We know this to be true: Running a business is hard!
What I’m hearing from so many of you is that you feel unorganized, inefficient, and confused when it comes to streamlining your business.
My hope with this blog post is to shed some light on what some of your options are and how they may fit into your goals.
So let’s talk first about some of the needs you may have!
- You need a way to manage the details of your projects.
- You need to communicate with your team
- You need bookkeeping
- You need a way to onboard your clients
- You need to send project proposals
- You need a Client Portal
I will flesh this out further, but here’s my opinion, plain and simple:
There are design specific programs out there for a reason! Your business is extremely nuanced. If you are keeping all of your project details in Excel, in emails or in folders in Dropbox, you are losing time and sanity by not using something that is already tailored to your type of business.
Block out a day on your calendar to demo the various design platforms. Here are some of your options:
You will want to use one of these for things such as purchase orders, product library, vendor management, creating and sending design proposals, invoicing and bookkeeping to name a few.
One of things that I find really important in these platforms is the ability to create invoices that also account for markup that’s hidden from the client facing invoice. Also, the ability to keep all of your vendors and product sources in one easy place that can also be easily linked to proposals, etc. saves you a buttload of time.
What these programs don’t do well is onboard your client. I often get asked, “so do I need both Ivy (or name your design program) and Dubsado?” The answer is yes, you do. If I was to choose just one, it would be a design platform and second it would be a system to automate your leads to client process. Click HERE to learn more about using Dubsado as that system.
There is so much back and forth that happens when you are working with a new lead. You’re trying to gather information about their project and about them. You need to schedule calls and meetings, there’s the contract to sign and the welcome packet to send. ALL of these things are mostly consistent across every client, so it saves you so much time to have that process automated.
Use Dubsado for automating your lead to client process and then let the design platform of your choice pick up from there once the project has been secured.
Your two other needs are client communication and team communication.
For your client communication, my suggestion is to keep it out of emails as much as possible so that you can keep everything organized and easily found. Dubsado has a client portal, as well as most design platforms. Use one of these to keep your client communication organized.
For team communication, it really depends on the design platform you’ve chosen and it’s available features. Determine what your team’s needs are. If you are just needing to organize conversations, perhaps use Slack . If you are wanting to assign and breakdown various steps in a project and be able to assign these to tasks to your team members then you have quite a few options!
I have personally used Asana, Monday, Basecamp and Trello. All have different costs and features, but they are great for team and project management.
Something I have not personally explored but I know is a possibility, is using Zapier to have different programs talk together so they work in unison.
So to recap! If you are currently doing most everything in your business manually, there is a much smarter way to run it. Find yourself a program that streamlines your on-boarding process and another program to organize your projects and I guarantee you will be breathing a BIG sigh of relief. If you have any questions, please reach out! I am passionate about helping designers achieve a thriving and uncomplicated business.