I had been a WorkflowMax setup partner and coach for over 5 years before I joined the team at WorkflowMax. In this blog I want to share some of my experiences with you in order to help you transform your business.
How to transform your business with Project Management Software
Many businesses are starting to look into online Project Management software as a way to streamline their business processes. The reasons for this can be varied, but typically includes some or all of the following:
- Increased efficiency
- Greater profitability
- Reduction of stress
- More free time
- Improving the saleability of the business
A good way to test the effectiveness of a business’ processes is ‘the holiday test’. Ask yourself if your business could survive for 4 weeks without you touching anything (including emails), while you go away on holiday.
If your business doesn’t pass this test right now, you may want to start taking some steps in that direction. This is where Project Management software like WorkflowMax can help - WorkflowMax has been designed to help you run your business on auto-pilot at peak performance as far as this is possible.
Nurture happy clients from the first interaction
Very few small businesses have a disciplined sales front end. This can be a big barrier to future growth and can even limit the future saleability of the business. As such, we recommend setting up a sales process for your team to follow, as you convert leads into profits.
As you collect quality data about existing and potential clients, you can use that data to better serve your clients and make more informed business decisions that will translate into more sales and profits.
Collecting data and having systems in place doesn’t mean that your interactions become less human. In fact, good systems give you more room to provide even better value as you nurture tentative leads into happy clients.
We recommend using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or the Leads Module in your Project Management software, to formalise a process for your sales team to follow with a view to ensuring consistent service delivery to every lead.
In the Lead Management section of WorkflowMax you can create and use follow-up templates, which can include a checklist of activities (along with a deadline) for your team to follow.
And as a bonus, you as the business owner, get much improved visibility of your sales pipeline and the value of the leads.
If you do not currently know the dollar value of the leads in your pipeline, now could be a good time to start working on your Lead Management processes.
Build efficiencies with your quoting and estimating
Estimating and Quoting Projects can be very time consuming. And costly, if quotes are calculated incorrectly. While we all make mistakes from time to time, ideally we should have processes to ensure that we never make the same mistake twice.
A good Project Management software solution should offer the ability to automate the quote preparation process as much as possible in order to create accurate quotes, fast. You will win more quotes if you can provide detailed, professionally presented quotes, quicker than your competition.
Your Project Management software should allow you to create as many quote and job templates as you require in order to match the range of services you provide. Building the framework of any quote then takes just seconds. Having a Project Management software which can achieve this should be a key consideration when looking at the different options in the market. WorkflowMax offers both sophisticated Quote and Job Templates, along with the ability to copy previous quotes, as ways to speed up your quote generation process.
Your software should also offer the ability to instantly report on actual profitability versus estimated profitability. You will avoid under-quoting jobs (that is, making the same mistakes twice) if you can quickly and easily identify where you went wrong on the last job.
Best practice is to review the profitability of every job you complete, compare it to your quote or budget for that job, and then identify action points to be taken to improve the way the next, similar job is quoted and completed.
System Data - Key Knowledge
Another question rarely asked by small business owners is “Is your business ‘employee independent?” By this I mean, if you were to lose your best employee tomorrow, would you be able to keep operating to the same high standard? Or would your business experience a significant downturn?
One way to mitigate the effect of losing an experienced employee, is to use your Project Management system to hold key knowledge. One simple way to do this is to build customisable checklists right into your software (such as the to-do list feature on WorkflowMax Tasks). Another tip is to have procedure and training manuals, loaded into the documents tab of your ‘Internal’ job - available to all employees, at all times, from anywhere.
Storing ‘smarts’ and knowledge in your Project Management system makes things easier when on-boarding new staff members too.
And having all this valuable information at your fingertips will also make your business more saleable - and more valuable.
System Data - Timesheets
Time is money. Money is time. Complete and accurate timesheet data is another extremely valuable asset a business can utilise in multiple ways. Your Project Management software should allow you to track and report on every minute, of every day, for every staff member, 365 days of the year.
This data will allow you to:
- Accurately measure billable and non billable time
- better estimate the time it takes to complete certain tasks or jobs
- make sure that you invoice all time that you should be billing
- assess staff performance and productivity
- provide the raw data needed for fast payroll processing
- understand how and where your business generates cash
Tips for timesheets:
- Encourage staff to complete timesheet entries as tasks are done, or at the end of every day
- Give them access to a timesheet report so they can identify any gaps in their daily timesheets
- Know what motivates your staff to log timesheets. Whether you use the carrot or the stick, work to make timesheet entry routine for your employees
- Don’t punish staff for being honest. Use their honesty to better understand the needs of your business
Get paid on time
You work hard for your clients, so you deserve to get paid on time for it. Have a look at these steps that you can take to get paid faster.
- Are you getting paid 30 to 60 days after the work is completed? Try changing the due date on your invoices to 14 days or have penalties for late payment.
- Worried about not getting paid at all? Collect deposits or the full amount due before you begin your work. If you prefer positive reinforcement, offer discounts for early payment or give the client a friendly reminder call!
- If you use WorkflowMax and you are connected to Xero, use Xero’s automated invoice reminder feature.
- Can you improve the time it takes to prepare and send an invoice to a client? Chances are that you can. Because it records time and cost entries, WorkflowMax can prepare any type of invoice for you in seconds - from the very simple to the very detailed. Custom Print Templates allow you to present the invoice in an almost unlimited variety of ways.
In addition to the above, WorkflowMax can invoice multiple jobs for one client at one time, invoice multiple clients in bulk, and, if you are connected to Xero, all those invoices will flow seamlessly into Xero where you can reconcile them against incoming payments from customers.
Transforming your business can seem like an overwhelming task but making small adjustments and improving a little bit at a time is an effective way to keep your business relevant and thriving!
Have you recently made adjustments that transformed your business? Let me know - I would love to hear from you in the comments below!