Professional Projects Pwned!

Podio for Managing Small Business Projects I’ve looked for magic solutions to better running my small business for… well… ever since I STARTED my small business back in 1999.

I’ve had a few love affairs with this piece of software or that, I’ve had many flings that were intense and brief with paid and free software options… but until now, I’ve not been willing to settle down with one.

Meet Podio

He’s my small business project management solution. If you are looking for a project management system to gather all your client work in one place, store files you are working on, create tasks directly from your Google apps account, schedule and remind you of looming project deadlines (via email AND SMS), and if you want to be able to access it from your PC, Mac, Android tablet, iPhone or droid phone… let me introduce you!

How Podio Helps

Do you work with subcontractors and need to share some clients, but not all? Podio can handle that. Need to create your own special brand of widgets to meet the needs of all (or each individual) client you serve? Podio has customizeable apps for nearly every notion you can conceive.

Want to have a single place where you can keep your client stuff and your own business projects, plans and tasks — without paying more to store your own stuff there too? Podio.

Would you like the option of working without accruing a monthly service charge? I’ve been using Podio for months and although they HAVE a premium option (and I may consider that in the future), I’ve done nothing so far to require it — and I’ve not been limiting my use to do so.

The Research

I spent a couple weeks downloading literally DOZENS of different options trying paid, free and beta versions of online and offline software to meet my needs to run my business more smoothly, to be able to share and collaborate with my subcontractor on client projects and to store all the current projects for my clients in a single, organized location. All of them failed in some way before this one… and the closest runner-up was going to cost me big bucks every year for the luxury of using their service. No thanks.

What’s Missing

There are a few things that I wish Podio offered that it doesn’t, but most are bells and whistles. The ONE big thing is a way to record time and automatically generate invoices and keep basic small business financial information. At this time, I’m still using my old, trusty Cashboard for that purpose. I rely on the timer widget constantly and love that when it’s time to bill I can have my invoices (with details imported from the timer widget) ready to send out to all my clients in just a few minutes.

But, how cool would it be if I had ONE place that handled it all? Subscription or not, I’d jump at that! (Right now I’m paying a monthly subscription for Cashboard anyway, and have for years.)

My wishlist would include a similar financial and timer option and a way to import information in from other financial and billing apps and services (like Cashboard).

I wish the Android app was a little more muscled — and they ARE working on that. I’ve seen improvements in just the last few weeks. I’d like to be able to do anything from my Nexus 7 that I can do from my Macbook on Podio. I feel confident that is coming.

What Could Be Better

The GUI could be a little more attractive, but that’s just eye-candy. Of course, I LIKE eye candy 😉

I’d like a better way to handle my uploaded files. I would like to find a way to attach dynamic files — so when I have a draft, I can attach it to a task (for example) and have it automatically update when I make changes. That way, when I go back to the task, I can see where I left off working last time. Having an upload that’s static only helps in some instances, and if you have to download it, it’s the old version.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with this solution to my small business project management needs. If you are gearing up to improve your business for the new year, and you haven’t looked at Podio yet, you should go take a peek. I think you will like it!