There are many way to manage your client relationships. However, the word manage is so involved that it would be remised of you to only seek one small feature to a client management system. Some systems only do emailing or invoicing, but the process of managing a clients experience with you is way more intuitive than one would think and involves way more than one point of contact.
Why is this important for a creative entrepreneur? Well, all we have to start with are our client relationships. All we have are the connections we make and the experiences we give to our clients. It’s through those connections, completed by the processes we have in place that a clients experience is seamless and of quality. Enough so that your past clients can now become cheerleaders of your brand, referring you first before anyone else because of the experience you’ve created. We have so many aspects to every part of business that housing them outside of an online software is nearly impossible if you ask me.
There is one tool that I know is the best for managing client relationships as well as client expectations. 17hats is the true all in one client management software that you absolutely need for your business. Here’s a list of all the features they offer…
A dashboard to manage:
That list is very extensive as each category has a full list of ways to utilize them. You may think that you don’t need so many features but I’ll tell you this… I have used every single one of these features and have no idea where I’d be in my business if I didn’t have 17hats!
I have no clue how others operate their businesses whether they are service based or product based. The fact is, you need a back office to your business and this is the software to do it. Here are a few of my favorite features:
There are different ways to figure out the process of your business. From the time a client or potential client (lead) comes in contact with your brand, you should have an ironed out process of what that experience is like for them. If you are a photographer, or event planner or any other creative business, you should have a flow of steps that move your client forward from intake to completed project.
The workflow tab here gives you a repeatable process that will become a reliable way to move your clients through your company. From the first email or point of contact, all the way through the booking and finally the deliverable project, the workflow tab lays out and even automates the tasks it takes to complete your businesses projects. How amazing is that? Trust me, if you’re just starting out or even have been in business for a while, you’ll know immediately how necessary and valuable just this part alone really is.
Why is that valuable? Well, imagine going through 13 steps for each client. No problem with using pen and paper, right? But, as you grow, as your company grows, on boarding more than one client becomes overwhelming and confusing. Where is that email for client 3 and where are we with client 4? Common questions as you become more successful. The workflow is a checked list that crosses off and automatically moves your client and you, through the process you’ve created.
17hats lays everything out in a seamless process form, keeping all contacts, emails, invoices and projects in one place, through workflows! So necessary, especially when juggling more than one client which is what we all want, right?!!
Your business has to keep track of its spending. Whether you have a business account or not, you need to categorize where your money is going every day. The bookkeeping option inside 17hats has not only categorizes for your spending but also generates profit/loss statements, verifies transactions and shows you what money is coming in and what has already come. Why is this important? Your spending habits in your business needs to be outlined for any accountant or tax professional. Instead of having to go back months and months, your statements and transactions are already ready to go. Amazing when tax time or even evaluation time comes around. It’s a boring part of business but it’s absolutely necessary.
Once clients come through the lead process and then are moving onto becoming a client, it would be tiresome and even time consuming to go to another service to then send out quotes, contracts and invoices. 17hats makes it easy housing all these documents in one place.
Designing your own quotes for each client, gives your business the option to customize pricing for each client. An awesome thing for on boarding one client at a time. But, again when your business grows, you need a better solution. While, you have just one client, or even just one prospect/lead, this is the time to try out and experiment/test your process. When you have five clients at one time is not the time to see how the quoting, contracts and invoicing process works.
This is why 17hats makes it super easy to save products (service based or otherwise.) When you save a product, you can then select that same product or service for the next client. Your contracts are right after the quote and so thereafter is the invoice so that your client knows: one, you’re a professional and serious about your business, but most importantly, it’s the easiest way for you to get paid quickly and seamlessly.
I use the word seamlessly a lot here but it’s honestly the best word to describe what my clients have said about what I offer. That, I owe to 17hats.
We have so many small moving pieces when it comes to running a full time creative business, you have to look for systems and softwares, tools and resources that make even part of your day easier. The first thing to work hard on is your process. Your client’s experience is the one that that will produce sustainability in your creative business. 17hats is the powerhouse that powers small businesses and is our number one CRM (client relationship management) software!
To your continued success,
Niché + Shameka
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