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Tough Questions posts:

Help Us Build a More Diverse and Inclusive Harvest

Harvest has been in business for eleven years. We started as a team of four, and today we have a team of fifty wonderful, smart, kind, and humble people. Our products serve over 50,000 businesses from around the world (that’s not a hyperbole–we really have customers from over a hundred countries!), and we’ve had the good fortune to be profitable and sustainable from the beginning. Best of all, we’ve never taken any investment, so we have no one to answer to but ourselves and can take this business wherever we wish.

By most standards, things are great at Harvest. But we do have one glaring problem.

When we look at our team, we find only men in our top leadership positions. We see twenty-seven people on the product team and just two women. And there isn’t just a disparity in gender–there’s also a racial disparity.

As co-founders of Harvest, this is troubling for Danny and me, especially because we’re usually considered to represent “diversity” in this country (Danny and I are Asian American). We’ve faced racism and exclusion throughout our lives, and we care deeply about social justice, diversity, and equality. Yet, somehow, we forgot about diversity at our own business.

Our excuse was that this wasn’t intentional: we didn’t set out to hire only dudes for our product team, and we didn’t mean for most of our women employees to be on the customer service team.

But that’s an excuse. And excuses are part of the problem.

Continue reading…

Focusing Your Sales Efforts with Time Tracking and Team Scheduling

Time tracking and team scheduling are two familiar tricks of the trade for project managers and business owners, who rely on them to keep projects on track and keep tabs on the health of the business.

But these tools can also provide a wealth of useful information to account executives and business development managers responsible for winning new business. Here are six ways you can use time tracking and team scheduling to make your sales process even better:

1. Define your ideal client

When your business was first getting off the ground, you probably worked with whoever would hire you as a matter of necessity. But as your business grows, you can afford to adopt a more long-term outlook that may involve turning away some potential clients. Continue reading…

Parting Ways with Difficult Clients (Using Data)

Letting go of clients is a painful decision. You become invested in their business and want them to succeed. But sometimes the economics of a client relationship just don’t work out.

At the end of the day, every business needs to turn a profit. If you discover you’re losing money on a client, it may be time to part ways. But how do you figure this out? Your intuition might be telling you a client isn’t working out, but you need data to be 100 percent sure.

This is the position Shareef Defrawi, president and founder of Bonafide, a Houston-based digital marketing agency, found himself in when he decided to take his business in a new direction. Bonafide began life as an SEO agency, but as the digital space evolved, Shareef realized he could better serve his clients by embracing a more holistic marketing strategy. This new approach drove considerably more value—but at a higher price. Continue reading…