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17hats Education / Entrepreneurship

Start 2021 Right: Five Must Set-Up Features

17hats is a robust platform. Features (big and small) are released so often that many members aren’t aware of what all is possible within 17hats.

Hey, I get it – you’re busy. Many of you may be so wrapped up in making your business work that you haven’t made time to explore beyond the basics. 

But some features are too important to pass up. With just a little additional effort, you’ll gain time, efficiency, and valuable insights into your business.

Besides, it’s the beginning of the year! It’s the perfect time to make sure that you’re getting the most out of 17hats, as you build a foundation for the year ahead.

With all that in mind, here are five must set-up features for 2021. 

1. Make the switch

High on the list? Switching from PayPal to Stripe or Square.

I know, I know – for you PayPal users out there, this is a hard one. People in general do not like change. But this is a switch worth making, for many reasons. 

For starters, with Stripe and Square, you have access to advanced features inside 17hats. Features such as Tipping, Saved Card Data, and Recurring Billing will make your life easier, but only members who use Square and Stripe are able to reap the benefits.

Also, Stripe and Square are more reliable, in my opinion. It’s also been my experience that, when disputes arise, Stripe and Square are more likely to side with business owners than with disgruntled customers. (Despite what the old adage says, the customer isn’t always right.)

I know that change can be hard, but switching from PayPal to Stripe or Square is a must-do if you’re looking to further automate your invoicing process. 

2. Tag, tag, and tag

In 17hats, you can add Contact Tags and Project Tags, then use those Tags to sort within the Contacts, Projects, and Recent Client Activity pages. This comes in super-handy when you want to apply bulk actions from the Project Page. 

Tags

For existing Contact and Project Data, I suggest adding and removing Tags through Bulk Actions on the Project Page.

For new Contact and Project Data, I suggest that Tags be automated, through the use of Lead Capture Forms and Online Scheduling. 

Not sure what to tag? While our members go wild with Tags, I suggest at a minimum to tag the Contact with the year of inquiry, and from where they inquired. This can be done through your Lead Capture Form.

I would then suggest Tagging the Project with the year of the service and the revenue stream. 

By having these Tags, you can easily follow up at the end of the year, by Searching Tags and then applying a bulk action. 

3. Understand your income with Income Categories

Income Categories

At the end of the year, understanding your income is extremely important. And while you can access your Profit and Loss Report, Sales Tax, Client Sales, and Product Sales reports, you also want to get down to the nitty-gritty. Where is your money actually coming from?

This is what Income Categories are for. Create an Income Category for each revenue stream you offer. Do you offer a service? Products? Or maybe à la carte items? Make an income category for each one. 

By doing so, you know exactly which category is bringing in the most revenue. This will help you decide which categories you can stop offering the following year, or, better still, which profitable category you need to promote.

When you use Income Categories, you’ll be able to make business decisions based on data – instead of assumptions. 

4. Clean your account

There is nothing more frustrating than a messy desk – or a messy 17hats account.

Take the time and bulk-archive your completed Projects. You can even archive Contacts that you no longer work with.

Bulk Archive

Don’t let that word, Archiving, scare you. All you are doing is “filing it away in a different drawer.” The information is not deleted, and you can always un-archive it if you need the Project later. With a click of the Unarchive button – voilà – all your data is accessible again.

Archiving Projects will remove To-Dos, Calendar entries, Workflow items, and alerts on your Dashboard. That way, you’re no longer annoyed by things you forgot to check off. 

If you find your Dashboard getting a little cluttered under the Let’s Take Care of Business section, you can opt to Snooze individual alerts, or a section of alerts. By selecting Remind Me Never, it means you are having it go away … well, forever. I would not suggest a Remind Never for the whole section, but it can be a good solution for some individual alerts.  

Finally: Do you have too much happening in your Templates?

Let’s face it – many of us are template hoarders. We created one template, and we used it. Then an improvement occurred to us, and we created a new template. Sure, we could delete the old one. “But what if I need to go back to it?” I can hear some of you saying.

Not to worry. That’s precisely why we added Archive Templates early last year. Just like Archiving Projects and Contacts, Archiving Templates simply means that the old template will be moved into a different folder. You can always un-archive it, if need be. 

5. Automate your Document Reminders

The mark of a great client experience is communication. But, as small business owners, we sometimes get too busy and drop the ball. That’s why 17hats builds in ways to automate communication. 

While you can automate the client reminders for Questionnaires, Quotes, Invoices, and Contracts coming due, I think the most important one of those is Invoices. After all, if clients aren’t paying you on time, they may need to be nudged.

Go ahead and navigate over to Account Settings > Email Settings > Reminders and make sure that “Set reminder – Past Due” is turned on under INVOICE REMINDERS.

Invoice Reminders

You can also customize the reminder message with Tokens, such a Invoice #, Outstanding Amount, and Due Date. That way, the reminder email includes all the information that clients need to take action.

Speaking of taking action, the reminder email includes a link to the Invoice itself at the bottom. So with just a click, your clients can take steps to get you paid! 

Start your year off strong

There you have it – five easy, must-take steps to get the most out of 17hats in 2021.

Maybe you had already accomplished one or more of the tasks above. Way to go, if so – you’re on your way to being a 17hats super-user!

But even if all five boxes remain unchecked for you at the moment, don’t worry. With just a little effort, you can get 17hats firing on all cylinders in 2021.

You’ll be glad you did!