems to disappear.

Escaping the Time-Sucking Vortex

The way to escape this time-sucking vortex is through streamlining your business and implementing systems. Systems will help you get more done in less time, saving your sanity and your team’s sanity.

Systems are what make your business more efficient, and efficiency is the key to getting more done in less time. Systems also ensure you don’t miss critical details that could cost you clients, cash, and success.

Your client booking process is one essential, often-ignored aspect of your business that could use an efficiency overhaul. It’s simple to create and can yield huge time and stress savings.

I’ve honed a great technique for streamlining the way you take on new clients, and I am going to share the detailed know-how with you right now.

Quick n’ Painless Client Bookings: How to Do It

Booking clients is one of those tasks you regularly repeat, so having a hassle-free system is going to save you from major headaches and tons wasted time.

Step 1. Make it easy for prospects to schedule a consultation.

Sign up for and use an online scheduler. I like Acuity Scheduling, but Time Trade, Genbook, and others are equally effective. Invite prospects to use the calendar to schedule their consultation. This avoids the annoyance of back-and-forth email scheduling, one of the biggest time wasters for service-based business owners.

Step 2. Gather the information you’ll need from your prospect. Automate this process as much as possible.

What information do you want to know about your potential client before you speak with them? Craft questions to send to your prospects to answer before your consultation. These should be templated questions that you can use for everyone, so all you have to do is send the prospect them a copy-and-paste email once you see they’ve booked a consult.

Step 3. Prepare for the consultation.

Review all the information your prospect has sent you. If you have a consult checklist, review that, too.

Step 4. Consult!

Do your thing. If you’ve been doing this awhile, you likely have your consultation process down pat by now.

Step 5. Invoice them immediately.

Once your prospect has agreed to work with you, invoice them immediately. You can send a payment request using PayPal or Freshbooks, or even better, you can take their credit card number right over the phone.

Step 6. Once payment clears, send over their “new client packet.”

Now that you have a new client on board, make sure they have all the information they need to know about working with you. Create a “new client packet” that you can email to your new client. This should be something you can easily use over and over for each client without having to make any manual changes.

You’ll want to include things like…

  • scheduling and cancellation policies
  • payment and refund policies
  • what to expect during the process of working with you
  • prep work or other materials they should complete before your work begins
  • any relevant additional information they may need from you

Step 7. Get rolling with your new client.

Now it’s time to do what you do do best. Enjoy your new client!

The Bottom Line

A streamlined business is a happy business.

For all of the frequently repeated processes in your business, you can guarantee a time and stress savings if you create systems that are repeatable and as hands-off as possible. It will free up your time to do the next big thing you’re dying to do and save you from the headaches of the daily grind.

Every entrepreneur deserves to spend more time doing what they love in their business and less time in the mundane, time-consuming details… you included.

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About Jenny Shih

Jenny Shih of jennyshih.com is a coach and consultant for small business owners. Her clients are “idea factories” with growing businesses who need help planning, strategizing, streamlining and systematizing. She helps new entrepreneurs define their niche, learn the basics of marketing, and start making money. And she helps experienced entrepreneurs set up systems so they can get out of the daily grind and spend more time doing what they love.

Jenny is the author of The System Flight Kit, everything you need to create effective systems in your business, and The Idea Flight Kit, a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into something real. Download your copies right here. They’re FREE!

Comments

  1. Fantastic checklist, Jenny! Sometimes, particularly at the beginning stages of a business, all these steps can seem overwhelming. The way you laid everything out made it feel much easier and more doable. Thank you!

    • Jenny Shih says:

      I’m so glad you found it helpful, Claudia! That was my whole point. It is overwhelming for a newbie and it doesn’t have to be… just need a simple system to make it happen, step by step!

  2. Clear, efficient steps to get us started — thank you! I am giving Satori a spin for scheduling; I love the idea of not having to engage in email back-and-forth to set up and switch around appointments!

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Email back and forths are one of my biggest pet peeves! They scream wasted time.

      I have checked out Satori–it looks like a great option. I haven’t made the switch because my system works well right now with Acuity. The key is to find a scheduler that works for you and your style.

  3. I am a huge fan of Acuity, too. I agree with letting an online scheduler show my availability and then let the client fit what works for them….Brilliant. Foolproof. Easy. And is something that can be totally systematized. *Such* a time free-er-up-er (is that a word?) Technology rocks when we use it effectively & efficiently. Keep em coming, Jenny! Love what you give to the world.

    • Jenny Shih says:

      I totally think that time free-er-up-er is a word. :-)

      Yes, technology can be your friend when used effectively and efficiently. However, it’s a dangerous trap that some people can fall into, over-using technology and complicating things more than necessary. But online schedulers are a no-brainer!

  4. This was exactly what I needed. One of my biggest goals is to make my business as automated and streamlined as possible. Thanks, Jenny!

    • Jenny Shih says:

      So glad I could help, Jenna!

      The System Flight Kit (see link to download above) is also there to help you implement more systems in your business. Business doesn’t have to be so hard. Systems are your friend!

  5. I just went and created a brand spanking new client packet. I had everything in separate files before and this post just inspired me to put it all in one place! Thanks for reminding me to do this!

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Awesome, Alycia! The simpler you can make it, the more successful you’ll be in using it. Glad I could help!

  6. Jenny!

    I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but you were the person who got me to start using an online scheduling system. Now, I can’t imagine how I would do things without it. Thank you for these other great tips =)

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Can you tell I’m an online scheduler fan? Glad to have converted you, too, Ashley!! They’re one of the smartest things a business owner can use!

  7. Wow, this is incredibly helpful. I love tip number 2 as well as all the info to include in your new client packet. Thanks, Jenny!

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Glad it helps, Adrianne! I love Step #2, too. It really helps me prepare for my consults and focus on connecting with the potential client when we actually talk, because I already have some of the details captured. And the new client packets make sure we’re both on the same page about policies, scheduling, and getting the results they desire.

  8. oooh! thank you. I don’t have a new client packet in place. It’s on my list now and I’ve bookmarked and tweeted this page. Great info.

    • Jenny Shih says:

      Thanks for tweeting, Christine! The great part about new client packets is that you just have to create it once and can use it over and over. They really help your new client feel like they know what’s going to happen in working with you, which calms any fears they have and gets them excited about your work together.

  9. Great post, Jenny! I never thought about number 2 before so this is super useful for me. Thanks to you i already implemented the online scheduler and absolutely love it! Look forward to more of your posts on LKR :)

    • Jenny Shih says:

      So happy to hear this helped you! I’m looking forward to posting more “Back Office Secrets” here as well!

  10. This is awesome advice, Jenny. I have to bookmark this article so that I can check off each one as I go. Thanks!