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Teamwork for your Design Business

If you are vowing to start the new year with the intention of being more organized and prepared to grow, we are right there with you. As you know, working as virtual assistants supporting designers, we get exposure to a variety of great systems to help you organize and streamline your business. We take note, and along the way, we have developed some favorites...but there is one in particular that stands out! This post may contain affiliate links, but I assure you, we only share about products we love and use ourselves!

If you have been working with us recently, you have had some base level exposure to Teamwork. We use this program for team communication, client communication, organization, document storage, and efficient sharing. Admittedly, this program is SO robust that it can be intimidating to learn at first, but I assure you if you have an interest in growing your business beyond a 1-man-show, integrating this program into your process is a great start. Let me tell you a few of the reasons we LOVE Teamwork for designers:

1)Templates- Teamworks allows templates to be created for projects, tasks, and task lists to name a few. For project templates, you can create task lists for each step of introducing a new client to your team. Beyond having a template for the layout of your project, you can add pre-loaded documents, page links, and task assignees so each person is notified of their assigned role when you create the project and it is clear who is responsible for each part of the process. We also like to use task list templates to walk our team members through more complicated tasks, like fabric orders, to help ensure that little details don't drop off and our team has a reminder of our process each step of the way.

2) Easy Communication- Teamwork has a chat feature that works as easily as a text message on your phone and is easily accessible from your desktop. Our team works all over the United States in all different time zones. We constantly use the chat feature to communicate with each other to quickly ask questions and pass along information, and to communicate with our designers. Added bonus: if the content of the message develops into a task, the task can be created directly from the chat.

3) Integrations: Teamwork integrates with popular programs like Gmail and Dropbox. If your email is hosted in Gmail, you can add tasks directly from your Gmail by using an extension in Chrome. Imagine adding a task from your team without ever leaving your inbox or having to worry about a lost email. You have the option to attach the email to the task as well as the documents included in that email, adding an assignee, a description of what is needed, and a due date. Documents are easily shared when you integrate Dropbox with Teamwork. You can link documents from your dropbox to a task so the assignee has access or add documents to dropbox directly from Teamwork. SO EASY!

4) Tags: Tags allow you to fully customize your experience, and this is where things start to get REALLY good. You can create tags to filter out information so you can easily find the information you need quickly. We do a lot of product orders and tracking for our clients, so we use tags like "To Be Ordered", "Ordered" "Delivered" to indicate the status for ordered items or we create tags from team members and designers so they know when their attention is needed on something.

5) Spaces: I'll be the first to admit that it may not always be ideal to add your design client to their Teamwork project. It can have a bit of a learning curve and you might need to be extra vigilant with what information the client has access to. That is where Teamwork Spaces comes in. This can be considered as your Client Portal if you will. In Spaces you can create a project workbook or binder for your client to have access to and comment on. You can assign tasks, attach documents for client review, and image galleries for an easy, consolidated client presentation. Store all spec information here, like room colors and finishes, appliances specs, and floorplans and when the project comes to a close, the entire Space can be printed or saved as a PDF for the client to take with them. This is not part of the base Teamwork package but is so worth the low additional cost.

6) Desk: Teamwork Desk allows emails and client communication to be managed more efficiently. We talked about how you can add tasks directly from your Gmail before, but in Desk, you can have a central hub for emails and then move or assign them to different team member's email boxes to easily hand off the task or ticket. Link an email communication to an existing task so your team has easy access to ongoing information or create a task directly from that message. Desk helps to eliminate cross-communication and lost emails. Again, this service is not part of the base services, but totally worth the small additional charge.

7) Efficient Time Tracking/ Quickbooks Integration: Each team member can track their time in various ways. You can add a time block directly, you can start/pause/end time from within a task, start a general timer from your dashboard, and track from the app on your phone. You can then add all time to an invoice from within teamwork and export it to your Quickbooks to bill your client. Certain subscriptions even allow you to create time budgets so you can closely monitor how much time you are spending on a project with a given timeframe to make sure you are billing accurately, which is especially helpful for my flat-rate friends out there.

While these are some of our favorite services, this is just the tip of the iceberg! My Design Assistant will soon be offering Teamwork Set-up packages for designers ready to take that next step. We'll keep you posted in our Newsletters as we develop this new program! 2021, here we come!

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