Growth, Scaling and Timesheets

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 07/08/2023

This article is about how timesheets are a link between sustainable and gradual growth and scaling of the business. We will be exploring why you don’t want to rush them and why automating small tasks as you go is going to be beneficial in the long run. 

If you ask the owner of a startup what is their biggest goal, more often than not you will hear they aim to grow and scale fast. Sure, to each, these things look different and not many companies will reveal their KPIs, but it’s the aspect of ‘fast’ we want to talk about. While there’s a lot of pressure to quickly grow in order to remain competitive, we don’t believe that’s the right approach. In fact, it brings more issues further down the line.

Of course, growth and scalability should be something companies thrive to achieve, but it must not be rushed. Simply put, when it happens too quickly there are plenty of negative consequences to shoulder, which we will be discussing in this article. We will also share tips on how to control the process, what are the benefits of it and how it will bring you above the competition in the long run.

As the name may suggest, it will be heavily relying on the use of timesheets. But don’t be fooled - it’s not all about time tracking and keeping tabs on productivity. In fact, our main focus is automation. Namely, what should your priorities be and how digital timesheets make a perfect cornerstone to kick off the process of digital transformation within your company. The secret is simple - start small and develop into greater things with time. Now if this has piqued your interest, we invite you to carry on reading…

What’s the Connection?

While growth and scaling are naturally considered to be closely related to one another, you might be asking yourself where do timesheets fit into this? The answer is that a reliable timesheet tool is very much a catalyst when it comes to the other two. Letting them run their course without additional help will lead you to a dead end. 

The most common issue fast scaling companies face is that their progress very quickly becomes too much for them to handle. Simply maintaining the level of service they offer poses a challenge, therefore taking on more clients or projects becomes physically impossible. This, in turn, stumps the company’s growth too. 

Usually, the solution to that becomes team expansion, but there are many issues with it. First of all, new staff will need a period of training before they can fully take over their responsibilities. It’s not great from a financial standpoint too - you won’t be able to scale further before they are ready, meaning you will have to invest without expecting a quick return. Depending on your luck or rather lack of it, there might sometimes be no ROI but further losses instead.

Even if you hit the jackpot and your new hires bring home a couple of hefty projects/clients, it’s only a matter of time until you hit the same wall again. In other words, this is not a sustainable or permanent solution. Throwing automation into a mix, even if it’s a simple timesheet solution, will be more efficient and certainly more long-term than the vicious circle of hiring new people. Let’s talk about how this approach is superior. 

Expand Your Capacity

Most companies stop growing and scaling because they are incapable of onboarding more clients or taking over more projects. Not to mention, they often end up exhausting the workers too, leading to poorer results and dwindling morale. When you use timesheet software, on the other hand, these issues can be solved.

Gradual and Sustainable Scaling

Most companies, especially in the startup environment, feel pressured to scale fast. The concept of quickly acquiring many clients is praised and romanticised as a sign of success, but we disagree. In fact, rapid scaling can be harmful to your business in the long run. When you are first starting off, you should focus on the quality of the services you provide, not the quantity of the clients. It’s more important to establish yourself as a business that delivers bespoke projects rather than one that spreads itself thin across all the clients. 

We’ve already debunked the issue that arises from scaling too quickly. So with that and the above said it’s safe to deduce that the best approach is to scale in a controlled manner. Focus on the quality of services, optimise automation to free up your time and scale at your own pace instead of chasing standards set by somebody else. When you put your customer first, your business will grow and scale naturally. Don’t burn yourself out by onboarding more clients if that’s going to affect your performance. Instead, find a solution to better your process through automation so your quality doesn’t suffer even as you add new projects to your schedule. 

Project-Oriented Teams

No matter how amazing your team is and how talented they are individually, sometimes it will not be enough for the project. Don’t get us wrong - it’s not an issue within your team. It’s just different projects will require different skill sets, timeframes, approaches and other factors. That said, sometimes the team that has successfully delivered a range of projects is simply not suitable for your new one. This is why we advise building teams for projects instead of hoping for the same set of people to continuously deliver the same results.

We might have lost you here - does this mean you need to hire new workers for every project and potentially lay them off after? Yes and no. What we are saying is that you should consider working with contractors, especially in cases when you have a skill gap in your team for a specific project. This way you’ll be acquiring a worker or a few that are vital for delivering the project without having to employ them permanently. If you’re satisfied with their performance, you will most likely be reaching out to them again if their help is needed. It’s a win-win as it’s a short-term mutually beneficial commitment you can return to anytime. 

More FUN Projects

Most of the time companies prioritise profitable projects to generate revenue. As a rule, those that would be considered ‘fun’ barely bring enough money to be considered. Plus, when all your time is spent on the big projects, there is simply no room for those your team would consider exciting. It’s rather depressing to think of it this way, but most people simply accept it as the inevitable reality of work. But here’s a plot twist: it doesn’t have to be like this. You can and should boost your team’s morale by introducing more fun projects without sacrificing the quality of the revenue-driving ones. 

As we keep on harping on - automation saves time. How you choose to use the time you’ve claimed back, however, is completely up to you. You may dedicate it to forging stronger relationships with clients, doing some team-building activities, or, well, taking on yet another project but the one your team will have genuine fun delivering. We believe it’s a great use of your time as reminding your workers of why they love their job is a great prevention of burning out. Not to mention, it still generates revenue and hones your teams’ skills.

Automation Saves the Day

Let’s face it - we all hate admin work, despite knowing full well it’s mandatory. It’s never big, so it’s never viewed as anything but a nuisance. However, the devil is in details, and those little annoying tasks can very quickly lead to your downfall. But fret not - automating them is both easy and highly effective. 

Dangers of Manual Invoicing

Manual invoicing isn’t just highly inefficient in the long run but also comes with certain risks to your business. Naturally, the process itself is among the essentials, especially for companies that provide services and goods to other businesses. In fact, raising manual invoices has been the only practice for decades if not centuries. So, you might be wondering: ‘Why try fixing something that isn’t broken?’ See, just because something isn’t broken, doesn’t mean it’s not outdated. And manual invoicing surely is. First of all, in the current fast-paced environment, every minute matters. Yes, even that one minute it takes you to raise an invoice. And what if you have 50 invoices to deliver? That’s an hour which could be spent developing your business.

Aside from eating up your time, raising invoices manually is also the breeding ground for mistakes. Typos happen, everyone gets lost in their thoughts now and then, data gets typed into the wrong places, etc - we get it. However, when it comes to money and services, it’s often forgotten that there are humans on both sides, therefore human error is inevitable. Unless there is no human in the process. Automation of the invoicing process means the data they are based on will be pulled straight from the solution used to record it. If neither process involves a person keying the numbers in, the mistakes are only possible if either the setup or the workflow were set wrong. In other words, if you don’t want to pay the price for your mistakes in reputation and client relationships - automate! 

More Projects, Less Stress

Continuing on the topic of scaling, it’s often only seen as having more clients. In reality, however, it also translates into having more projects, even if they all come from the same client. But here’s the difference - it’s easier to balance multiple projects than it is to continuously delight different clients while being crushed by deadlines and expectations. And the thing is, you don’t have to be under pressure at all times either. Automation enables you to take on more projects and switch through them without additional effort. The reality is that there are many moving parts within every project and almost each of them can be either fully or partially automated. Only often smaller tasks get dismissed as not worthy of automation due to their insignificance.

Now that’s exactly where most companies shoot themselves in the foot. It is precisely those small operations you should automate first as. They are often the biggest offenders when it comes to huge time losses no one seems to be able to backtrack. There are a couple of reasons you should focus on them. First of all, they are relatively easy to automate as they often only consist of a couple of steps. Secondly, they make the majority of processes - when you automate a big chunk of these simple tasks, you end up having a lot getting done without realising it. And as we’ve already harped on - it saves time tons of time you can use for better things than, for example, keying the data in. 

Painless Client Onboarding

Finally, we know the pain of onboarding the client. From understanding their needs to setting up a communication platform to collecting all the required documentation and finally payments. There’s a lot of work that goes into starting to work with someone. Alas, from both legal and transparency standpoints, as well as ensuring all goes smoothly further down the line, this is not a process you can skip. As dreadful as it is. What you can do, however, is make it smoother and easier. By that, as you must have guessed already, we mean automating it. Not only does it make the process quicker but also helps you be more organised.

First of all, you can forget all about the paperwork and constant email back and forths, both being major culprits of files getting lost. When using an onboarding platform, you set up what documentation is required from the client. From there, it’s a hands-off process during which they simply upload the requested documents. And they then get stored in a centralised location, ready for you to access anytime. It becomes super handy for audits or when you need to confirm the details. Secondly, this can also serve as a platform where you both share files as the project progresses. This gives transparency as well as better control over client communication and quicker solutions if any issues arise.

The Route of Digital Transformation

Digital timesheets are not the only tool you will need to bring your business to the next level. But they are a good place to start. The reason is that one solution, even with the most basic functionality, is packed with a plethora of automation options you can incorporate across multiple processes. Additionally, it’s a goldmine of data, one of the components crucial for continuously optimising the business for best performance. What’s more, they are usually very easy to combine with other digital solutions.

Digital transformation isn’t a one-off thing to do. It’s a process. It’s not just an introduction of digitisation and automation but also constant analysis and tinkering with its efficiency. To explain it on a very basic level, when you automate, the process begins collecting and crunching data. Based on it you can identify the gaps and opportunities in your strategy. Once you’ve addressed them and adjusted the process, the cycle starts again. Given online timesheets are heavily oriented around data collection and repurposing across multiple business operations, this solution alone can offer many actionable insights that have the potential to become the cornerstone of your further business improvements. 

Key Takeaway 

While growing and scaling are two concepts often lumped together, not many people consider timesheets to be the link between the two, as well as the driving force. Most businesses usually prioritise quick growth and scaling, alas this is not the best approach. Ultimately, they hit the wall as they cannot handle the volumes. Expanding the team is a temporary solution, whereas the right software, especially timesheets, is more long-term and leads to gradual improvements. 

Most timesheet software doesn’t just track time but also allows you to automate a variety of tasks based on the data it collects. For example - client invoicing. The main benefit of automating small tasks is that they usually come in big volumes and then despite their simplicity they eat up a lot of time. With it claimed back you can focus on more important things such as nourishing client relationships or boosting the team’s morale by taking on more fun projects. 

Digitisation is the way forward for modern businesses. It’s not another item to cross out of your to-do list but rather an ongoing process that focuses on data collection, analysis and optimisation. The cycle is continuous, therefore leading to constant improvements and gradual, sustainable growth. Most timesheet solutions offer a variety of modules to choose from to aid your journey. After all, you know best what your business needs. 

Timesheet Portal sure has a lot in store for businesses across all industries. And we invite you to explore it.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.