Are you finding that the day to day admin of your business is distracting you from the actual work you love? As co-owners of Sticks & Stones Landscape Design, Julia Levitt and Fiona Ericsson found themselves in this exact same predicament.
The good news is it didn’t last long for Sticks and Stones, and it doesn’t have to for you either. Now using WorkflowMax and Xero, the day-to-day admin of their business is no longer a distraction and they are finally back doing what they love most. So how exactly did WorkflowMax and Xero help?
Running an award-winning landscape studio in Sydney with a team of just four, demand for Sticks & Stones’ services escalated quickly from the get-go and they soon realised they’d need better systems to avoid burnout and cope with their workload.
As is the experience for many new business owners, no point in time was more difficult than when Sticks & Stones were first finding their feet.
“We had to decide how we were going to use the funds we’d put aside to start up the business. Spending on accounting software definitely wasn’t on the list at that point, so I used to put everything we worked on into a spreadsheet,” says Fiona.
On top of the shortfalls of spreadsheets, project management and quoting was a real bugbear for the duo as Julia admits, “we have quite a complicated business structure and that’s reflected in the way that we quote and price, hence we needed an app that met all our needs”.
With a clear understanding of what was holding them back, the pair set to work investigating market-ready solutions that would address their needs and get them back on a focussed path.
Step 1: Taking off with Xero
With accounting first off the rank, the team began to search for something more sophisticated than spreadsheets (not hard) but simple and easy enough to use day-to-day. That's when they found Xero. Intuitive, transparent and cloud-based meant the search was over, and better yet, they could work easily from anywhere.
On a roll, the pair wanted to leverage their newfound accounting prowess and solicited the help of a bookkeeper to manage their day to day accounts. The resulting benefits? Almost priceless.
“We don't even worry anymore, knowing everything is under control gives us peace of mind AND some valuable time back, to do what we do best.” says Julia.
Tip: If you are looking for your own bookkeeper to lighten the load, like Sticks and Stones, we highly recommend you refer to Xero’s advisor directory. With specialists in most industries, you’ll be up and running in no time with someone you can trust.
Step 2: MAXimising efficiency
Next up to the plate, finding a project management solution that would suit their unique needs. Trawling through market-ready solutions and signing up for trials when possible, things didn’t go as swimmingly as first hoped.
“We were well ingrained in Xero and it was working well, but in addition to quoting and pricing complexities, we didn't really know where our money was going, what project it was going to or how much we'd made on each project,” says Fiona.
Struggling to find something suitable, things took a happy turn when their bookkeeper suggested they meet with local cloud integrator Clinton Cowin from TradiePad. A WorkflowMax implementation partner, the team were in good hands.
“Clinton sat down with us and spent the time to really understand our business. Turns out WorkflowMax could be customised into exactly what we needed. We have a complicated setup and what we required was very particular, so Clinton created custom-made templates and it’s saved us so much time,” says Julia.
With both Xero and WorkflowMax under their belts, things are looking up for Sticks & Stones.
“It's fantastic! Now when plotting things into WorkflowMax, all information flows seamlessly through to Xero, eliminating the need for double handling. Because it’s so easy to use, we can all speak the same language. Everybody's onboard," says Fiona.
“We use WorkflowMax for project management and scheduling, quoting and invoicing, as well as running reports,” says Fiona. “Time management is also a big one, we can now see how much time is being spent on each project and manage the status of the project as it moves through the design and construction stages.”
To see the Sticks and Stones full story (including handy Max Hacks to get the most out of WorkflowMax) click here. And if you’ve been considering WorkflowMax for your own business, why not start with an obligation-free 14-day trial?
You’ve got nothing to lose! And who knows, before long, like Sticks and Stones, you might find yourself getting back to what made you passionate about your business in the first place.