How much is your time worth? If you are a startup, chances are that your time is your most precious resource. Like any other entrepreneur, your days fly by quickly. You wake up, start work and the next thing you know it’s time to call it a day. You might also have challenges with tracking the time that is being spent by you and your team on each task throughout the day.
As a startup, everything depends on how you cash your opportunities. No one can tell you what to do in your business. What matters most in this stage is whether or not the number of hours spent each day is producing optimum levels of productivity. This is why smart businesses keep a track of their time.
To schedule your time, you rely on a calendar app and meeting scheduler tool. But to look back at how you’ve spent your time, you’re in search of a tool—what you need is a time tracking software. A software that will help you tag projects, create reports, and export to an invoicing tool. –Zapier
The explosion of online tools for startups has cut costs. Building a business is a tad more manageable than it used to be. It doesn’t mean that you won’t go down a rabbit hole once you lose track of a tool and it’s too late to hit abort. That’s why you should be the judge when choosing a software that tracks time for your startup. Why else should startups need a time tracking software?
To understand where your most valuable resource is being invested
Time-tracking softwares add value and meaning to account for the contributions of each team member. Any unnecessary paperwork or long meaningless spreadsheets are avoided. If someone is not being efficient, they get caught.
But then again, time tracking is so much more than just analyzing the spirit of your team members. Stop thinking of it as a way to catch culprits. Think of it as a cultured way to polish your own and the team’s time management skills. It can actually help you perform better, track disproportions, mismanagement and eradicate these little evils. The prices are also very suitable. Most softwares allow you a free trial before you delve in.
Tip: Growth takes time. Freeing yourself up for a few more hours each week could have dramatic results.
- To be accurate in budgeting and scheduling
In the startup world, things seem like they are taking far too much time and money than you anticipated. That is okay and completely normal. But imagine being able to budget and make bills that are scheduled on time.
The bills and budgets for your clients can put you on top of your game. It will help startups from going over budget. They can predict the cost and management of future projects with a time tracking software at their service. No client will get undue surprises when presented with these budget sheets!
Tip: Use the timecard information and milestones from similar past projects to see how the next project is going. If you’re behind, you can make adjustments before it’s too late.
- To invest time, not just spent it
Many startups will agree to this. There is always this one client who takes up much more man-hours than they had planned to invest in. It kills the time and productivity circle of the entire company – especially if it’s a small one. Without time-tracking tools in place, projects like these could do more harm than good.
Once you start tracking time spent on each client, you might find out that the client who takes 25% of your time is actually generating you more than enough revenue compared to its weight. You can also find the exact opposite and hit abort mission!
In any case, you are enlightened and empowered. So better choose software that puts you where the money is and where the growth of your startup is.
Tip: Pareto’s principle says that 80% of your results come from just 20% of your work. Time-tracking can help you find what that 20% is!
- To have an easy invoicing tool at hand
If you are new to the world of customer service, you must know this one important tip – if the client says something has to be on the invoice, it has to be on the invoice! Many times, it may mean that you break down how you spent the time they paid you for.
That is why any estimates and manual tracking in invoice preparation won’t do. According to Andrea Lortz of AllProWebTools,
Tip: If your CRM is integrated with your time-tracking tools, this gets a lot easier. For example, in AllProWebTools, all work done for a client is stored (with timecard clock-ins and notes) in that client’s CRM profile.
- To check your work activity levels
Firstly, when you and your employees start off, you can ask them to track their time for specific tasks. Later, you can track their activity levels too. This way you will know how time is being utilized throughout the day. It will point out any problems with new people that you hired to do the job, and you can take appropriate action. You will get to know the reports daily, rather than facing the consequences a few weeks later (especially when deadlines are upon you). With only 5-10 minutes spent every day, you can log into your time tracking software account and see how your team is performing.
At the end of the month, all the invoices are in order to be sent to the clients because time organization sorted it well in advance. The invoices will be compiled in easy-to-read timesheets.
- To avoid miscalculations
If you are starting a creative agency, any time that isn’t calculated well can make you face monetary losses. For example, a designer on your team estimates that it will take him 10 hours to finish a task. He fills a timesheet three months later and counts 11 hours of design time instead of 10.
Without a specific tool to calculate time spent, team members and freelancers log hours through ‘approximate’ guesses that may or may not be accurate. As a result, startups face losses.
- To have an edge over your competitor
This may sound clichéd, but time tracking is your key to success. As a startup, all you look for is an opportunity to showcase your efficiency. Unfortunately, your competitor also gets the same number of hours in a day as you. They may be using this time in a much more efficient way than you are. A time tracking tool will help you create an edge over your competition by helping you use your time to get optimum productivity and do more with less.
All kinds of metrics, especially obsessive metrics are a lot of fun. Knowing how much you expect vs how much you did determines accuracy for all your projects. A decent time tracking software gives you just that, along with ease of use of course. You don’t have to be super tech-savvy to operate one.
Unless you are Bill Gates who literally memorized his employee’s number plates to monitor their work hours, you should rely on software that can save you the trouble. A little on the Microsoft co-founder and his time management skills as a startup owner; Gates was only 19 when he dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft. He had to be extra careful with this venture. The tools at that time were definitely not as efficient as they are today. Young Mr. Gates relied on his sharp memory to do the job of time-tracking.
“I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard [others at the company] worked. I knew everybody’s license plate so I could look out the parking lot and see, you know when people come in,” he said.