When you envision the ideal workings of your company, does your team seamlessly handle several projects at a time, fixated on the tasks at hand and high off the buzz of productivity? How does that dream team manage resources and track hours? If there’s a gap between this vision and your day-to-day reality, consider the following tips and tools to guide your agency’s workflow and pull in the profits you deserve.
Create a tiered fee schedule
Consider creating a value based payment schedule for different tasks, depending on level of effort and expertise required. You should not charge the same rate for theme design as you would banner creative. This will give you the opportunity to charge a premium for specialty services while offering competitive rates for the more standard tasks. The client will appreciate your transparency from the beginning and place more value on your work because they understand the effort involved.
Log hours and quote accurately
Strong processes are most important during those high-demand moments when all hands are on deck to meet a deadline. Oftentimes, the team is so focused on getting the work done that they don’t track their hours right away and are left to play the guessing game when it comes time to invoice. We’ve seen agencies that don’t track hours at all during the high season, forcing them to go back through client emails at the end of the month to estimate their hours. This often leads the company to underestimate the time that spent on each project, resulting in fewer billable hours and fewer profits.
Avoid invoice emergencies by creating a culture of timesheet fulfillment within the office. Once everyone is consistently tracking their hours, you can analyze your records to get a more realistic idea of how long you spent on each task and which resources were involved. Once you understand how much time and human effort went into a project, you can provide more accurate quotes for similar projects in the future. This will allow you to set clear expectations and deadlines with the client from the start, thus avoiding any unwanted surprises later on.
WorkflowMax is a project management tool that will help you run your business from start to finish through solutions that help you manage leads, produce accurate quotes, monitor progress and generate reports. The software gets you out of the spreadsheet by managing timesheets, purchase orders and invoices in the cloud. With their mobile app, you can understand what projects are due, who is working on them and what percentage of the work has been done no matter where you are.
To optimize profits, every business should collect and use available data to analyze progress and update strategies accordingly. Use a flexible reporting system that gives you access to the business insights you need to make greater profits and cultivate a loyal clientele. Find out which clients generate the most profit through performance reporting; understand employee productivity by comparing actual billable hours against expected billable hours; get an instant snapshot of billable jobs through invoice reports; and create custom reports to measure profitability by client, category or manager.
Create processes and use templates
Create workflows for each kind of project so that the steps required to meet the deadline are clear from the start. Pinpoint the recurring tasks you deal with on a regular basis and make templates to save time. For example, if your agency offers a package of auto-responders, landing pages and web forms, you should be able to come up with basic HTML and design templates so your workers are not starting from scratch with each client.
Train and ensure compliance
Whatever the tools you use it can be difficult to get everyone on board with a new routine. Make sure your team understands why you are implementing any new project management software and adequately train them on how to use it. Make it clear that if each employee doesn’t use the system put in place to track hours, they are robbing themselves of income and affecting the company’s bottom line. Emphasize that these new processes and tools are meant to assist with the administrative work so they can focus on the creative work they love.
Knowing what resources you have available at any given time and how to best use them will empower you to make better business decisions and become more profitable. To do this you don’t need to reinvent the wheel – just remember to grease the gears of efficiency every once in a while.