It seems like every aspect of a running small business has been built into an online tool. A small business owner, or freelancer, can perform just about any business function — tracking time, billing clients, managing projects, etc. — with hosted tools. In the realm of web-based project management tools there are probably more than a hundred to choose from. But should you trust your business and data to an application running in some remote corner of the web? We’ve got some pretty good reasons why you shouldn’t.
- It’s too expensive
Web-based software usually starts around $20 a month for the most basic of plans. Take Intervals, for example. The lowest plan costs $20 per month to manage 10 projects. That’s $2 per project, per month. Let’s say you bill your clients at an hourly rate of $60 per hour. You’d have to bill an extra 2 minutes of time on each project, month after month, to cover the extra cost of using a web-based project management tool.
- Tracking time is a waste of time
Why would you want to be wasting time entering time into a timesheet when you could be working on projects instead? Flat bidding a project is a whole lot easier. And even if you do go over budget half the time, you are still coming in under the other half the time, so it all breaks even in the end. Companies, like Pelago, will tell you they increased their billable time by 30% with a web-based time tracking tool, but it’s probably just a marketing ploy to get you to use their product.
- Nothing does exactly what I need it to do
Most of these hosted PM tools are based on the methodologies of the company who built them. There are just as many methods for getting things done as there are tools to choose from. You may find one that does most of what you need it to, but it will usually be missing just one thing that you really need to make the switch. And there is a good chance the developers aren’t going to add it just for you. You are better off not trying to adapt and sticking with the workflow you have in place.
- It’s not Basecamp
Basecamp is the
coolestbest project management app ever, and it’s so simple and easy-to-use. If your business is growing beyond the capabilities of Basecamp, you should probably scale back operations. Don’t venture out looking for a more comprehensive project management tool that is only going to enable your business to grow.
- Web-based software is just a fad
There are hundreds of web sites listing hundreds of online apps you can use for your small business. Should you invest your time and energy into something that may not be there when you wake up tomorrow morning? It’s better to stick with a desktop solution, like MS Project. The bloat is a small price to pay for a reliable corporate offering.
Author’s disclaimer: I sincerely hope you were able to find the humor in this post. At Pelago, we strongly support the use of online software by small business, and have invested all of our time and resources into Intervals, our flagship web-based project management tool.