How to run your entire business using only one tool
Ever feel frustrated with the huge number of apps and software you have to use to run your business?
You’re definitely not alone – as a small business, you need an impressive number of tools, from project and task management to accounting and invoicing and to customer relationship management tools, just to name a few of the essentials.
But what if you could perform all of these tasks with one single tool?
Because yes, it is possible – which is why I’m so excited to introduce you to Plutio, an all-in-one, extremely powerful tool built specifically for SMEs. It’s a tool that literally does it all: invoicing, proposals, CRM, project and task management, collaboration, time tracking and so much more.
So in this blog post, I’m going to show you how to run your entire business using only one tool: Plutio.
But first, what exactly is Plutio?
Plutio is an all-in-one software created for small and medium businesses and built to help them manage every aspect of their business; here are the main features and functions you’ll have (and it’s an impressively long list!)
- Project and task management, including real-time collaboration
- Easy and quick time tracking for all of your work
- Invoicing software, allowing you to both create and send professional invoices (including recurring invoices!)
- Create product and services proposals and send directly to clients
- Shared inbox for real-time collaboration with your team and clients
- Online form builder
- Powerful CRM and client portal for easy management of all your clients and leads
What’s even more impressive?
You have access – for free, even if you don’t have an account yet – to a huge library of beautiful templates that you can access directly from the Plutio homepage:
You’ll find templates for projects and task lists, invoices, proposals, contracts…pretty much everything you need for your business.
And somehow, even though it has all of these amazing features that you’d never expect to find in just one tool, it’s also incredibly intuitive and easy to use and set up.
In fact, if you have even just a little bit of experience working with different business software, this will seem like a walk in the park.
Within a few minutes of using it, I already felt like I had a good handle on it – the only thing that could be a bit overwhelming is the number of features to explore. But, I’ll do my best to showcase all the best ones:
PS Do I sound really excited about it? It’s because I really am!
Plutio – how does it work?
So, how does Plutio work, exactly?
Once you’ve created your account – the smallest plan is only $15/month and it includes all features – you’ll be taken directly to your dashboard:
As you can see, all the different tools available are easily visible on the left-hand side menu. To access any one of them, simply click on the one you want to get started, whether it’s creating a new project or task list, adding leads and customers to your CRM, creating and sending an invoice, or any other action.
As you might remember from earlier, Plutio also offers an impressive array of templates for invoicing, proposals and so on and you can check them out here, even if you don’t yet have an account.
Let’s go through some of the main features in turn to see what exactly you can do with this powerful tool:
Adding templates to your account
While you can customize everything as much as you want and create your own designs and templates, you can also leverage their professionally-designed templates. You can access the templates library here and easily add them to your account:
All you have to do is click on Add template, select your workspace, and the template will be automatically added to your account library.
You can easily filter through the templates library to find both official templates (i.e. the ones created by Plutio) as well as templates created by the community. Plus, you can also filter them by type and category:
All of these templates are fully customizable with the built-in editor, as I’ll show you in a bit.
Project and task management
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you probably know how important productivity is to me.
And in my opinion, the best place to start improving productivity is by being better organized. Which is why good project and task management, in my experience, is essential to a businesses’ success.
With Plutio, you can easily create new projects from the Projects dashboard:
As you can see above, you can add a template at this stage, add team members to your project, as well as set a start and end date for your project:
Once you’ve created the project, you can easily add an hourly rate for the project, add a description, as well as add any custom fields that you might need.
Within the project description, you can customize it with checklists, bullet points, add links, images, videos – basically, pretty much customize it exactly as you want.
Once your project is set up, you can easily start customizing it and building it up; first on the list, setting up the tasks that make up your project:
As you can see above, you can create multiple task groups in a Kanban view, and then create as many sub-tasks as you need for each group. Plus, you can add start and due dates for each task and get reminders if you want, add followers (anyone that you want to give access to for this task), as well as delegate the task to another team member.
What’s more, I can create multiple task boards within the same project/dashboard:
That way, I can organize my tasks exactly as I want and need to.
For example, you could use different task groups as project milestones – and move through them until your project is finalised.
Or, you could organize them in a chronological order, based on when you need to get these tasks done.
It’s all completely up to you; as you can see, the dashboard is highly customizable so that you use it in the ways that are most helpeful to you.
Plus, at any point, you can start the built-in timer to track the time spent on these tasks.
Once you’ve created your tasks, you’ll be able to see an overview of your project timeline in the Calendar view, to help ensure you don’t miss any deadlines:
If you’ve tracked any time for your project – which is super useful particularly if you’re billing clients by the hour – you’ll be able to see all of this time and invoice for billable time directly from the Project Timesheet section.
If you’re a freelancer or perform any kind of services that are billable by the hour, this is an amazingly useful feature as it allows you to easily keep track of your time spent for each project (so no confusing data to sort through at the end of a project!), as well as invoice your clients in a fraction of the time it would normally take.
For each project, you can also add invoices, proposals, contracts, create project discussions where you can invite team members or clients:
Add project-related files for safekeeping, as well as organize them in folders:
Create a fully customizable wiki, which is essentially a place where everyone from your team can jot down their ideas for the project:
And finally, there’s the members section where you can easily add and remove team members and clients for your projects.
Invoicing, proposals and contracts
Invoicing, proposals and contracts are an essential part of any business.
And what Plutio does is it allows you to not only handle all of your invoices and contracts from one place, but also to create and design them, send them to clients, get them signed and approved and so much more.
Even getting them signed and paid – all in the same place/screen, which makes it super convenient both for you and for your clients.
In other words, you get pretty much everything you need to handle this side of your business.
As you’ve seen earlier, you can manage all of these invoices, proposals and contracts within each separate project, to make things as clear as possible.
When creating an invoice, you’ll first need to make a few settings:
As you can see in the above screenshot, you can set up the payment method of your choice – Stripe, PayPal or bank account – set the invoice number format so it’s named automatically whenever a new invoice is generated, add ay taxes and discounts you want and even add a messenger to your invoice.
How cool is that?
This way, whenever your clients are viewing the invoice and they have any questions, they can ask them directly without leaving the screen, simply by using the connected messenger/live chat.
Creating a messenger is incredibly easy (you do not need to be pro at all to set it up!) – all you really have to do is complete a few bits of information and customize the name, style and wording:
What’s more, you can also create a short onboarding form that people would have to use before using the messenger, as well as set availability hours for the chat:
Going back to the invoice builder, you have complete control over your invoices and what they’ll look like; plus, you also have the option to use a ready-made template:
The invoices – as well as the proposals and contracts, which work in a very similar way – can be customized easily by moving the blocks up and down, changing the wording by clicking where you want to change or add new text and easily add new blocks of content to your template:
For example, a really useful one is the Timesheet block, as this allows you to easily add any billable hours directly in your invoice.
You can also save any block from your invoice into a template for later reuse.
Then, there’s also the Canvas option; this is a really cool, very easy-to-use editor that allows you to pretty up your invoices, contracts and proposals by adding all kinds of elements, icons, imagery, text, and so on:
What’s more, you can even add multiple options for your clients, that they can choose from themselves.
And once you’re finished with all the text and elements that form your invoice you can preview it and customize the design; simply click on the elements you want to change and easily add your own colours and so on:
Once you’re happy with your invoice, click on Actions to see your options:
You can easily duplicate it, save it as a template, download it for safekeeping or simply send it directly to your client; plus, you can also set it up so the invoices are sent on a recurring basis at set times, directly to the client.
Once the client receives the invoice, they’ll be able to sign, pay and even ask you questions directly from the invoice, without leaving the screen.
The process is very similar for contracts and proposals as well; the builder and editor work the same way, and you can also set up built-in messengers for them too.
However, there’s a very useful feature specific to proposals that’s definitely worth pointing out:
Whenever you send a proposal to a client or potential client and they sign it, Plutio can automatically create projects and invoices for your new client – this way you can just start working on the project immediately.
For all of you small businesses and freelancers out there, I really couldn’t recommend this tool enough.
Not only does it have some of the most impressive features I’ve seen in a business app, but it’s also incredibly easy to use and highly intuitive. Even if you only have a little bit of experience working with business software, you’ll likely get the hang of Plutio within a couple of minutes of first using it.
So if you want to be more productive with your time, save money, manage everything from one place and impress your clients – Plutio is definitely the way to go.