Sagenda Launched Its Calendar View – Here’s How It Works

Sagenda Launched Its Calendar View – Here’s How It Works

The calendar view is now available for all Sagenda users. All you need to do is log in to your Sagenda account or use the latest Sagenda WordPress plugin.

Responsive Design Suitable for a Multimedia Experience

Online booking requires a multimedia experience since clients are using at least three different devices in order to complete bookings: desktops, tablets and smartphones. According to a Phocuswright survey, nearly one quarter of online bookings are made on mobile devices across Europe indicating the importance of adapting ecommerce to mobile browsers. From your Sagenda dashboard, click on the front office menu to access the calendar view available for desktop and mobile devices. Sagenda’s calendar is 100% based on JavaScript and all operations are performed without reloading the browser page in order to deliver an improved used experience.

Online Booking Made Easy and Effective

Thanks to its calendar view, Sagenda streamlines decision-making processes for clients: from now on, you may have a permanently available overview of services. All they need to do is select one or more bookable items and click on the corresponding dates to access the booking request form. More transparency ensures higher occupancy rates! Whether your clients are early bookers or like last minute deals, Sagenda allows you to offer a varied and customized client experience. Don’t forget SMS and email reminders to avoid no-shows!

Make the most of this calendar view to organize your online bookings pending future Sagenda features!

Upgraded Sagenda Module for Advanced Email Customization

Upgraded Sagenda Module for Advanced Email Customization

Media fragmentation requires a whole new level of client customization. Besides customized SMS notifications, Sagenda allows you to set up email reminders for your events. In the social media age, email is very much alive being used by 95% of consumers, including on mobile devices. All the more reasons for making it count in your marketing mix!

Email Marketing Is Not Dead

According to a McKinsey survey, 82% of consumers expect personalized and relevant experiences being frustrated by spam content. In this case, the recipients of emailed notifications know their sender, which means your email open rate will be high. Besides, clients who made bookings or appointments are extremely interested in getting notifications in order not to miss booked services.

Advanced Email Customization to Reduce No-Shows

Customized emails will not end up in junk folders. On the contrary, it enables you to control client communication. The more you customize your email, the higher your email open rate. All you need is creativity in reminding your clients the importance of not missing the bookings they made on your website. Don’t forget to provide useful, but short information! To be effective, you are now able to select multiple reminders sent a few hours or days ahead of bookings to reduce no-shows.

Cross-Channel Notifications: Email and SMS

Since this feature is already enabled for SMS notifications, it’s only logical for Sagenda to make it available for email, too. You may now strengthen your relationship marketing through personalized content via two different communications channels. In order to enable this module, log in to your Sagenda account and choose the plan that best fits your needs.

Sagenda’s advanced email customization is a feature sponsored by the city of Austin, Texas, to which we would like to extend our warmest thanks.

Sagenda strengthens its optimization and customization features

Sagenda strengthens its optimization and customization features

Each season, our team updates Sagenda online booking software with new features: website optimization, easy-to-use editing functions and updated settings! We’ve spared no effort to improve client experience and boost your online business. Here are a couple of useful and essential features you need to reach your goals.

Sagenda.net web optimization

There’s nothing more annoying than a slow website to alienate users! Specifically, we’ve listened to your feedback and performed a set of optimizations to speed up our website load time. On average, pages now load twice as fast as before.

Easy-to-use editing

From now on, it’s easier to update your bookable items as well as your event patterns. Just open your “bookable items list” to edit or delete a booking service. For instance, if you want to delete a bookable item, all related bookings will be automatically deleted. Additionally, you may now update your event patterns even if there are ongoing bookings. This level of flexibility is useful to business owners who need to constantly update their service list.

Customized front-end

Sagenda settings offer you a high degree of customization for online booking services. All you need to do is go to your Account Settings and replace “bookable items” with a customized text or simply add comments which will be displayed by the front-end search form. You also have the option of adding a default service or your company’s logo. For a full user experience, you may think of customizing fonts, background or button colors.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) Subscription

Last but not least, from now on, you have the possibility of subscribing to our service level agreement. Choose between a basic (SLA Pro License) and an advanced (SLA Enterprise License) service level plan. Check out your Account Modules and pick the option that best suits you!

To be continued…

The best is yet to come. Or, as Francis Cabrel would say, “It goes on and on. This is just the beginning.”

Stay tuned, we’ve got a lot more surprises in store for you!

Sagenda Is Beta Testing Its WordPress Calendar View

Sagenda Is Beta Testing Its WordPress Calendar View

Summer is officially here and online bookings are at an all time high for holiday rentals or appointments. Perfect timing for us to let you know that Sagenda is beta testing its calendar view for WordPress users.

Our calendar view is available for all WordPress plugin users registered on Sagenda. Make sure you’re using the latest WordPress version (1.2.12 and more) on your website, then insert the following shortcode [sagenda-wp view=”calendar”] to display your calendar.

The shortcode may be used in any page or post of the WordPress website to display your monthly, weekly or daily calendar view. According to selected bookings, your drop-drown menu will display available bookable items and corresponding event patterns. What a better way to showcase your occupancy rate and get new customers onboard!

 

For the time being, beta testing of the new calendar view is available for all our WordPress Sagenda plugin users although our team is working around the clock to enable it for sagenda.net frontend and on other CMS frameworks as well. So stay tuned!

Have a go at the latest calendar view and let us know what you think! Need help with the shortcode or just want to share your suggestions?

We’re here to help: drop us a line.

Special Offer for Sagenda Users in Mexico

Special Offer for Sagenda Users in Mexico

While some men build too many walls and not enough bridges,
Sagenda kicks-off this year with a special offer for its Mexican users.

 

We’re stunned and saddened by the way Mexican people are isolated by the Trump administration seeking to separate itself from this country.

Sagenda decided to do just the opposite: in addition to the Sagenda account which is free for all, we are offering Mexican users the advanced email module. Worth a staggering $249.99, this module allows you to access the entire set of advanced notification settings as if you had your own notification server. For example, you may change the text of all your notification emails, but also customize the email address of the sender!

To enjoy this free offer, your Sagenda account as well as notification email must be always managed from an email domain address ending in .mx

You may open your free account at the following link: https://sagenda.net/Accounts/Login

Go to Settings / Account Settings / Culture to select the Spanish culture and language.

Please contact Support to activate it.

Your Sagenda Team

 

2016 Year-End Special Features

2016 Year-End Special Features

Fulfilling your New Year’s Resolutions does not have to be chore if you’re using a user-friendly and reliable agenda. Our goal is to guide you through this process in order to achieve consistent results. This is why our year-end activity was extremely productive. The entire Sagenda team has worked relentlessly to provide you with new and interesting features for the management, communication and marketing of your business:

Coupon Code Management

You may now use Sagenda in order to manage promo codes for your payments. Step up your marketing plan: for instance, send promo codes in your newsletter in order to help incentivize user subscriptions to your services.

Share Public Data

Are you using Sagenda as a shared intranet agenda? You may now display booking data on the frontend of your website. More transparency delivers more results!

Copy Event Public Links

Would you like to quickly share event links with your users? Search for Bookings, select your event and click on “Copy Frontend’s URL”. This will allow you to copy the event public link available on the frontend.

Customized Notification Emails

Would you like to customize your email notification text? This is super easy: just use your email as email identification sender! All you need to do is activate your “Advanced Email Notifications” and you’ll reach your clients instantly.

Feel free to contact us for further information, questions or just to say hello.

Our entire Sagenda team joins in wishing you Happy Holidays!

The map is not the territory

The map is not the territory

Good project management requires visualization of tasks, duration and related costs… However, how far can we go?

I remember the good old days of detailed project management when it was customary to forecast the unpredictable where Project Managers spent 4 hours per day revising their GANTT chart in Microsoft Project.

Now, why criticize this type of method? Isn’t it still working? It obviously does, it’s been tested and it’s still working properly; however, these are all things of the past. For instance, GANTT charts were created more than a century ago for the industrial age where everything had its own place. An engine manufacturing 25 steel castings per hour did not manufacture 26; factories and engines were built to run for at least 20 years. Nowadays, the world has changed: work is more about connecting with clients, adding a few more lines of code, answering some emails and you’re definitely not expected to be doing the same thing over and over for the next 20 years.

No plan survives contact with the enemy
Sun Tzu

As the world has entered the service age and the digital age, such military planning is no longer useful. I am not saying that it’s not working, but that it’s taking too much time and it’s bad for your return on investment.

For instance, suppose you’re driving towards your holiday destination, do you stop on the side road and check whether you’re left with 121 or 122.5 km? No, this is ridiculous, it’s best to keep driving and know that you’re left with 120 or 130 km. The most relevant data are those related to road conditions, traffic jams or better ways to reach your destination. Unfortunately, when it comes to project management, too many people waste hours or work simply to update their forecast from 121 to 122.5!

If drawing the map takes longer than building the house, you have a problem!

Without recommending a specific method, here are some things you should avoid:

Revise Past Planning

Bookkeeping is the only thing that must always be detailed correctly. As for the rest, if you happen to find yourself performing retrospective revisions of your planning tool, just ask yourself the following, “What do I do with this?” If nobody in your company can answer this question, then you’re probably dealing with useless data.

Stick to the Plan

Too many people follow plans as if they were following the 10 commandments. The only pattern you should follow is common sense. For more information, read [#PROductivity5]

Multi-Annual Planning

Unless you’re a fortune teller, you don’t need to plan your project in detail over the next 5 years. Not implying that you don’t need to plan for the future, but if you can plan in detail both the following week and the following year, you are either not detailing enough, or you’re going into too much detail over future tasks. Think of a multilevel sieve in which each level is increasingly smaller; anything far away resembles big stones whereas anything next to you is nothing but fine sand. There’s nothing lazy about refining work in progress, it simply means that lots of long-term planned tasks disappear before being carried out or are subject to a substantial overhaul: you don’t need to detail the unpredictable.

Think that Everything Will Go With the Plan

Movies go beyond scripts and plans are merely guiding tools. Stop imposing them in real life to the extent of denying changes.

Hide the Truth

Some Project Managers feel somewhat ashamed if reality does not follow their plans and prefer to hide the truth about the real state of things. At that point, plans are neither simplified visualizations nor forecasts, but mere lies.

The Agile methodology (lean, scrum, kanban etc.) is the new kid on the block which favors estimates and trends, thus replacing old project management cascade tools which insist on detailing and pinning down every step of the working process for the following years.

Remember: if you’re spending more time on task planning than on execution, then you’re going too far!

 

 

Common Sense, Above All #PROductivity 5

Common Sense, Above All #PROductivity 5

Methods allow us to implement processes in a rational way. User guides are highly useful for beginners who wish to implement all processes by following instructions especially when one does not have the full picture about a tool. Conversely, once you master your tool, it is essential that you own these tools and make them yours.

“Reason is the only thing that makes us human.”

René Descartes, Discourse on Method

When it comes to Lean, RUP, PMI, PMP, or Prince, the advantage of using certain methods, aside from the possible related criticism, is that you can set standards and ask everybody to follow them. However, I have come across a lot of hardliners obsessed with methodologies that used a lot of resources to apply processes which proved useless in the end, but they still carried on: after all, they were simply following instructions.

Common sense is the most important tool that you can use throughout your career. Whenever you feel that your approach or method turns into an objective and does not serve its purpose, it is probably high time you changed it. In other words, if your method hampers your performance, you must challenge it to suit your needs!

Geneviève

Aside from managing various projects, the Project Manager measures 90 KPIs; he spends hours on it and shows pride in doing so. So, what is the ultimate goal? The aim of a KPI is to measure, to assess aspects of your company and finally, to suggest measures in order to adjust and improve its operation. But who can follow up on 90 KPIs and adapt 90 processes at the same time? I think it’s a waste of time.

Another way to approach a situation, which is not managed efficiently, is to remember the reason behind it. Why do you use those indicators and who benefits from it? What’s their worth? Who reads those performance indicators? From my own personal experience, I am always amazed by the number of times in which this type of work, which has its own worth, is left unused. What do you really need?

Geneviève

I oversaw quite a few development projects using the SCRUM methodology. It has some simple and useful features such as the 2-week or 4-week sprint planning and the option of calculating the velocity of each sprint (i.e. the amount of work delivered). This is highly useful if you need to operate billing changes in the account of the client who ordered this project (hourly invoicing). However, in all other cases, such as the development of your own SaaS product, there were some features that got in our way such as:

  • First of all, we did not want to stick to the original planning which restricted us to a few number of weeks. It was not important for us to follow a schedule, but to “provide a product with an added value”. It was wrong to say, “We’ve got 2 weeks to fill out with something”, so we just settled for, “I want my users to be able to pay for their booking; how long will it take?” Thus, we set up a milestone with a relevant delivery deadline: 1, 2, and 3 weeks; conversely, we kept all the relevant and useful data and prepared a release within one month of starting development.
  • Secondly, we asked ourselves whether all the effort put in measuring processes was worth it. No, not at all. I am not saying that it is completely pointless, but it was useless in that particular case.

It is very interesting to note how people measure work effort. Often, I get asked: what is the perfect mix of analysis, development and project testing? This is frequently asked irrespective of the project management methodology. I think that past experience can only be useful if, and only if, it is used in the context of an identical project with the same client and the same team in the same context. As soon as the setting changes, past experience becomes irrelevant. When I was Project Manager, I spent a lot of time going through Excel files calculating, analyzing and trying to understand the past in order to improve estimates. This effort is only useful for estimates likely to please the client and reassure the person providing it, but these are far from being realistic if this is a different project.

So, how should you manage deadlines? Irrespective of your project management methodology, the only thing that really works is working with the client, periodic deliveries and ESPECIALLY clarity of objectives you truly need. Did you know that your clients often ask you things they do not really need because they expect you to cut down to the essentials? Why not stick to essentials?

Geneviève

Your company does not need to adapt itself to a particular methodology; it’s precisely your approach that needs to flexible enough to provide you the best return on investment. Sticking to instructions is useful when you’re a beginner; however, seasoned professionals need to own methodologies or come up with new ones!

… let’s not forget that the most important thing is understanding the reason behind each project. Humans need to understand in order to act.

Geneviève

This post was co-authored by:

GENEVIÈVE DICAIRE

GENEVIÈVE DICAIRE

ICF Professional Coach, Author and Speaker

With more than 15 years of IT experience, Geneviève has moved on from specialist to manager positions. She discovered the power of coaching tools and founded Unique coaching.

The (Single) Real Reason Why Startups Fail

The (Single) Real Reason Why Startups Fail

For a long time, I thought the balance sheet is the most essential thing that makes or breaks a company, and bankruptcy as its primary source of failure. At times, some of these startups are granted the right to a premeditated ending: an “exit strategy” orchestrated for some time which puts an end (or not) to a company, but at the same time provides a return on capital to its shareholders.

I still cherished this idea as a student, although it faded away quickly upon entering the business world. I have stopped counting the number of times a company goes back to its startup capital. Some of these startups find other “rounds” of investment while others don’t. Not all companies that file for bankruptcy are dead and buried: it’s usually a good opportunity to liquidate debt and recover, a few months later, under another company name. This is how company “A” sets off again, six months later, with the same shareholders, although registered as “A plus”.

Shoot for the moon.
Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

― Norman Vincent Peale

Well, if lack of money is no longer the Grim Reaper that beheads these young sprouts, then why do startups fail so miserably? To put it simply: because at a certain moment, usually following a negative incident, motivation evaporates and shareholders jump ship. The death of a company is not the end of it, whereas the loss of one’s sense of entrepreneurship is the death of it all. Bottom line: the end of a company is not the end of your dream just like breakups are not the end of the world. Remember that the company itself is not your dream, it’s a mere registered trademark: your dream can and will survive.

Ever heard of Detroit Automobile Company? Probably not. This is an obscure company dissolved in less than 2 years, and reorganized as the Henry Ford Company among many other subsequent names. In conclusion, good causes deserve perseverance whereas bad causes are not worthy of obstinacy. The most important thing is that your dream must start afresh!

Therefore, the single real reason why startups fail is loss of motivation.

Never give-up!

 

Warning: This article refers to registered companies (i.e. legal entities such as joint stock companies or LLC) not to sole proprietorships that may engender personal bankruptcy!

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website – Part 2 – Hosting

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website – Part 2 – Hosting

Those hosting services that speed up your web load time – #PROductivity 3

 

Cheap and Fast Hosting Services

All hosting services are not the same. But beware: there is no point in comparing page load speed based on the various “premium” plans offered by web hosting providers! Quite often, marketing jargon pollutes clear and precise information. You’ll definitely hear about ‘TOP Speed’ or ‘Power’ modes, but what’s in it for you? To be honest, absolutely nothing!

Even technical data does not seem to clarify things. Some will sell you SSD hosting services! Pretty cool, isn’t it? But what’s so special about SSD hosting if the server’s processor is overwhelmed by queries from the rest of the 500 websites hosted on the same server with a permanently saturated RAM memory running at 98%? Well, it certainly looks less reliable than the old magnetic hard disk drives that would have always stored your top 10 favorite search pages!

It’s possible to find extremely fast web hosting providers, but are you really ready to fork out 1,200 Euros per month for a showcase website? Not exactly!

So, which are the fast and affordable hosting providers able to host WordPress easily (e.g. a Fantastico installer)? I would go for NameCheap and its Business SSD plan costing less than $20 per month if you’re looking for speed, or its Value plan is you want to save some money as it sets you back a mere $10 per month; otherwise, go for Site5 hosting.

 

name cheap hosting wordpress

Where Am I Going? Where Am I Headed?

Watch your destination. Your website will not enjoy the same load speed all over the world. Think twice before choosing your hosting provider. The worst case scenario is finding a hosting service close to your whereabouts, but which is slower than a service provider located on the other side of the world! Fortunately, there are alternatives you may test and content delivery techniques.

CDN

CDN (Content Delivery Network) is some sort of replica of your cache in different parts of the world. Thus, visitors will look for information on your website through the closest server at any given time.

Test and Improve!

There are no written instructions that you may follow as with IKEA’s furniture assembly; each website is unique with a unique audience. There are some major guidelines as the ones outlined in this article, and some great tools are readily available online allowing you to test the performance of your website.

Google Page speed is your number one choice: it’s essential since it will provide you a report on speed and user experience (at least in terms of desktop and mobile experience). If you happen to have other preferences, don’t forget to keep Google happy as Google is the number one search engine. Get my drift?

Pingdom is really interesting as it allows you to test your website in different parts of the world. It’s definitely more convenient than popping in every possible Internet cafe across the world, isn’t it?

 

Read more about making WordPress faster with plugins and softwares.