Further Details: I’m interested in getting some help picking the best business management software for my business. We currently have a system in place, but it’s not filling the role as well as we had hoped.
We do school portraits (along with some other types of photography) and currently work with around 50 schools in our area often providing multiple photoshoots to each school throughout the year and then planning / tracking all of the various steps that must happen prior to and after each photoshoot to make sure things are running smoothly, being delivered correctly and on time.
Currently the software we’re using is Tase, but I have heard of good things about Podio and wouldn’t be opposed to other systems as well.
I figure my needs are as follows: A CRM which can host businesses and link photoshoots / projects to those clients with the ability for both to reference info from the other. A calendar which shows all photoshoots that are currently scheduled / pending along with the ability to automate certain things like emails to the client based on the shoot date. A workflow area which can track the various steps for each shoot type we offer and provide visual, detailed reports of exactly where we’re at in our production and what needs to be worked on next at any given day. I would also love for this system to be able to handle scheduling for my team on the various photoshoots… (So I can communicate to my team who’s on what photoshoot) And, it MUST be able to send multiple automated emails to the client referencing data both about the client and about the particular photoshoot that triggered the email.
And, lastly I would prefer for the system to also have a file portal of some kind for delivering work to the client after the photoshoot. Preferably, this file portal would require a secure login by the client and would organize work in folders that they can easily view / download (and possibly upload things to).
We currently use Tave. It’s specific to photography, but doesn’t have a file portal or scheduling and isn’t flexible enough to be as customizable to my specific needs as I would like. It’s also only web based which means accessing it’s data while I’m on the go isn’t always easy.
We have a core team of 4-5 that are full time and during our busy seasons we have part time members that join the team (probably an additional 5-7). Currently we use an app called Crew for scheduling. It works, but means duplicate entries since we enter our shoots into Tave and then have to re-enter them along with pertinent details into Crew. Currently shoots are first entered into an Office365 calendar. Then entered in Tave and tied to a client. Then entered in Crew and scheduled with our team. We handle all prep and workflow tracking through Tave. (Which can also automate emails to the client based on the shoot date) And, we handle deliverables currently through dropbox by sending download links.
Answer: Thanks for reaching out. It looks like your main priorities are:
- CRM of clients
- Calendar & scheduling of client shoots
- Project management software to track your process, show reports & automate email
- Client portal for delivering work
Some combinations that you could consider would be:
- Software that handles CRM/Project Management/Scheduling all-in-one and uses a webform integrated within your website. This software would also show reporting and would send custom, templated emails based on the stage of the process. Using file storage software with a display element to share with your client via a link or you could use a portal that integrates with your website so clients can login, see progress and download files (from your file storage provider)
- Using Project Management software to handle the projects and giving clients access to a client-only area of the software. They could then see progress, ask questions, download files at any time. The CRM would be a more scaled-down version than Option 1 but would suit your current process and would be accessible via a mobile app.
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss having this software implemented by one of our Business Process Consultants.