Managing an expanding list of clients and projects can be a time consuming task. Fortunately there are many tools at your disposal to make your time more spent more efficiently and the task less daunting.
We've been using a web product called Basecamp (by 37 signals) for the last 2 years, since we were first introduced to it by a client.
Basecamp is a online application which allows you to manage internal and client projects. Within each project, you can create schedules, to-do lists, manage asset files and tasks. All of this can be done from one login, whether you are managing one or many projects. This may not sound much different from how you would manage this in your office. The beauty of this system is what your clients can do.
Depending on their role in the project, you can assign different levels of access to the various people involved. Some people may only need to see timesheets, whereas others may need to be able to schedule milestones or meeting dates. You may want to share a document to allow the client to check the copy and make amends. Basecamp can do this, with the bonus of saving the various revisions so you can see whom has made the amends. Instead of emailing files and filling email boxes, you just upload to Basecamp.
The beauty of Basecamp is what is does automatically. When you add or edit, Basecamp keeps track of what you've done and creates a journal. This information is also published as a RSS (aka Really Simple Syndication) feed that you and clients can subscribe to which lets you automatically notify of changes without having to pick up the phone.
And if you think this sounds all very expensive, you'd be mistaken. Basecamp costs as little as nothing a month to use (1 client/1 project). Our subscription package costs a mere $2 a project and certainly pays for itself in the time saved by adopting and using Basecamp's best practice. By having a user-base of over one million, it is easy to see how the Basecamp team can offer such a good product for pennies a month.
Basecamp won't save your life on its own. It takes discipline from you and your clients to use its full potential. We've tried many similar solutions but would happily recommend Basecamp. Please feel free to get in touch to give it a look - especially if you were too busy to read this.