There's a difference between owning a business and owning a company. Think of a business as a single shareholder in a enterprise that provides for one or two families. Think of a company as multiple shareholders and investors. If you're an entrepreneur with a startup business, you may be wondering what it takes to go to the next level.
This time tracking and client management solution may be part of that step.
"What does it take to grow my business?"
The entrepreneur featured in this cute little video is accidently taking that step to the next level. Sure, it's fiction, but it could happen to you in the same way. And you may need a product like this to get you there. Think outside the "business box" for that next step.
Watch the video and scroll down for some more ideas you might not have considered.
Add client relationship management to your business plan
Oaky, you're a startup with some clients. You bill those clients for consulting time. They pay, and the business succeeds. But do you have a bigger plan for client relationship management? In other words, does your business plan include a product like this to handle clients, projects, and the hours you collect for invoicing?
No? Then consider adding ST to your business plan.
"How's that different from customer relationship management?"
Client relationship management is slightly different than customer relationship management. It includes your plan for servicing those clients. How are your invoices structured? How will your projects be set up? Project phases and tasks? How will you track client billable hours? Non-billable hours? What time tracker will you use? Is it Standard Time? We hope so!
When you start viewing your clients in a larger enterprise, you start thinking like a company rather than a business. For instance, start thinking in terms of hudreds of clients rather than tens. And thousands of project rather than dozens. Think about what product it takes to manage those clients and projects.
Guaranteed... it's not a spreadsheet.
Spreadsheets and scraps of paper don't work
Most freelancers start up with a spreadsheets and scraps of paper for time tracking. That works for a while, but cannot take you to the next level. Cloud-based spreadsheets and cloud-based scraps of paper don't help either. Just because it's cloud doesn't improve things. You still can't share them effectively. You can't sync with a smartphone based time tracking app. And the client management for an enterprise level just isn't there. You just don't get the tools to manage clients, so you'll end up trying to reinvent them yourself.
"We've been using spreadsheets to track time"
What client management technique does work?
What works, is a system where projects are systematically created for client work. The projects are then assigned to engineers and consultants. Tasks are created, and assigned based on employee familiarity or by skill. Employees enter hours for projects they're assigned to. Email notifications go out when things don't go perfectly. Time and materials are approved. Client invoices are sent out. And projects are closed.
That's a very brief overview, but that's the type of system you need to go from a business-minded operation to company-minded.
That's the time tracking and client billing tool you see here. Download it and give it a try.
Video transcription: Hi! I’m a freelance consultant, and guess what I discovered! The Standard Time® time tracking app. I downloaded, and it wasn’t long before I had a few clients. They liked my weekly invoices, so I invited them to check project status any time. They’re using ProjectBot. A few other freelancers joined me. And a few more clients.
Thanks to Standard Time, I guess I’m no longer a freelancer.
Because I own the company!
Here’s where I got Standard Time: stdtime.com