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Since the podcast in the fall of 2015, I’ve dug deeper into the power of Podio, and I have been overwhelmed by both its simplicity and its breadth of capabilities. I am convinced: Podio is hands down the best tool for me to manage various areas of my real estate business.
For many, Podio is a new and different kind of software. It’s different in that Podio is not created for one specific industry nor for one specific set of business processes. In fact, the broad scope of potential Podio applications can be intimating to the new user. However, an honest commitment to learn the product will pay huge dividends in gained efficiency and productivity for your business.
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Podio Crash Course
So what is Podio? In its simplest form, Podio is a relational database application created by Citrix. Businesses use Podio to store a huge variety of information. This information can come in the form of customers, leads, properties, projects, deliverables, meetings, files, photos, prospects, etc. These pieces of information are then connected via “references” to enable robust calculation and reporting. Each of these pieces of information is stored in a specific “application” in Podio. These applications can be customized by the user depending on the type of data being stored and the attributes that are important to the specific business. In addition, Podio has an amazing set of collaboration tools, such as chat, task management, contact management and calendars.
A Quick Example of “Properties” and “Mortgages”
Let’s assume you create an application called “Properties.” Within this application, you have a field to store the following information:
- Property Address (option to show address on a map)
- Type (Single Family, Duplex, Triplex, Apartment, etc.)
- Owner (LLC, Personal, etc.)
- Purchase Price
- Market Value
- Purchase Date
You also have an application called “Mortgages.” This app would have some key information about the loan including a relationship to the “Properties” app:
- Loan Amount
- Interest Rate
- Related Property (Drop down of all the properties in your “Properties” app)
Now that these apps are created, we can do all sorts of calculating and reporting to help run our business. For example, you can create a simple report to show all the debt you have on outstanding single family properties.
There are many great apps out there used by the BiggerPockets community. Apps like Buildium (to learn more about Buildium, click here) and Appfolio are top-notch when it comes to managing rental properties. This post is NOT an attempt to convince you to throw away your current systems and switch Podio. This is merely an effort to share huge benefits my company has experienced by using Podio as an operations platform
Below are the three reasons I love using Podio to run my business.
The beauty of Podio lies within its flexibility. As a Podio user, you can custom-build your workspace(s) for the exact needs of your business (you can even choose the image icons that represent each of your apps).
All our businesses are different. The flexibility afforded by Podio allows you to address these differences to create a comprehensive operating system perfectly suited for your business. As mentioned above, there are some great apps to manage various processes of our business. However, there is little to no ability to customize these apps. They are built for the masses and cannot be tailed to your specific needs.
In addition to the ability to customize specific apps, the flexibility of Podio also allows you to manage drastically different processes with one solution. While Appfolio may be a great software for property management, it offers little in the area of managing rehab projects. It’s also not a great CRM for incoming leads from motivated sellers. Podio allows you to create different workspaces for the various areas of your business. In the end, it’s possible to have a one-stop shop to manage all of your business systems and processes.
2. Pre-Built App Templates
While many of us find tremendous value in creating custom Podio applications, there is much to be gained from Podio’s free app marketplace. The marketplace is a repository of app templates built by other Podio users. I was shocked by the number of amazing templates available for free in this repository. For example, you could install a “Project Management” app bundle to track various projects and collaborate with team members.
I find templates to be great building blocks for custom apps. I’ll typically install a template that meets 75 percent of my needs. From there, I’ll modify the app template to perfectly fit my business. The templates are also great sources for ideas and inspiration. Podio is extremely powerful! It can be difficult to see the broad range of capabilities. Seeing what others have done through the app marketplace can help to stimulate your creative mind and create amazing solutions for your business.
3. Integrations and Extensions
Citrix understands that there are some amazing tools used by businesses every day. With this in mind, Podio has many app integrations that are either native to Podio or available via third-party apps, such as Zapier.
By far our most commonly used integration is Google Drive. Within any App item in Podio, you have the option to attach files. Instead of uploading a bulky document from my desktop, I access our Google Drive and simply link to the desired file(s). You can do the same thing if you use DropBox! It’s also possible to integrate apps such as Evernote, Google Contacts, Toggl, Xero Accounting, Quickbooks Online, and so many more.
There are also some great extensions that actually expand on the power of Podio. One of the most popular (and powerful) of these extensions is Globiflow. Globiflow is an application that supercharges your ability to set up workflows within Podio. You set up basic triggers and rules that will automatically start a workflows within your Podio workspace. These workflows can create new items, update existing items, delegate tasks, and even create PDFs and emails.
How Much Does it Cost?
There is a free version of Podio that has a tremendous amount of power. I was personally shocked to see the capabilities of the free plan. Podio has a tiered pricing structure based on the number of users and desired features.
Podio may or may not be the solution for you. But you owe it to yourself to at least check it out. You should be able to gather a strong opinion on the potential benefits by playing around with the free version and installing some sample applications.
I have a lot more detail related to Podio to share. Feel free to reach out or comment with any specific questions or areas of interest.
Leave your questions and comments below!