Many entrepreneurs struggle to manage work-life balance. According to the Real State of Entrepreneurship 2019 Survey by Seed Academy, almost 20% of small business owners work over 200 hours a month on their ventures. As such, it is vital for them to find ways to streamline their operations to minimise the time they spend working but still achieve the maximum results. This is what solutions-driven business owner, Greg Woolfson did.
Woolfson started his company, Pop Designs, a turnkey procurement and project management solutions business, in May 2017. He was previously a manufacturer for other suppliers in the furniture industry, but quickly identified a gap for a complete solution with a focus on timeline.
“I started my business because of the thrill of production,” says Woolfson. “I love being able to build solutions for my clientele and bring their ideas to life, and am really passionate about project management. It’s something this industry really needs because each day a project is late, it costs the business owner money. As a result, we are very timeline driven.”
Fast-forward three years and Woolfson has a thriving business with 80% of the work in the restaurant industry, and the rest comprising office design, schools and home units.
His journey to success, however, has not come without its challenges. “One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is balance. We are often on site 24 hours a day to complete a job, which with two kids under the age of five at home with my wife, can definitely get tricky. As such, I needed to find time to balance my family life with my dream of building a successful company that I am proud of.”
Along with this, project management businesses come with their own specific set of challenges. “When you are running projects like this, the scope is always a moving target. For example, ideas change, things get added, hours add up and you’re running around for small purchases constantly. Without tracking each and every item and each and every hour you have no idea whether the project was profitable.”
When we first started we would finish a huge project and be relieved, but there would be no money in the bank, said Woolfson. “This is when we knew something was wrong and we contacted Rae & Associates, who advised us to utilise a leading cloud-based accounting software, QuickBooks. They were instrumental in getting this side of our business correct. Being on the right software, having the right knowledge and the support of Rae & Associates helped us understand project costing which made the biggest difference.”
Woolfson points out that by using Intuit QuickBooks and specifically its feature, Project Profitability, he was able to track costs instantly by capturing invoices from suppliers as well as any smaller slips that his business was receiving during the day. “It also gave me the opportunity to keep track of unbilled time which I wasn’t doing before.
“As the owner of the company you always want to be on site, but sometimes this is not part of the original quote to the client, so by being there you are actually costing your company money. This taught me how to value my time more efficiently.”
“What I love about QuickBooks is that it’s not only easy to use on my cell phone, but it gives me an up to date account on what is happening with each project so I know at a click of a button if I am running over budget. It also gives me the opportunity to communicate with my clients immediately. There is nothing worse than having to go to a client at the end of the project and say sorry we ran over budget – they will not be impressed,” he says.
Giving some parting advice to other project management businesses, Woolfson concludes: “Let certain things go and remember that your staff are capable. The best thing you can do to ensure your business is on an upward trajectory is to track your time, watch project costs and remember that every little slip counts.”
For more information about how QuickBooks Online helps businesses of all sizes manage projects more cost-effectively from start to finish, please visit https://quickbooks.intuit.com/za/.