We recently sat down with Jerry Nettuno, the founder of Schedulicity to pick his brain about the Relational Economy.

We dug deep into the challenges of being a small business owner within the Relational Economy, the unique opportunities and benefits, and how the Relational Economy is different.

Jerry has an infectious passion for business within the Relational Economy and we’re excited to share his great perspective with you.

What is the Relational Economy?

Jerry: The Relational Economy is an enormous, underserved portion of the economy, made up of businesses that are based on transactional, social relationships that happen with frequency.

You get your hair cut every 3-4 weeks, but for example, just last week, I went with my friend to a new restaurant that just opened up. It’s a fantastic taco place, but the relationship I have with that restaurant and the relationship that I have with those people who are providing services to myself and my family is much different.

The Relational Economy is made up of service-based businesses at a local level.

In the past 5 years, the word “local” used to be a buzzword, but it’s blossomed. The Relational Economy lives in the “local” space. In fact, the true nature of “local” is the Relational Economy.

About 25% of the economy is the Informational Economy. Then, 25% of the economy is the Product Economy. The Relational Economy makes up 50-60% of the economy.

It’s about half of the economy, but all of the consumers.

How is the Relational Economy Different?

Jerry: The relationship between the service providers and consumers is different in the Relational Economy.

A hair stylist or a dog groomer has a very special and unique relationship with the consumers they provide services for.

For example, there’s a huge difference between me walking in to get a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop and going to see my hair stylist.

My hair stylist knows everything about my daughters. She asks me how they’re doing, and she asks me how I’m doing. She knows what’s going on in my life.

The Relational Economy is also different because for businesses in the Relational Economy, the calendar is their inventory.

What are the Challenges of the Relational Economy?

Jerry: Small business is inherently difficult.

They linger under the radar. There were no products to give these business owners the tools they need to grow their business.

Take a cosmetologist, for instance. They go to school because they want to make people look and feel good, but when they graduate and start their businesses they don’t have information to help them figure out what type of insurance they need, information about business licenses, and bank accounts.

And school doesn’t teach you what you have to do after you get your business license.

Businesses in the Relational Economy outnumber the other economies, yet they are the most underserved when it comes to accessing the tools that they need to grow their business, to make their businesses more profitable, and most importantly, to make their relationships with the consumers better.

Why Is the Relational Economy Underserved?

Jerry: There aren’t products out there to help these business owners grow their businesses.

The businesses are small, fragmented, not easy to find, and hard to get to.

Nobody talks about them.

Why Do You Think Nobody Is Talking About Them?

Jerry: You don’t find them because they aren’t found where larger businesses are found. But even though the Relational Economy is half the economy, it’s ALL of the consumers.

They are fragmented and hard to find. They aren’t on a list somewhere. These businesses are hard to reach.

In the Relational Economy, the calendar is their inventory. All service providers want is someone to be in their chair, but as a consumer, making the appointment is the problem.

There was something broken in the way things work. Why can I go on the internet and book tickets to Europe and rent a car in four minutes, but it took four days and 16 phone calls to book a haircut?

That’s why I started Schedulicity.

How Does Schedulicity Help Business Owners Manage the Relational Economy?

Jerry: When we started this company, and after we started to learn about how this economy works, we started to realize that this was much different than we ever dreamed of.

A hair stylist and a dog groomer have a very special relationship with consumers.  In the Relational Economy, the relationship between the service provider and the consumer is crucial. Schedulicity is the platform upon which this crucial relationship rests.

We provide the service provider with powerful tools to better manage their calendar, which is the backbone and the heartbeat of their business.

On top of that, we give them powerful tools for things like marketing and all kinds of ways to make the most out of these relationships. We allow them to communicate in a way that they were never able to communicate before.

We teach them how to use social media as a way to communicate with customers. There are all kinds of behaviors going on behind a transaction, and Schedulicity allows consumer behaviors to happen in an efficient manner.

Schedulicity provides an entire host of features and functions to help small business manage their business. It has become the platform for business owners in the Relational Economy to find new customers. Existing customers become more loyal because the appointments are made easier.

We have booked over 53 million appointments, and most appointments are booked after business hours with Schedulicity. This allows the business owner to spend their time doing what they do best: providing a service to their customer.

What are the Opportunities of the Relational Economy?

Jerry: Business owners in the Relational Economy have huge opportunities.

You get to be your own boss and create your own hours. It’s recession proof. You are working for yourself, serving the type of people you want to serve.

Business in the Relational Economy is based on relationships, and for people who enjoy that, it’s a great business to be in.

In the Relational Economy, you’re using your ability to turn relationships into recurring transactions. The better your relationships with your customers, the better your business is and does.