Strawberry Seed Consulting
Roll User: Carli Saw, Director
The Business: Strawberry Seed Consulting
Industry: HR and Recruitment Services
Location: Torquay, Victoria, Australia
Who are Strawberry Seed Consulting?
We’re a boutique HR consultancy whose primary focus is working with small- and medium-sized businesses to help them manage their people and their human resource systems.
We work with clients from the day they hire their first employee, throughout their growth as they need help with contractual and staffing issues. We see ourselves as a piece of a larger puzzle that enables them to get the most out of their people.
What makes you different?
First of all, we love working with SMEs. We provide them with personalised, customised service rather than offering off-the-shelf solutions, and we feel like we’re part of their team. We’re frank and honest with clients, and help them through the process when they need to make tough decisions. One of our values is “no BS”. We’re in it for the long game with our clients because we want to see them succeed.
I worked for many years in the corporate world, but I also come from a family that ran small businesses. So I bring a solid mix of both methodologies to the services we offer. I think we’re very positive and proactive with our clients. We’re very generous with the education, guidance and, quite frankly, free information that we provide to clients rather than charging for every minute of a phone call. We believe that process and procedures should add value – not confuse people. So we focus on preventative measures, rather than overcomplicating paperwork or scaring clients into taking harsh actions with employees.
What was life like before ROLL?
I started the business in 2013 and we worked for the first five years, like many other companies, managing information in more than one system.
We used a system called Capsule for our client management side, ProWorkflow for project management, and Xero for invoicing. We were doing unnecessary manual inputting and doubling up on our data entry.
The other issue for us was the fact that we have a number of service packages and different ways of invoicing clients. Some clients are on a monthly or annual retainer, some pay by the hour, others pay a set price for a particular project, and some pay their project fees in instalments. We needed a system that could deal with all of this – both from a financial as well as from a project management perspective.
When I started the business, and it was just me doing everything, this was fine. But as we started growing our client base and I took on staff, we needed a system that we could all use and that would reduce the amount of time spent on admin.
I knew there had to be a better way, in order to save time and reduce the risk of errors.
What other software did you trial or use?
I spent about six months looking for something that could do everything – track time, manage client information and generate invoicing.
We looked into the other features of Capsule and ProWorkflow, but they couldn’t do everything we needed. And we considered Salesforce and WorkflowMax, but these were both going to cost us far more than we were prepared to spend as a small business. It’s been a deliberate strategy of mine to invest wisely and not overspend on things the business doesn’t need in order to avoid having to pass costs on to clients.
I kept telling the demo teams, I don’t need the system to make me a cup of coffee in the morning. I just need it to do the simple things well.
When I looked at the ROLL demo, I knew immediately that it could help us. It had the functionality and the flexibility we needed. It’s simple and easy to use – I knew ROLL wasn’t trying to sell me stuff I didn’t need.
What has ROLL done for your business?
We started using ROLL in 2018 and absolutely love it. It’s everything we need in one system.
I’ve given my team full visibility over our projects, workflow, pipeline and invoicing – and keep just some of the top-level financial information private. As a result, we work much better as a collaborative team and provide better client service.
Talking about specifics, we love the flexibility in the Task list. We can add or delete based on what clients need (unlike other systems that don’t always let you change tasks). My team uses the Task list to manage their time instead of using calendars to set reminders for tasks that need to be done. This makes following up with clients easier and more client-focussed.
We can all see whether stages of work have been paid for before progressing on to subsequent phases. We can easily see how many hours we’ve spent with fixed-priced clients – which helps us manage our time and provide accurate quotes. We can see which projects are taking longer than expected, and where time is being used.
Overall, we have a much clearer picture of our profitability. We know where we’re spending our time and better understand whether we’re charging the right amounts for services.
Everyone here loves the coloured profitability icons – at a glance we can see where we have profitable work and where we have more high-maintenance clients that might require more hands-on attention. This, in turn, helps us develop better services for new clients. It all feeds into our product development. ROLL has actually helped us revise our packages and how we charge for some of our services.
With the ROLL reporting features I can review our monthly income by client category, look at our cashflow projections, and analyse where we need to be focussing our efforts month to month. It’s an instant look into how the business is doing on a big picture level as well as on a day-to-day level.
ROLL is the first thing I open when I turn on my computer each morning, and it stays open all day.
How has ROLL added value?
The obvious benefit is that we’re not paying for multiple systems to manage our client info, our pipeline and our project management.
But there are also a lot of other daily, valuable improvements that all add up. We sometimes underestimate how much time we use up when information isn’t easily shared. When one of my team members emails me to ask if a client has paid an invoice, I have to stop what I’m doing, look for the answer, follow up with the person who asked, and then resume what I was doing. It sounds small, but it all adds up. With ROLL, the answers are easy to find – for everyone in the business, depending on who you want to give access to information.
In some ways, ROLL has reduced the need for administrators in our business that are just focused on updating multiple systems and data input. Because a lot of the admin or operational support work is automatically managed by ROLL, our HR Assistants can spend time doing more profitable tasks and supporting the team with client work which is chargeable income. We now have a team of client-facing people, rather than a team weighed down with backend ‘busy’ work. In turn, we are all more focussed on serving clients and finding ways to work smarter, rather than spending a lot of time doing the admin work.
At the moment, ROLL is a great tool for a team working remotely because of COVID-19. We can all access client files and see where projects are at in real-time, without waiting for someone to answer a call or email. We all have greater accessibility and visibility.
As the manager of the business, I can see where our profitability lies and I can refine our offering as needed.
What are two standout benefits that you love about ROLL?
1. We love the flexibility of being able to set up different payment structures. We’re not locked into billing clients just one way. ROLL even makes it easier for us to track and report on the free initial consultations that we do, so we can factor them into our business overview and profitability analysis.
2. We love the way that ROLL keeps everything so centralised. It’s the one place where we manage all of our client information, and we all access the same info consistently. ROLL has eliminated a lot of wasted time and duplication.
If you were to sum up ROLL in one sentence, what would that be?
ROLL is simple, flexible, instinctual and easy to use. It’s not trying to be too much – it’s not trying to make us a cup of coffee. We need something agile, flexible and simple to use and ROLL ticks all the boxes.
(Note from ROLL … sorry, that’s more than one sentence. It’s often hard to get clients to say it in one. We love that they love ROLL.)
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