Time tracking software opens up a whole host of possibilities for the small businessperson. In order to get the most out of it, you have to get yourself out of the mindset that time tracking software is really only useful for one thing. Most people look at this type of software and they essentially think of it as a scheduling program with a few more bells and whistles. It is far more than this, if it is used properly.
The Startup Phase and Social Marketing
When people start up a small business, they’ll generally look to the least expensive forms of marketing to get their name out there. Oftentimes, in today’s world, this means utilizing social media sites to publicize one’s business.
The big advantage in using these sites is that some marketing can be accomplished without really paying any money. The disadvantage is that small business people oftentimes forget the fact that the time they spend working the social media sites is exactly the equivalent of money. For a small businessperson, any amount of work time that does not generate income is the equivalent of an expense and needs to be assessed as such.
By utilizing time tracking software, a small businessperson can go back and look at records of how much time they spent working those sites and make a determination as to how much they actually got out of it. They may be happy to find out that every minute they spent on those sites was well worth the effort and that they made a lot of money off of it. They may also find out that all of that time they spent on the social media site was essentially wasted. Either way, they can more accurately budget how much time they spend marketing in these venues.
For people who work in a small business – particularly freelancers – it’s very easy to forget how much time one actually spends at work. For example, it’s easy to confuse the amount of time spent sitting behind a computer with the amount of time spent working, which can set up a situation where somebody doesn’t realize exactly how much money they are making relative to the amount of time they spend in their office.
Good time management software allows contractors to punch into a job. Basically, all they have to do is push a button and the timer starts running. When they’re done, they punch out. This allows them to see how much time was actually spent working on a given project and, more specifically, it even allows them to track how much time they spent working on a given phase of a project. If that timer is getting up around the 10 or 12-hour mark and it’s really time to get away from the computer for a while, the small business person will be made aware of this and will be able to give themselves a break. If most of their time behind the computer has been spent doing something other than work, then the reason they may not be making as much money as they expected may be right in front of them.
Communicating to Clients
Depending upon the type of work that a small businessperson does, their clients may have very strict reporting requirements. This is particularly true for people who work in areas such as government contracting. The employer, in such cases, may need to know to the minute how much time was spent on a project, particularly if the small businessperson is working as a subcontractor.
Instead of having to provide information in formats that the client isn’t even able to open or read, some buddy with good time management software will be able to send reports in formats that are readable by anyone with a computer. This means that, when the client makes a call or sends an email insisting that they get information on the amount of time that is been spent on a project, that information can be generated with the click of a button. There is no delay and, in the end, that small businessperson ends up looking like a real professional.
With all of the different activities involved in running a small business, it can be very easy to lose track of things that are becoming problems. For example, if somebody happened to be running a business where they provided statistics for research purposes, a good piece of time tracking software may make it apparent that some statistics take a lot more time to find than others do. When this is the case, people can accurately convey this information to clients and can help to stop problems from ever happening. These types of assessments can be made in a second by looking at visual representations of time spent. If one of those bars on a graph looks like it is way too long compared to the other bars, it’s obvious that there is a problem that needs to be addressed somehow.
Enjoying Self Employment
One of the real advantages to being self-employed is that there is a greater sense of ownership over accomplishments. When you do something well and when a client comes back to you for more work because you did that job well, you get all of the good feeling that comes with that. Time tracking software can actually help people to increase the enjoyment they get out of being self-employed.
Not only will you be able to manage your time better, but you will see where your time went. This helps to avoid creating a situation where you feel like you are spinning your wheels. When you can look back and see that you spent a certain amount of time on a project, you made a certain amount of money off of that time and you can use the data you gathered to be more efficient and more productive in the future, there is a very justified and meaningful sense of accomplishment that is well worth experiencing for any self-employed individual or small businessperson.