Mobilize Home Office In 2010
To Double Income, Cut Costs
Most of us have happily come to the conclusion working from home makes a lot more sense for a small business but when you are focused on mystery shopping I believe you can make more money going mobile.
Most mystery shoppers today follow the standard scenario of shopping several schedulers for assignments, locking in two or three a day, mapping out a trip, doing the shops, returning to the home office to write and file the reports for the day’s activities.
In a semi-urban area this game plan results in two, possibly three completed shops in an 8-10-hour day. This is being done in a highly inefficient environment where report filing of the detail work you are getting paid for follows the actual observations by four to six hours. It relies on memory for accuracy when filing the reports at home.
10 Tips For Making A Business of Mystery Shopping
As more and more corporate offices select mystery shopping as a means of evaluating and comparing their retail operations they are making more and more demands for increased detail, with more and more narrative report elements required and they want it done for $10 or less.
Mystery shoppers need to re-evaluate their own processes to get the reporting closer to the observing to increase their accuracy and at the same time, shorten the time involved in completing the job. I have found that plugging a 30 to 60 minute drive between the onsite aspects of the mystery shopping assignment and rendering its report does multiple damages to the report and ultimately shopper reputation among schedulers.
I have devised a way to put this behind me in 2009.
My new mystery shopping methodology involves new technology, BETA online resources, WIFI connections and the addition of a mobile office to my car.
1. A modern cell phone equipped with Bluetooth, a GPS Navigator, a camera and off course the ability to make and receive phone calls. As an independent contractor I have found the cell phone is my best choice for all needs and I have discontinued my landline.
2. I am purchasing a new Acer Aspire One mini laptop to handle my mobile office computing requirements working primarily online. This computer is about the size of a steno pad.
3. I am tapping into Google for my online software. Google Maps provide my Mystery Shop directions, Google Calendar keeps track of my scheduled shops and Google’s new Beta programs—Google Docs is an online program to create basic documents in a word processing program, a spreadsheet program and a presentation program, all compatible with Microsoft counterparts. The main difference—They are Free.
4. A close by WIFI connection is vital to mobile computing and they are springing up all over. There are also a couple of good online locators to find public WIFI connections around any address.
5. I have learned many mobile professionals don't realize the powerful tool available to them in a Palm PDA. It is capable of doing more than just keeping track of appointments and playing games. I use mine in a live Mystery Shop to make notes surreptitiously about product displays, or sales rep performance in narrative form. Once back in my Mobile office, I sync to my computer and copy/paste into the Mystery Shop’s report form. This results in report narratives that are written while memories are fresh, not five of six hours old.
Making the best of today’s high tech tools can help you expand and improve your mystery shopping business, make more money and leave you with more free time to grow your business.
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