I have been working with Airtable for clients for about 2 years now. At first, it was just a fancy spreadsheet to me, but in working through some of the problems that I was looking to solve for my clients, I realized that it is a pretty powerful tool that has applications in A LOT of businesses.
Since it is so flexible, sometimes it can be overwhelming to look at an "empty box" and try to figure out a good application for your business. An easier place to start is to look at the types of problems you would like to solve, determine the types of functionality that would help you solve those problems, and then look to source software that answers those needs.
This is what I do all day for my clients. I often meet with potential clients that are in love with a specific tool that they heard about, but on further conversations, we realize that the tool that they heard is amazing doesn't really work for their application. Or it does, but not without some heavy customization. This is so important to understand as you look to make your business easier to run, reduce manual processes, or try to automate some of the things that you can do in your sleep, but takes so much time out of your day, that it's always great to meet with someone (ahem) that can ensure that the tool you want to put in place is actually right for the job.
In order to give you just a taste of what you can do with Airtable, I wanted to share the types of businesses I have worked with recently, some of the cool things that we have done with airtable, and how it has transformed their business. I don't go into great detail, just because everything is so highly personalized, but if you are in a similar space, I am sure you can appreciate some of the things that I have done with Airtable, so let's dive in! Wedding Venue - Airtable + Zapier
I recently worked with a Wedding Venue owner who was running their event management on Google Spreadsheets, including tracking their events and key information. While it worked for them initially, and they had a thriving business, their staff was getting overwhelmed with the Client Relationship Management portion of their business. Meaning sending out reminders to their clients regarding their events, communicating with vendors and staff, and tracking confirmations. By moving their event tracking to Airtable, we were able to make their client emails send off based on dates and whether information was completed or not, send information and request confirmations via email, and the base would actually update based on receiving replies back.
We heavily used the Automations in Airtable directly, which meant they could update email copy as their business evolved, and used Zapier to track confirmations. By using shared views, they could create calendars of upcoming events and let the staff understand scheduling without having direct access to airtable. We even used Jotform to capture important details and confirmations. By adjusting where they kept their data, they were able to reduce manual data entry, automate communications, and allow management to have a pulse on all the moving pieces in their business. High Volume Construction Company - Airtable + Zapier + On2Air Forms + Google Data Studio
I have been working with a construction company that needed a way to track their proposals in various stages, and then also once the proposals converted to jobs, tracking the fabrication and installation process. Because there were so many moving pieces, we used Jotform as the interface for the team members to enter and make updates to proposals + jobs. I used On2Air forms to allow them to pull data from other tables as lookups, and also to standardize entry of information into the base. We used buttons in the base to prefill forms to update files so they didn't have to exactly match data.
We also used the automations in Airtable to communicate internally when files had reached a certain stage, and also sent emails to clients based on specific criteria in the base. I had also restructured the data so the base was cleaner, easier to read, and so we could run in-depth reports in Google Data Studio based on the data in the base. The Data Studio reports update hourly during business hours, and allow the client to see information that they need at a glance. We are now in the process of connecting their Airtable to desktop Quickbooks to further automate and collate the data in their base. Event Vendor - Airtable + Zapier + Jotform
This project was really cool. I had originally connected with this client because they wanted to use Dubsado for their event business. After reviewing their very detailed procedures, I realized that Airtable was just a better fit for them. We migrated their list of booked events to Airtable, and added in Jotform for their contracts, since they had various terms that needed to be added together based on the type of event and what they were contracted for. They also had detailed questionnaires for the event, so we used Jotform to capture the information that was once on a PDF sent to the client and add it to Airtable once the client filled it out. Their clients also had the ability to fill out the questionnaire over time and then send once completed. We used Page Designer in Airtable to fill back in the PDF so it was ready to print out for the event.
We also connected it to their bookkeeping software so that they could initiate invoices based on stages in Airtable. Communication is now initiated in Airtable and sent via Zapier so that they could have HTML rich emails sent. Placement Agencies - Airtable + Jotform + Zapier + Calendly
I have worked with quite a few placement agencies, and the movement to Airtable has been so beneficial to them. By moving their database to Airtable, I am able to automate so much with tracking new client inquiries and applicants, advancing applicants via status changes in Airtable, and initiating correspondence directly from the base. This means that emails are going out automatically, and when clients and applicants book in Calendly, their files get updated automatically.
Some agencies use different platforms for contracting. I really like using Jotform, as we are able to take placement fees at the same time that the clients sign their agreements. I've also gotten more and more requests for texting capabilities, and we are able to initiate texting via status changes and the app within Airtable (with an additional software). Emails are initiated directly out of Airtable from the automations, and via Zapier, depending on the client. Accountant - Airtable
I build a lot of calculators with Airtable. The relational database functionality along with the advanced formulas means that I can build things like an Accrual calculator for my client so that they can accrue income over a period of time to make their journal entries much more efficient. By uploading data to the configured base, the base does all the calculations for them, and takes just a few minutes to get what used to take hours. Digital Marketing Agency - Airtable
My client needed a way to track time from various team members against their projects and retainers so that they could stay on top of billing. With multiple team members and multiple projects, the reporting in Toggl was ok, but they were not able to efficiently see where time was tracked against various buckets of retainers, and also needed to see their profit against their team costs. So I used time tracking reports from Toggl to generate dashboards within Airtable, as well as create calculations based on which records were linked to a particular budget in the base. Spending a few minutes each month to upload and link the data meant they had data rich reports that used to be calculated by hand. Health Professional - Airtable
I worked with a health professional who needed a way for their clients to upload their health metrics on a consistent basis during their work together. They needed a simple form for their clients to fill in at regular intervals that allowed them to track their improvements. By using the Airtable forms, the person tracking just needed to enter their email on file and fill in the quick survey, and the data would be automatically added to the base. By creating a filtered view for each client that was shared when the client onboarded, the client had a real time view of their changes, and the health professional was able to run reports off the client data. By everything being in Airtable, they were able to create portals for each client without adding them to the base, and they were able to collate all that data for each client as well as their success as a health professional. How Can I Use Airtable?
I hope this gives you just a taste of some of the things that you can do with Airtable! This is not an exhaustive list, and just a taste of the things that you can do with Airtable. If you are looking for a data-rich environment, to automate things that were done manually, or just trying to pull various aspects of your business into one tool, then definitely check out Airtable. If you would like to connect to see if I can help you implement Airtable in your business, here's some more info