Improve Your Consulting Business with Time Tracking
Trends in Consultancy
Consultants’ services are increasingly in demand. Consultancy is now worth 10 billion in the UK alone and 2 billion of this is spent on hiring independent consultants. Companies value the additional knowledge and expert power that a consultant can bring to the organization helping them in a range of different ways from setting up IT systems to getting a new project off the ground.
Independent consultants, in particular, are valued because they often offer greater flexibility than you would get when hiring an established consultancy firm. In fact, according to a recent survey, many businesses said that flexibility was the key factor in deciding to hire an independent consultant with the price coming second.
Whether you are starting out as a consultant in your chosen field, or if you are further along in your career, one of the keys to being a successful consultant is good time management. And that is why more consultants are opting to use one of the many types of time tracking software available.
Best for You
Using time tracking software helps you know exactly how much time you spend on a job. It lets you know if you are meeting your targets and gives you an early warning if you are at risk of falling behind schedule.
When the job is finished you can use the information to help you in the future. By monitoring your time you can look at the ways to improve your productivity.
It also allows you to estimate and price jobs with more confidence. You will be able to make a realistic estimate of the time involved so won’t end up feeling you have been underpaid. But you also won’t accidentally overcharge so you can be confident that you give your clients value for money.
This is particularly important when you are starting out as a consultant. You may well find that there is a lot of trial and error when it comes to pricing so at least with accurate time tracking at work you will learn from your mistakes.
Best for Your Client
There is probably nothing a client hates more than a job not being delivered on time. By tracking your time accurately that is less likely to happen. If there are any holds ups you will be aware of them right away and be able to make changes or pull in more resources if necessary.
The best time tracking software can provide you with detailed, easy-to-understand reports which show your client exactly what they are paying for. This can include both hours worked and expenses. Clients appreciate this kind of transparency. Hiring a consultant can be a major investment for an organization so it’s great to be able to show them exactly where their money is going.
Best for Your Team
If you work with a team, a time tracker allows you to coordinate your activities so that everyone knows who is doing what. This avoids the possibility of time being wasted on duplicated work. Or worse – something important being overlooked because everyone thought that someone else was doing it.
Another great advantage for your team is that it helps you keep in touch with everything that is going on even when you are away from the office as you will often be, for example traveling to meetings with your client or working on site. You can be available to support your team even when out of the office as you will have an overview of the issues and you can check in on what is happening via your laptop table or phone.
Value for Money
Time tracking apps are designed to meet a wide range of business needs. Before you choose, think of the features you use most as well as thinking ahead to the needs of your growing business. Fortunately, many of the leaders in the field give you the option of a free trial so that you can be sure that it is the right one before you sign up.
There are of course plenty of free options out there but these tend to have limited functionality in the free version. To get all the features you really need you could end up spending just as much money paying for add-ons and extras for a product you only chose because it was free.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the most expensive is necessarily the best either. They may offer an impressive range of features but you could end up paying more for features you will never use. What matters is that it fits your own business needs and is reasonably easy to use. So, before you buy, think about what you need and look at the various options. Take advantage of free trials to get a feel for the product, and then make up your mind.