psyborg® blog

How to Ask for Testimonials

How to Ask for Testimonials

How to ask for Testimonials

What is a Testimonial?

A testimonial is a recommendation from a satisfied customer conveying the performance, quality and value of a service or product. They can be requested for or just given when work has been completed.

 

Why are Testimonials Important?

Testimonials can be an extremely strong and necessary marketing tool.

If a new client or customer is trying to decide whether to choose to work with you, then a few good testimonials can prove that you really are the right choice.

When perspective clients or customers are searching for an expert they often visit webpages, social media, Facebook reviews, GoogleMyBusiness reviews to learn what quality to expect from a business, and essentially decide whether or not they will choose that business to give their work to.

 

What Type of Testimonials are Out There?

Testimonials can be text, image, or video. While a written testimonial is the most common form of testimonials, images and videos can be very effectives as well. Images may be of a client using their purchase or showing a final product. In my line of business it might be a client standing in front of a sign I created. Often images will include a written testimonial as well stating why they are happy with the completed work. Videos can be great because unlike written content, you can see the customers expression and passion for what they are talking about. It is good to keep all forms in mind when asking for a testimonial and perhaps give the client the option.

There are some 3rd party review sites where testimonials can also appear. These generally rate a particular profession though and unless you are in that profession and keeping an eye online to see if any reviews have been written they may or may not work for your business. Some of these include Rate My Agent, FourSquare, TripAdvisor, GoogleMyBusiness, Yelp and more.

Also tools such as Facebook & GoogleMyBusiness reviews are becoming more and more popular and you can choose to put testimonials on your businesses website.

 

How to Ask for a Testimonial?

Firstly make sure you are testimonial worthy! Make sure you do a great job consistently! You should work like everyone you work for is going to review your business. This way you should never have a bad testimonial and you can ask everyone for a testimonial.

It’s pretty easy to get testimonials and no harm in asking. Not everyone has the time to do one and people are forgetful so don’t push it but, at the end of a job, ask for it in a survey form via an email with a link to the form. Surveys are easy to create, easy to fill out and can give some great information about a business. Within the survey a written section can give more detail and be used on your websites or social media if desired (ask permission in the survey). Also if some negatives do come up in the survey you can either work to rectify the issue or keep it in mind for future business dealings.

If you are after reviews on GoogleMyBusiness or the like then give written instructions with screen shots on how to complete it and offer a discount or a gift to encourage clients to do it.

An example of how to do this is… you could offer a box of chocolates with a note on the lid explaining how to give a review on GoogleMyBusiness, this could be a small flyer with graphics showing the steps. This would be effective because every time the customer has a chocolate you are reminding the customer to write the review. It may take a little while but no doubt by the time the customer has finished the box of chocolates the review would have been made. 

 

To Sum Up

Word of mouth is an amazing advertising tool. Testimonials aid in this as it can help build and promote a business giving it credibility. Remember to work like everyone is reviewing your business and don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial at the end of customer interaction! This is made a lot easier by coming up with a system for asking that could involve templated emails, online surveys and carrot to encourage the user to take action. Check out some of my testimonials at psyborg®.  

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Two new ways to advertise your business online

Two new ways to advertise your business online

Two new ways to advertise your business online

Two new ways to advertise your business online

Google Remarketing and Facebook Pixel are two relatively new methods businesses can use to advertise online and digitally. These methods are very powerful but not many businesses are aware of them or the benefits they can have to a business.

What is Google Remarketing?

Have you ever searched for a product to purchase and a day or two later notice it keeps popping up in ads online? This is remarketing. Remarketing helps you reach people who have visited your website or used your app.

Remarketing is a clever way to connect visitors to your website who may not have made an immediate purchase or enquiry. It allows you to position targeted ads in front of a defined audience that had previously shown interest in your website, as they browse elsewhere around the internet.

How can you leverage Google Remarketing for your advertising dollar?

When done right, remarketing can be a powerful tool that will draw in customers/clients. How you set up your remarketing campaign depends on your business and the types of customers that you want to grab the attention of.

What is great about Google Remarketing is that you are in control and there are many aspects you can set to reach the audience you want to and get the outcomes required.

For example if you want to reach everyone that visits your webpage you can do this. This is the most basic way to remarket. So Jane visits your webpage, next time she is online your ad will appear on other webpages she visits.

There are many different strategies you can also set with google remarketing. For example maybe you only want to reach customers who did not purchase a product or contact the business (visitor who did not convert), or you only want to reach those visitors with abandoned shopping carts to try and get the sale.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the lists you can create in Google Remarketing.

You can also pick locations for your ads so you are not reaching an international audience if that is not what you are after. Another great tool is you can reach an audience within a certain time frame, so if perhaps they purchase something that may need restocking in 90 days time like makeup or body lotion then you can make it so the ad will appear in 90 days time. You can also set ads to appear at a specific time of the day or night. This is beneficial if you are targeting a certain audience who you know spends more time online at a certain time of day, for example students.

There are many structures you can tailor to meet the needs of your business and here is a good list of them.

While researching I also found this bit of fun, check out who is retargeting you. Search a few sites and then have another look!

What is Facebook Pixel?

Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you can place on your website to report conversions, build audiences and get rich insights about how people are using your website. With Facebook Pixel, you can; 

  • Measure cross-device conversions
  • Optimise delivery to people likely to take action
  • Automatically build audiences for website visitors to retarget
  • Create ‘look-a-like’ audiences and
  • Run dynamic product ads and access audience Insights

Source; Facebook Business

How can you leverage Facebook pixel for your advertising dollar?

Because so many people (c’mon almost everyone) has a Facebook account that they are always logged into, Facebook pixel is a great advertising tool. This is how it works; if I am logged into Facebook on any device, and I use that device to search a website then Facebook pixel tracks it. It knows what websites I have visited, what pages on the site I viewed, what time of the day I did it, whether I purchased an item etc. Using this information you can build target audiences to advertise toward on Facebook and Facebook Pixel can advertise to them no matter what device they are using as long as it is logged in with Facebook. 

Like google remarketing you can customise your Facebook pixel to be most effective for your business. You can make different ads to target particular audiences, i.e. if you sell mens and womens clothes you don’t want your mens ad going to someone who has been searching your womens page, a conversion is unlikely.

One of the great tools on Facebook Pixel is creating ‘look-a-like’ audiences. This is exactly how it sounds. Once you have an audience, (a list of people who have already visited your website), you can create a look-a-like audience, people who resemble those who have already visited your website. This allows you to reach people who may not have found your site but may be interested in it based on the data received about your audience. So based on gender, age, location etc. You can imagine the possibilities that lie behind this tool!

To Sum up!

Advertising has been around for ages and it has changed and continues to change with the times. Google Remarketing and Facebook Pixel are the latest in these advertising tools. They enable businesses to ‘chase’ customers, help to make conversions and also hunt out new and interested customers. This is advertising with inteligence. If you think this may help your business and need help in setting up a digital campaign be sure to get intouch! 

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Source; Wikipedia

Content marketing can help build trust and generate business. Unlike other marketing, content marketing must give customers something useful… content! It is not focussed on producing demand for a new need or product but rather focussed on giving something valuable to new and old customers.

Why Spend Time on Content Marketing?

In essence by using content marketing (blogging, social media, videos, podcasts) you are becoming known as an expert to potential opportunities, establishing your credibility, building up trust and making it easier for the purchaser to make a decision. Content Marketing is the practice of supplying targeted, relevant and sharable content to your audience in the hope that it will be shared, liked and enquired about.

If content marketing is done right then you will build trust, which in tern will expand your customer base and increase brand awareness and credibility.

For a quick guide to Content Marketing check this out.

How Does Content Marketing Build Trust?

Creating content that is aimed at helping your customer base will build trust because the brand will be seen as giving useful information and therefore will be seen as transparent. As long as the information you produce is authentic and credible then it will build trust amongst the clientele that are viewing it.

It also allows you to build a ‘following’ or community as you become seen as an expert in your field. The community will continue to grow if you consistently share information to help those who are following you, in-turn they share the information and it keeps going giving you a bigger following and generating trust amongst your followers who view you as the expert in your field.

When people read your articles, follow you on the relevant social media and become part of your professional community they begin to ‘know’ you and will potentially trust you over the name and phone number that could be pulled from the yellow pages or somewhere else online. It also makes you more approachable to your community and potential customers are more likely to get in touch if they are in need of assistance.

Why is Trust Important?

I don’t actually think I need to answer this question as I put it here more to be rhetorical and get you thinking about the importance of trust. Obviously people are more likely to go with someone they trust than someone they do not know and content marketing will help get you over that line, from stranger to trustworthy.

The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

The Speed Of Trust

The Speed of Trust is one of my favourite books (by Stephen Covey) and goes into depth on different kinds of trust and the underlying importance of trust. It is a real eye opener on trust and looks at it not only in relationships with those you are close with but more from professional perspective. Convey asserts, 

“The ability to establish, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders – customers, business partners, investors and coworkers – is the key leadership competency of the new, global economy.” Speed of Trust

To Sum Up

While content marketing does take time I find the rewards are worth it. I also see it as a bit of fun and it feels less like work than I initially thought. I write about things I am passionate about and get excited when I see a need of a customer that I know I can meet. Not to mention the new clients I meet along the way!

In summary the quicker you can build trust with your customer base the quicker you have an opportunity to help solve your customers problems and isn’t that what business is all about.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Engineering your business

Engineering your business

Engineering Your Business

Engineering Your Business

Back in 1995, 20 years ago, I did an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering when I first left High School.

Being a wide eyed 19 year old, I did not really know what I was getting myself into, in fact I thought Industrial Engineering was something to do with Industrial Design which I was quite good at in high school. But I was wrong, very wrong.

Little did I know that Industrial Engineering is actually about the optimisation of processes, systems or organisations. That industrial engineers work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, man-hours, machine time, energy and other resources that do not generate value. According to the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, they figure out how to do things better, they engineer processes and systems that improve quality and productivity. – Source Wikipedia. Little did I know that the skills I was learning would be so valuable to me in small business many years later. In fact I had no idea how I would ever apply them, but I did not want to give up on something that I had started.

Another weird thing was that the Associate Diploma of Industrial Engineering was only offered at the Hunter Tafe for 3-4 years to support manufacturing industries in Newcastle at the time so the course was ended just after I got my Associate Diploma.

Typically Industrial Engineers are employed by large blue chip corporations, think Samsung, General Electric, Apple, Johnson & Johnson etc. In fact did you know that Tim Cook, the head of Apple, the most successful company on the planet is a qualified Industrial Engineer. However, that being said there is nothing stopping Industrial Engineers from working in small business or even micro business. For example a project I remember working on back in my Tafe days was where we had to study how you would toast bread and work out the optimum way that you could efficiently toast bread by studying the toasting process through Industrial Engineering techniques and tools such as Modapts. So if you can optimise Toast, you can optimise any process. Let’s face it, a process is just a series of steps for someone to get from A to B and a small business is filled with hundreds of processes.

In this article I will touch on how I have used Industrial Engineering, the diploma I had no idea what to do with, to engineer and optimise my design business.

Quality Control

Quality control (QC) is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. –Source Wikipedia

So QC is basically the testing of a product before it goes to a customer. All companies who produce something should do this. While I don’t produce a product it is still very important to check my work and test the functions on websites. If I were to send something off to be printed that contained a fault (i.e. spelling mistake, wrong phone number etc) it could result in a costly mistake as I would need to provide reprints. It may mean a customer does not receive their product on time and in the long term loss of business for me as many of my jobs are referral based.

To help with my quality control I have a checklist and process flow chart. So before I finalise a job like making a website live I check it over thoroughly. I go through a checklist I have compiled for the job to make sure I have included everything the customer has requested, and I go through my process flow chart and it is not until I am satisfied with the quality of the work, that I then set it to go live.

I expect QC from businesses I use too. The business that I use to print my work needs to make sure their equipment has done the job at a high quality. The coffee shop I go to needs to put the right amount of sugars in my coffee. The computer I use needs to turn on every day. I’m sure all these places have a means of quality control. The print shop looks at the work to see it’s printed properly, the coffee shop double checks the order to make sure it has been made correctly, the computer place tests each computer to make sure they are in working order and that is only once a prototype has been proven to work and last the distance. If they failed at their quality control I would stop using them.

Think of all the big brands out there, they are big because they have continued to make quality products and have built a strong name. I buy products because I know the brand that makes them are of high quality, and this comes down to their quality control.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes or defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers. –Source Wikipedia

So while quality control is checking the quality of each product produced, quality assurance in maintaining that desired level of quality through different processes. A quick example of this is the coffee shop. While QC is checking the final order is correct, QA is the processes that have been set in place to make that coffee the best it can be. The machine used, the brand of coffee used, the brand of milk used, the person who makes it is qualified… all the processes that have been put in place and are known to come together to make a nice, quality beverage.

While I do not ‘manufacture products’ per-say, I have again been able to apply the concept to my business of branding, graphic design & web development. I have set processes in place to maintain my level of communication with customers and make sure attention to detail is payed with each customer or project I am working on. This helps maintain a level of quality, and also saves time. So I have a generic email sent to new customers, a generic quote I can customise for work, a set of steps I follow for each new job, I even have a generic email to go out for overdue accounts. Once I was happy with the quality of these documents I was able to confidently and quickly send them out, enabling QA.

I also use procedures to enable QA too. Each time I set up a new website I have a procedure I follow and a list of things I use for each website I design. I do this because I know what apps I like to use and what plugins work. Having the procedures in place means each time I set up a new site I can follow the steps ensuring I don’t miss or forget an important factor. If I was swapping and changing these details for each new website I could run into many problems, it is these processes that give my business quality assurance and I can produce quality work. Using procedures also allows someone else to walk in and set up a website or send a quote efficiently. I can then check this later on as part of my quality control.

Time Management

Time management is essential for the growth of business. If I took a month to finalise just one job then I couldn’t grow my business, or even afford to maintain my business. To assist me with time management I use timesheets. Timesheets help me to stay on track and see how long jobs take me to complete. To be able to tell a customer I can complete a job by a deadline time management is essential. To grow my small business I must be able to take on more work, and this also comes down to time management.

I have also analysed my timesheets to optimise my business. Basically I analysed my timesheets in great detail using spreadsheets and graphs and worked out how I could get more time for my business and less time on things that were not growing my business like admin. I used the information I found to set up more processes and increase my productivity. Read more about the Hidden Value Of Keeping Timesheets here.

Just In Time Manufacturing

Just in time manufacturing is a methodology aimed primarily at reducing flow times within production as well as response times from suppliers to customers. –Source Wikipedia

While my business doesn’t manufacture products that are needed just in time I have applied this methodology in another area of my business. I call it Just in Time Learning. This is the process of utilising the internet and it’s resources to learn what is needed when it is needed. So if I were to use a new app that a customer had requested and I can’t find my way around it, a simple YouTube video or web search would have me getting the job done in no time at all. I can take on work with no hesitation as I know the answers to all my questions are on the World Wide Web.

Continuous Improvement

Another keystone of Industrial Engineering is the Japanese philosophy of Kaizan, which translates to change for the better or continuous improvement. This has evolved into a business philosophy which applies continuous improvement in the areas of efficiency and quality. This means that businesses do not have to feel they need to get from A to B in one large step but rather through many, many little steps. As long as you are changing your processes, systems, products and services a little at a time for the better, Kaizan states that over a long time the business will look dramatically different from when it started. A side benefit to this philosophy is that you can tweak the business to quickly move in new directions if necessary.

In Summary

When I started the Industrial Engineering Associate Diploma I thought I’d made a bit of a mistake and for a while believed it was a waste of my time as it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. Now I look back at it as one of the best mistakes I made. My business owes a lot of it’s success to that Diploma and what it taught me about optimising my business.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Just in time learning

Just in time learning

Just in time learning

Just in time learning

The internet has become a great tool with a variety of uses. We use it to connect with people through email, social media, dating sites, video link and in so many other ways. We use it to sell products and to shop for pretty much anything we want. It has many uses but probably the biggest and most beneficial use is the information it holds. The internet has given us the ability to learn, and learn quickly. The web enables us to learn ‘Just in Time’ for when we need to get something done.

You can pretty much learn anything online, from how to solve maths equations to how to build a kitchen, what fashion suits your body shape or how to cook a 5 star meal or how to fly an aeroplane and how to service your car. Seriously, think of something random, Google it, and I am sure someone out there has put up something on the topic. I just searched ‘how to dissect an ant’ and was surprised at the amount of YouTube clips and web pages that came up.

Just in time manufacturing

Back in my industrial engineering days I learned about a concept known as ‘Just in time manufacturing’. Just in time manufacturing is a methodology aimed primarily at reducing flow times within production as well as response times from suppliers to customers, Ref: Wikipedia.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s, just in time manufacturing started in Japan and by the 80’s it had migrated to the western industry and its features were put into many big companies. This new tool allowed for the quick manufacturing of products which reduced flow times and costs. If a part was needed it was able to be delivered just in time to be installed. No longer did huge storage sheds full of parts need to be around or the long wait for parts as we had the ability to get the part manufactured quickly once it was ordered.

I think of Just in Time Learning in much the same way. It is reducing the amount of time it takes for work to be carried out. It enables us to find out how to do something, often giving us easier, quicker, cheaper and better ways to do things.

Just in time learning aids the ability to be agile and lean

Being agile is being able to move quickly and easily. Being lean is having the ability to reduce or eliminate non value added activities. Being agile and lean really comes down to being able to adapt to change quickly; or keeping up with the current technology. Just in time learning certainly gives us the ability to be agile and lean.

Technology is changing very quickly, new and better programs are introduced so frequently and as a graphic designer and web developer I need to be able to keep up with the trends to stay in the game for my own sake and for my clients. If I was asked to do work using some software I hadn’t used before or a program that was unfamiliar, I could accept the job with confidence, knowing I can learn the information needed in time to complete the project. I have the basic knowledge and tools to be able to easily learn and navigate the unfamiliar using the web to source information, making just in time learning possible. My business is agile and lean because of that.

Being able to learn just in time lets us quickly adapt

I often use the internet to learn how to use software and applications. YouTube has been a lifesaver at times and even when writing code for new websites I have found the internet a quick and easy tool to help get projects completed. I can adapt and overcome challenges by using just in time learning.

Other businesses, I am sure, use just in time learning to adapt quickly to new challenges. For example a mechanic, servicing a car they have never serviced before, may need some extra assistance. This information can be found in the car manual, but if the mechanic knew the car was coming in to the workshop, had a spare slot of time, they could have researched, probably even just watched a 10 min video, and they would be up to speed on how to service the car. They already have the base knowledge and with the abundant amount of information online they are able to learn it quickly and easily just in time for the car to be at the work shop. This would have saved both the car owner and the business precious time, so just in time learning can be beneficial for all involved as it allows people to adapt quickly to new technology.

Just in time learning builds self confidence

Self confidence in what we do can be challenging, particularly when doing something new. If you are about to do a job which you know how to do, but are lacking experience, you can take the time to do a little more online research or watch a few more video clips to build your confidence. Just in time learning allows you to consolidate knowledge and build self confidence.

Just in time learning also gives us the confidence to accept new challenges. For example if a teacher is asked to teach a maths subject and they are unsure of how to even do the questions themselves, they can confidently take on the challenge knowing they have the time to learn the information. Their next job is to learn how to do the maths equations online, even do some practice questions online to consolidate the information, and walk into that classroom confident and ready to teach the students how to complete the questions.

Building self confidence and realising what you are capable of can also build self awareness as you are able to see what you can achieve and improve upon. This can in turn help you realise your strengths and weaknesses and in some cases help increase your motivation and get you working towards your greater desires.

How to use just in time learning

Being able to use just in time learning means the individual needs to have the ability to find the information they need. So being able to research and bring information together to get the job done. There are a few ways to find information; the three main ways I find information for just in time learning is Google search, Blogs and YouTube videos. Sometimes I use a mixture of all three if I am taking a little while to get my head around something.

It is also a good idea if you are using information from a blogger or poster you haven’t used before to check a few sites to make sure the information is credible.

Often if you find someone in the industry who you rely on, you may use this same person for just in time learning if they have information on the topic, because past experience has taught you they do a good job and know what they are talking about.

Other ways I broaden my ability to learn just in time are;

  • Subscribing to relevant newsletters
  • Following relevant social profiles
  • Listening to relevant podcasts
  • Attending relevant groups or meet ups
  • Having access to relevant mentors

It is important to remember not everyone who puts information onto the internet is credible. So someone claiming to be an expert on breeding parrots may have in fact had a parrot as a child and thinks they know it all. So often looking at a pages rating (if available) or peoples comments, YouTube clips or linked social media accounts you can find out if their information is any good. Or as mentioned above if they do not have this function on the site then simply researching a few resources will often show what information is current and correct.

Another disadvantage of just in time learning is that everyone can become an expert and think they can do things which perhaps they can’t. For example if I decided to use YouTube to build my own bathroom and I took shortcuts or sloppy work the cost of the mistakes could be huge! Imagine bad waterproofing along with leaking taps and cracked tiles. A job you think you are doing yourself to save money could in fact cost you more money, so I guess some substantial foundations are necessary to take on new tasks, but hey, that’s the best way to learn, by giving it a go and working out what needs to be improved upon.

To sum up

Just in time learning is a fantastic tool for all kinds of businesses. It enables us to get work done quicker, and therefore be lean and agile. We are able to quickly adapt to new trends and technology. It allows us to be confident in the work we take on because we know if we need help, there is an abundant amount of information out there that can be accessed quickly, and often Just In Time to get the job done.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

The hidden value of keeping timesheets

The hidden value of keeping timesheets

The hidden value of keeping timesheets

The hidden value of keeping time sheets

Many companies and businesses think of time sheets as one of those tedious tasks that simply has to be done which is typically motivated to bill hours. This is not the case for me. For me, time sheets are not only an important tool to keep track of your working day and stay on task but also a tool that can, if used correctly, grow your self awareness and your business!

After working in the engineering game for a few years prior to getting into design, and especially after completing my Associate Diploma of Industrial Engineering, I learned that the true value in maintaining and analysing time sheets is continuous improvement and self awareness.

Time spent and staying on task

When I started my business over 10 years ago the first task I actually did was to set up my first time sheet. Originally my time sheets were categorised into 2 areas; Project Time and Admin Time. At first I saw my time sheets as a way to see where my time was spent. This information helped me bill clients, quote new jobs, determine time frames for work, and turn down work if the load seemed too great.

Along with seeing where my time was spent, I also found it kept me on task. Once I started a task I would stay on task as I knew I was recording it as time spent. It stopped the mid task coffee breaks and email checks. I also found that listing the categories; project time and admin time, helped my general awareness. Some tasks I would do subconsciously, but I found listing these items on my timesheet had me working less in the unconscious mind patterns and helped me become more efficient in the work I was doing.

If helping you quote and bill clients along with staying on task are the only benefits you get from time sheets, then they are still worth doing. It certainly helped me in my business. Although I delved further into the time sheets and started to closely analyse the information my time sheets held.

Data is king

I love data! I like to be able to see information in an easy to read way and analyse the information obtained. At the end of each week I would look at my timesheets and some numbers would stand out to me and I’d think things like ‘I should spend more time on this and not that’, but didn’t think I could do much about it at the time. Week after week the timesheet numbers would jump at me and one day I made the decision to look more closely at this data.

I started to put the data into spread sheets and graphs. Analysing more closely where my time was spent, what jobs earned me the highest income, how much of each category of work I was doing and which clients were the best for my business. I saw that some processes took up lots of my time and I made a decision to get an admin assistant in part time. I also started thinking more closely about my business and more importantly myself, and what I really wanted.

Timesheets and self awareness

Self awareness is being aware of one’s self; your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation and emotions. Self awareness is, I believe, the most important factor to achieving success. Only when you are self aware can you truly see what it is you desire out of life. To become more self aware we must look closely at what we do, and in business I believe this can be done through time sheets and analysing the data they contain.

As I continued to obtain data from the time sheets I began to not only look at the time sheets in a business sense, but as a reflection on myself. This is when I began to develop my self awareness. I saw my business and how it ran. I began to wonder what I wanted out of this business, I started to see where my strengths lied, where most of my revenue was coming in, my weaknesses, I started to think about these weaknesses and whether I wanted to improve these aspects of my business or continue to focus on my strengths and sway the business toward that direction. I critically analysed myself, I started thinking big, what I believed I could achieve, and I made some big decisions.

One of my weaknesses was that I spent all my time working on projects or doing admin work, and to grow my business I really needed to have some ‘Working on the Business’ Time, so my first step was to add this category to my time sheets. I now had three categories; project time, admin time and working on the business time.

I realised time was my biggest issue, I could do so much more if only I had more time to set aside for working on the business. Where could I get more time? Stop sleeping? Well I knew that wouldn’t work. Again I turned to the time sheets to see where I could cut time. I realised I needed to make my business run more efficiently if I wanted more time and the changes that needed to be made. The changes that needed to be made were big, huge even. As part of my ‘working on the business time’ I decided to restructure and revamp my entire business; I went paperless, I redesigned my office, I started putting time into growing my business. Redesigning my office and going paperless cleared the clutter out of my office and in turn out of my mind, I had some clear thoughts coming through and some clear direction of where I was headed. Read more about the effect clutter has on creativity here.

In my new office I created a planning wall. This wall would help me plan business direction and help me find more time. Again most of the things on this wall initially came from the information I found out from my time sheets. I put up four headings; Problems to Solve, Automate, Eliminate and Delegate.

psyborg studio

Problems to solve

Under Problems to Solve I write down things I want to achieve and leave it there until I work out how to achieve it. I have found this part of the wall is having more and more movement. So things are being solved and coming off the wall and more ideas are going up. I have some long term goals up there and I am really excited to see what I can achieve.

Automate

Automate is taking out the human aspect of a task and automating it. I have been able to cut time on many things by automating them. Once I started researching I found some great and reliable programs, such as Xero and Zappier, that are designed to do some of the tasks that I used to take precious time to do. There is so much value in these programs and the time saved is phenomenal!

Eliminate

Eliminate is getting rid of a task all together. Either by automating them or finding a way they were no longer needed at all. It’s funny some things we think we have to do that could simply be eliminated entirely.

Delegate

Delegate is giving a task to someone else. My admin assistant was great for this at first, and now I have been able to employ a junior designer to pass things onto as well. I also found at times I was doing some of the work the client should do and I have begun reminding and passing this back to the client.

Success so far

My biggest goal was to have more time to work on my business, and already I have achieved so much. You are currently reading one of my goals, to start blogging more regularly. I have also recently updated and redesigned my own website, I have begun to use tools such as social media to grow my business, I have more work than ever coming in and am able to successfully take on and complete this work. All my current achievements in growing my business I put down to self awareness, having the ability to know what I want and am going for it. The self awareness came from the data received from time sheets. The value of time sheets is priceless.

Keeping time sheets enable continuous improvement

As you can see time sheets and the data that is obtained by keeping them allows for continuous improvement. If done honestly and consistently the information is invaluable to the growth of your business. The data obtained allows you to see, at a quick view, where your time is spent, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and it is up to you to change this if you have the desire.

So to sum it up: time sheets equal data, data analysis leads to self awareness, self awareness enables growth.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel