17Hats Review: Navigating the World of CRM for Small Business Owners

Navigating the choppy waters of running a small business? Consider this your guide to choosing the right CRM system. We weigh the pros and cons of 17Hats to help you make a decision that'll put the wind in your sails.

Deciding on 17Hats: The Unveiled Guide to Your CRM Dilemma

Ah, running a small business. It’s like being a hero in your own journey, isn’t it? You’re not just keeping the ship afloat; you’re navigating through storms and avoiding icebergs. Just like a sailor, you understand the importance of having a sturdy map, or in this case, an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

There are a ton of great CRM systems out there, especially for portrait businesses like mine. Dubsado, Honeybook, Bloom, Tave just to name a few. Another name you might’ve heard is 17Hats. Now, the question is, should you set sail with it or keep scanning the horizon for another guiding star?

The Lure of 17Hats

First, let’s talk about why 17Hats might catch your eye. For me, it’s like the Swiss Army knife of CRM platforms—loaded with features that promise to help you manage your business more efficiently. From invoicing and project management to client communication, this tool seems to have it all. The thing I like about it most, when compared to other systems is the contemporary interface itself. Clean, uncluttered, and laid out in a way that just feels much more intuitive than other systems I’ve tried. Secondarily, the self-help education found in 17Hats University walks you through the steps you need to master every facet of the application.

The Devil’s in the Details

But hey, let’s pump the brakes a bit. Every tool has its pros and cons. While 17Hats has a gamut of features, some folks find its interface a bit overwhelming at first. It’s like walking into a pilot’s cockpit when all you’ve ever flown is a paper airplane. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but the question is, do you have the time to climb that curve, or is your journey urgently demanding a more straightforward guide? Again, the support provided by the 17Hats team I have found to be second to none.

The Balancing Act

The next consideration is cost. Let’s face it, as much as you’d love an all-in-one solution, the budget often gets the final say. While 17Hats offers various plans, including some affordable options, you’ve got to ask yourself what features you truly need. Is it worth investing in a multi-functional platform, or would a simpler, specialized tool better serve your immediate needs?

I’ve found that the 17Hats plans are incredibly fair and affordable, and I’m always on the lookout for Black Friday deals that help me extend my membership. In fact, if you use my referral link, you will get 50% your first year! There are some systems out there that charge for a month what 17Hats costs for a year….and they are far less functional.

Paving the Road With Good Intentions

If you’ve never used a CRM system like this before, one common mistake many make is thinking too short-term. While a less robust CRM may save you a few bucks now, will it carry you through as your business grows? Does it have all of the features that you need, and more importantly, does your particular workflow work within its boundaries? 17Hats is built for scalability. This could be a pivotal advantage as you expand your empire. I know that for me, I keep utilizing more and more features, like online scheduling and booking to really help me make it easy for my clients to come to the studio. Being able to create automated workflows that send notifications and emails to clients at critical points in my process removes any worry that I may forget to communicate. It is, in a word, awesome.

Hidden Challenges

Here’s something most reviews won’t tell you. Implementing a new CRM can be as tricky as wrestling a bear. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but it demands commitment. Self-training, data migration, and workflow adaptation can be roadblocks. It’s not just about picking a tool; it’s about ensuring your team can wield it effectively. Personally, I migrated from Tave, and while i was able to import certain items, there was much of my exported data that was not transferrable, like signed contracts. I just had to archive them and store them properly. 17Hats makes the process of adding leads, projects, and individual contacts seamless and intuitiveI actually found it faster to manually enter the most important information myself.

The Impact of Choice

Understand that your CRM choice doesn’t just influence your client management; it’s also a strategic business decision. It impacts your brand, your customer experience, and even your peace of mind as the entrepreneur in the thick of it all. I’ve found that through the 17Hats client portal, my customers can have access to everything they need without having to chase me down. From quotes, to contracts, to invoices, they can view all of our interactions in one place. Keeping my records neatly organized like this has helped me out of more than one jam.

Your Heroic Decision

So here you are, standing at the crossroads. 17Hats is one path that promises a comprehensive solution but, like and new system, demands your attention and investment. Your business deserves a tool that aligns with your vision and grows with you, rather than slowing you down. That’s the whole point, right?. Consider the trade-offs, reflect on the challenges, and remember, the map you choose can make all the difference in reaching your goals Choose wisely, my friend.

 

DISCLOSURE:

I am a 17Hats Ambassador. It is an unpaid position and this article was written solely by me with no influence or editing from the 17Hats team.

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In this episode, Maine portrait photographer Matt Stagliano talks with Cat Ford-Coates: photographer, educator, coach, and founder of The Studio Takeover.

Cat has been a powerhouse in the portrait photography world since 2015 and is one of the primary mentors in The Portrait System. She worked closely with Sue Bryce for years, using those methods to build a profitable and sustainable portrait studio in Asheville, NC.

With her own approach built on experience, Cat has taught thousands of students over the years, and has recently created The Studio takeover, a full featured online education platform catering to photographers that want to level up their business. She is a keynote speaker at events like The Portrait Masters and WPPI.

For more information or to see her work, you can find Cat online at https://thestudiotakeover.online, or on social @thestudiotakeover

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