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Business Hack: Why I Switched to Acuity [B16.co]

It’s the last quarter of the year and here’s a scheduling tool that I ended up using after I looked and looked for an alternative to Vcita. If Basecamp, was the best decision that I made last year, this might be the #1 decision for this year. Full disclosure, I’m a “techy” but even if you don’t use it to the degree that I do, you can still get a lot of benefits.

So what is Acuity?

Simply defined, Acuity is a scheduling app that allows you to send a link and have another person schedule and book an appointment based on your availability. It has a tremendous about of integration with other tools that I feel I’ve just scratched the surface with and ultimately why I selected this platform. As their site says, “Acuity Scheduling is your online assistant, working 24/7 to fill your schedule.”

What did I need help with?

Time. I think to be able to automate as much as possible and book a time to connect without having to do the back and forth e-mails is huge. I also use it because I often would forget to put meetings on my calendar OR double book myself. I had a virtual assistant for a while (Ashley) work on this but still it wasn’t as efficient as I would hope largely because it wasn’t just me that was busy juggling a lot. It often was also the person I tried to connect with.

Integration. Another big thing that I looked for was integration. As you heard from the audio above, I use it to integrate with a slew of other tools that I use.

Not be limited by contacts. The real reason I left VCita was because I had a cap on the number of contacts. I set up a of intro calls and connection (sometimes 20+ per week) so I usually am on the go and have a lot of contacts throughout the year. Having a cap on the number of contacts was what sparked the change.

How do I use Acuity?

Acuity has been a huge gamechanger for me. I usually just send out my scheduling link and it integrates automatically with my Google Calender where I put everything. I have my time blocks–e-mail checking, gym, etc.–already on my calendar so someone can just book at any time without the back and forth e-mails.

I use it to set up my podcast interviews, to schedule face-to-face meetings “coffee chats (I book a time before we even coordinate a place–this was a hack within a hack that took a little more time to set up),” to book client appointments, to set up marketing consultations and more. The big thing is that I have different links for different purposes. Some are available and have set time restrictions while others are public and visible from my master list. I remember most of them because I use another PrettyLink (WordPress plugin) to make it a vanity link (e.g. http://progreshion.com/introcall).

Another big note: Because I used PrettyLink, it made the transfer from Vcita to Acuity seamless. I never send my direct acuity link and didn’t really send my direct Vcita link. I would send my vanity link so I was able to go through and update it without any lost traction.

It also integrates with Zoom (podcast interviews), conference call (intro calls), Freshbooks (invoicing), MailChimp (CBNation e-mail newsletter), Constant Contact (Blue 16 Media e-mail newsletter), Insightly (CRM). It also can integrate with my websites but I just haven’t set that up yet.

Check out this Podcast Guest & Acuity Scenario:

  1. We send an e-mail to someone that we’ve “cyber-stalked” or researched and think would be a great guest on the podcast. We send out an e-mail to them and give them some info about the podcast and ask if there’s any interest.
  2. If there’s interest, I send more details and a public link to book a time to chat about the podcast.
  3. Once they complete a form, they receive a link to a conference call number (Free Conference Call) and I do as well and the time (according to my time zone and their time zone) we will chat. It’s sent via e-mail but after they book a time, they can immediately download it to their calendar (e.g. ical, google, etc). This also creates a contact in Insightly. If they said yes to receiving the CBNation.co e-mail (Mailchimp) they are added to the e-mail list and/or if they said yes to receiving the Blue 16 Media e-mail (Constant Contact) they are added to the e-mail list. It also creates a contact in Freshbooks if they become a client down the line. NOTE: They have invoicing options but I don’t use them.
  4. We have a good intro call and they’re interested in being on the show. NOTE: If during this call, I wanted to schedule a followup, I can go right into acuity and it would ask me if I wanted to schedule a followup with that person.
  5. I send the questions, breakdown and a form to fill out for them to be on the show.
  6. Once they hit submit on the form, they go to a private scheduling link to book the time for the interview. They receive another invitation with the time and this time a link for the interview (Zoom).

Just booking the initial call would have taken years in the past and the thought of manually adding a person to e-mail list would have made my eyes pop out of my sockets. This means a huge time-saver.

How has it helped our business?

  • Time = money. It’s so important to be able to leverage 24 hours in a day to be as efficient and effective as possible. This has hands down been one of my best finds this year. There’s no way I would probably have been able to ramp up my podcast the way that I have if I didn’t have this process in place.
  • Time Zone Differences. Trying to do the math for different time zones is not one of my favorite things to figure out. Especially for the podcast, it has been a way for me to skip that step and allow the person to book according to their preference and their time zone.
  • Integration. Did I mention integration with different tools that I use? Please see above.

If you want to test-drive Acuity, check out this link HERE, also check out other tools that I use and sign up to become a member of B16.co where we help solve some of your business problems. Let me know if you use Acuity below. 

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Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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