To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Leverage: Get More Time, Money and Clients,” by Shelene Taylor, in the April 2013 issue. Article summary: In the massage profession, most of us follow the traditional business model of trading dollars for hours. The tricky thing is, this model takes a toll on our bodies, as massage therapy is a physically intensive type of calling—so integrating leverage is a smart thing to do for your sustainability and success.

Use Online Scheduling to Improve Time Management, MASSAGE Magazine

One aspect that makes massage therapy such a desirable career is the opportunity to work for oneself. This presents the freedom to manage your own hours and workspace, but it also adds pressure of having to run a business. This makes time management a crucial skill to master.

While you want to maximize the time you spend with clients and billing hours, you need to take time out every day to dedicate toward the day-to-day business tasks that help grow your business. Finding time for both clients and office administration can be a real challenge, but tools like online appointment scheduling can help reduce the time you spend running your business to dedicate more time to your valuable clients.

Online appointment scheduling means your current and potential clients can visit your website to see your availability and book directly online. While clients love booking online because they can book an appointment at their own convenience and avoid having to play the “Does this time work for you?” game, the real benefit is to you: If your clients are booking online, you don’t have to worry about missed calls and missed opportunities while you are with a client. Plus, if your office closes at 5 p.m., your online appointment scheduler stays open—so you’re booking appointments 24/7.

The transition to online scheduling is often accompanied by switching to e-mail as your main form of client communication. There are some massage clinics that make time to remind their clients of upcoming appointments over the phone. While it’s a great strategy to help prevent revenue loss from no-shows, it typically takes up to an hour per day. That’s an hour each day that’s taken away from massage, an hour that can be worth $50 to $100.

With each hour being so valuable, it’s no surprise most massage therapists can’t afford to take on additional business-growing strategies like keeping track of which clients haven’t visited in a while. Since a lost client can mean a loss of up to thousands of dollars over time, keeping track of who is due for a follow-up appointment is crucial for business success. An additional benefit of upgrading your business to online appointment scheduling is your scheduler will automatically track who is due for their next appointment and e-mail them reminders to book their next appointment soon—and to book it online—so your clients come back regularly.

This is just a quick glimpse into the time-saving benefits of online appointment scheduling. Once you account for marketing, sales, administration and accounting, it is evident managing your business can quickly take up more than half your day, leaving you with little massage time. This highlights the importance of using online appointment-scheduling software to help free up your time to spend with clients.

Daniel Ruscigno is the co-founder of PatientCal Online Appointment Scheduling (www.patientcal.com). PatientCal offers software designed to help those in the health care industry manage their business so they can spend more time caring for clients.

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