Let’s be real – we’re all on the hunt for great tools to help us grow our businesses. We’re looking for apps or services that allow us to perform business tasks quicker and easier than before.
Well, last week the Internet was abuzz with the news that Ballpark, a popular business tool geared toward small business owners and consultants, underwent a major upgrade to make even more powerful. If you weren’t using Ballpark before, you may want to see what it’s up to now.
If you’re not familiar with Ballpark, it’s an app that prides itself on giving small business owners and freelancers everything they need to run their businesses – including the ability to track time, invoice, and manage cash flow. The old app has been redesigned from the ground up and now boasts a number of new features that were requested directly from small business owners themselves.
What can you expect from Ballpark 2.0?
Time Tracking: According to the team at Ballpark, this was the most requested feature and looks to go head-to-head with popular time tracking tool, Harvest (which I currently use). Ballpark allows teams from 1 to 100 track their team via browser or mobile app to help them stay on track and on budget with projects.
Invoicing: Freelancers and SMBs can now create attractive Web-based invoices, as well as keep track of open/paid up invoices through the Ballpark dashboard. Personally, I like this feature a lot and the ability to see immediately which clients are paid up, the date they paid, where you still have outstanding money, and what you’ve received this month/last month/this year. By putting everything in one dashboard it becomes easier for small business owners to visualize cash flow.
With the new version of Ballpark also comes the ability to create client or project estimates, as well as the addition of a new Discussion tab on these estimates where both parties can talk back and forth. This provides an interesting way to solve an old problem – getting the client and vendor on the same page for the work that is to be completed. Because clients can ask questions related to the work or the scope of the project directly on the estimate, there’s less likely to be any surprises after the project is completed.
Reporting: The reporting features of Ballpark help SMBs to make sense of their businesses by monitoring payments, time tracked, and upcoming cash flow. It also provides insight into where your team’s time is spent and how your business is developing so that you can increase profitability and visualize potential time sucks.
Mobile App (coming): And, of course, a new Ballpark iPhone app is on its way so that business owners can track their time, be notified of payments, and stay up to date on their businesses while on the go. The app is currently awaiting App store approval, but should be available for download shortly.
While there are many apps available to help SMBs track time and invoice, where Ballpark hits a homerun for me is with the reporting and CRM features. They’re potent, while remaining lightweight and easy to use. Also, the ability to quickly create estimates and then have discussions on-page will provide valuable to SMBs. All consultants know how difficult it can be to manage client expectations and this type of communication will allow everyone to better do that. More communication results in happy clients, which just may get those invoices paid on time.
If you want to give Ballpark a try, small businesses can take advantage of the 30-day free trial available. If you like it, individual rates are $13/month, while team rates with unlimited users are $100/month. So shouldn’t break the bank for most people.