If you’ve been debating whether or not to start using a time tracker for your business, the answer is yes, if you’re in a service-based business where your projects depend on an hourly input, you do need a time tracker - and you probably already know it.
Not surprisingly, billions of dollars are shaved off the economy each year because team members are not tracking their time accurately. It’s easy to do. We’re all busy. We all believe we’re working as hard as we can. We all feel bad when client projects run over time and most of us are too scared to ask our clients to fund our shortfall anyway.
But that’s the beauty of time tracking: the more you track your time, the more you learn what projects are likely to run over budget and the smarter you get about budget estimations for future client jobs.
If you still need a list of reasons to track time in your business, here are our top three:
1. To stop losing money
A few months ago, we asked our customers why they pay for Trigger as their time tracking and project management solution. The most common response we got was “because, before Trigger, we were losing money by overservicing clients”. So many customers said the same thing that we actually changed the words on our home page to mirror what we were hearing from our customers.
The reality of most small and medium sized businesses is that, if we’re honest with ourselves, we underestimate a lot of client jobs and we end up overservicing clients and losing money.
But by the time we realise that, it’s often too late to do anything about it. Contracts are signed and personal relationships are built. To rock the boat and ask clients for more money is always a risky move and most of us choose to wear the loss and hope we’ll get it better next time.
But that’s the thing. We can’t just hope we’ll estimate better next time. We need to be accurately time tracking every single task and project so we can learn how to estimate better next time - and the time after that - and that time after that.
2. To see what’s really going on in your business
Let’s say you have a senior team member named Jennifer. She’s an awesome asset for your team and delivers exceptional work, every time. But the problem is that it always takes Jennifer longer to complete projects and tasks than you would expect, and you don’t know why.
By enabling Jennifer to track her time, you and Jennifer will start to learn what tasks are taking her the most time and what tasks she could potentially delegate to another team member - or to a cheaper, external resource.
For example, if Jennifer is spending 10 hours doing online research that a freelancer could do for half the price, a time tracking app can help you identify this and take action early, before Jennifer becomes overwhelmed and runs behind deadline on the work where her expertise is needed more.
You may think “well, it’s only 10 hours we’re talking about”. But every “only 10 hours” adds up and that’s exactly the kind of trend that a report from a clever time tracking tool like Trigger can help you identify and rectify asap.
Or let’s say that you are Jennifer…
You know that you are given 101 things to do for each project but when you ask for more resources, in the heat of the meeting, you find it hard to quantify exactly how much time you spend on what and it’s frustrating to not be able to articulate what’s really going in on your work desk - because you haven’t been accurately tracking it.
If you’re Jennifer, a time tracker could genuinely relieve some of your pain because when you (and your manager) run reports on how long it takes to perform certain tasks, it will be much easier to say, “See, those client liaison calls are eating so much into my work time that it’s impossible for me to get everything done on time, unless I get some help with either the client calls or with some of my other tasks.”
3. To boost team performance
Even for high performers, there’s nothing like vanity metrics to encourage team members to work at their highest capacity. Before Trigger, I confess that I’d never used a time tracker. I’d always been a high performer, so I thought the concept was irrelevant for me. How wrong I was. Now that I use Trigger to track time on my work tasks, I’ll often work extra time before logging off at the end of the day, because I hate seeing a low hours count on my profile and I always want to feel better about my data count.
Here’s another example of the power of vanity metrics…
Some time ago, I watched a video of lecture 14 in Sam Altman’s How To Start A Startup series at Stanford University, where Keith Rabois (a former exec at PayPal, Slide, Square and LinkedIn) told a vanity metrics story. He said that when he was at LinkedIn, the personal profile button was not easy to find on the LinkedIn home page. Yet, despite that, 25% of clicks from the home page every day were to a user’s personal profile, because people love looking at and improving their data!
Want to start tracking your time?
Trigger is one of many low cost, cloud-based solutions that can help you track time and help stop your company losing money.
What makes us different from our competitors?
Trigger integrates time tracking with project management. This means that time is not logged in dummy time buckets - instead, time is always logged against a real task, project and company, which makes it easier to manage your projects and know what’s really going on in your business. So, if know you need a time tracker and you want to help your business stop overservicing clients, why not try Trigger today?
30-day free trial. No contracts. No credit card required.
And we’re really nice people too!