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4 Steps to Turn Your Online Business Dream into Reality

4 Steps to Turn Your Online Business Dream into Reality

“I could have thought of that.”

I’m sure we’ve all had this thought at one time or another. It seems like “the next big thing” changes on a near monthly basis. Many of these ideas are based on pretty simple principles, and yet their popularity turns the minds behind them into billionaires seemingly overnight. Maybe you have an idea of your own. But how can you take this idea and turn it into a business?

You might think that the first step is to build your app or website, but there are a few key steps to take before you start work. You need to understand the market, and make sure that your idea is something that people actually need. If you follow these four simple steps, you’ll be able to kick start your entrepreneurial journey and turn your idea into a fully-fledged business.

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Step 1: Find Your Users

What do people do when they’re looking for something on the internet? They turn to google! Do you know that google actually tracks all of these searches, and you can tap into this data to find out what consumers are looking for online? Check out the google keyword tool. You can access it by logging into Google AdWords, clicking ‘tools and analysis,’ followed by ‘keyword planner.’ Google has prepared a helpful guide to help you get started.

Here, you can type in any search term and find out how many people are using that search every month. Let’s say, for example, you want to create an app that lets people keep track of their work schedule. You might find that a couple of thousand people are searching for “work schedule planner” every month. Then you might also discover that, hundreds of thousands of people are searching for “gym schedule planner.”

This is just an example, but doing your keyword research tells you what your users are looking for. This is an opportunity for you to pivot and make sure that your product lines up with customer needs. Keyword research is so important that many web development companies now start with it before they begin work on your website, which is something new we’re seeing in this space.

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Step 2: Design Your Product

Now that you know exactly what your future users are looking for, it’s time to plan out your product. How is it going to work? Remember to think about what problem people are trying to solve. If you want your online business to take off, you need to find the most effective way to solve that problem. Keep working on this step until you’re certain that your idea is the best solution out there. Don’t focus on things like trying to build the next Facebook. Your goal should be to build something that improves the way friends communicate with each other. Rushing this part of the process can lead to a product that is sub-par, and result in your business never getting off the ground.

Step 3: Build Your Product

Finally, you can start turning your concept into something tangible. Remember to focus on the core concepts you developed in step two. You know what consumers need, and you have a plan that will eventually meet those needs. Seeing your idea come to life can be inspiring.

It may seem easy to come up with, what appears to be, a few simple tweaks or features that will make your product even better. But these things can take the focus away from what you are trying to build, and cause development costs to spin out of control.

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Step 4: Promote Yourself

Finally, you’re ready to launch. It’s time to connect with users and get your idea out there. Make sure you take advantage of social media channels. Set up a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even a LinkedIn. Make a place where users can talk about the problems that you’ve solved with your product. For example, if you build the gym scheduling app, create a Facebook group where people can share their workout routines. Show them how easy it is to track their progress with your app. Remember, the goal is not just to reach as many people as possible. You want to reach the right people. Find avenues where you can start a dialog with people who might be interested in your product.

Social media can get you started, but once you are making money, you will also want to talk to an SEO firm. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. These companies can analyze consumer behavio, and modify your website so that people can find you on Google.

Enjoy The Ride

Marlon Wayans once said “Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on.

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If you start your business focused solely on the money, you’re unlikely to succeed. As long as you come to work every day feeling inspired, you’ll be able to make positive changes in the world. Being an entrepreneur is not just about the numbers, it’s about looking for ways to improve the lives of others.

If you can be the one to drive this change, consumers will rely on you to make their lives easier. And that’s exactly what makes online businesses go viral.

Featured photo credit: Maryland GovPics via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

Internet Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

1. ScheduleOnce

    ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

    ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

    ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

    Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

    Available on Web

    2. Calendly

      Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

      You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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      Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

      3. Assistant.to

        For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

        From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

        While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

        Available on Web

        4. Acuityscheduling

          Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

          It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

          Available on Web | iOS | Android

          5. Pick

            Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

            At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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            Available on Web

            6. X.ai

              For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

              This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

              Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

              Available on Web

              7. YouCanBook.me

                is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                Available on Web

                8. Doodle

                  Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                  It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                  You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                  While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                  Available on Web | iOS | Android

                  9. WhenAvailable

                    WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                    Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                    Available on Web

                    10. Rally

                      Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                      Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                      Available on Web

                      11. NeedtoMeet

                        Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                        NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                        While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                        Available on Web

                        Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                        In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                        To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                        Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                        A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                        Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                        If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                        Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                        With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                        The Bottom Line

                        Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                        Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                        Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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