Trello: a review for onboarding software

I thought I would give you an insight into my onboarding process and the way that I manage the flow of clients and enquiries through my business. I am not short of examples where I have reached out to a business for information, or for help, or to be added to a list for a future session. And then not been followed up with.

It’s frustrating as a consumer and it is heart-breaking as someone who just wants to see micro and small businesses succeed. It is SO HARD being a small business owner already, why lose that ready interest in your business?

So I endeavour not to be that business with my own process.

Trello looks like this

A board – is a space where you hold all the information on a certain project or theme that you want to gather in one place. There is no limit to how many boards you have on your profile. So for my onboarding, I have a board called ‘Clients’ and I have everything regarding clients in one place.

A list – is where you gather information on that theme. So for me, I have different categories of client i.e. active, lapsed, closed, enquires, collaborations.

A card – is the specific, individual piece of information or topic.

So for me, each client is a different card. Don’t be fooled. There is a lot of information to add once you open up a card! Trello can be more than just a to do list.

I started using Trello after I was recommended it by a client who was using it for her business. I like to trial new software out and regularly have several things on the go for learning. Trello has stuck and I also use it to manage other onboarding systems for my clients’.

For me these are the top three features, I’ll go into them in some detail and how they really help with my onboarding process:

Price It’s free. That is always nice when you are a small business right?! There is a paid plan with Trello, it is $9.99 a month – the information regarding what enhancements you get with the ‘Business Class’ are here but for the purpose of this review, if you are a small business with limited users and therefore have little concern about oversight and security, Trello ‘Free’ has everything you need.


I live in the 21st Century so yes, I am a product of the 8 (5?) – second attention span. If it takes me 10/15 minutes to work out how on earth to add a client to a system, it has lost several early points from me.

It took less than a minute for me to start working out how Trello works. And if you try things out and it’s not exactly right, it’s also incredibly easy to delete things and start over. I have used tools before where you make mistakes but then can’t work out how to undo them. Not ideal.

The card system is genius. It has several built-in time-saver functionalities that can help with your onboarding such as:

1. Checklists – once you have created a checklist you can pick that list up when you are creating a checklist for another card. For onboarding this is incredibly useful as you are likely to have the same information to collect across your clients and products. Worth putting the time in in the beginning to make sure that these lists are comprehensive.

2. Due date – this is a great touch because it is a visual cue to remind you of important dates on a card – red when passed, green when due/completed. But that’s not all. You can link it to your google/ical and there is a calendar overview on Trello as well – all the info is here. No brainer for ensuring that you do not forget important deadlines with onboarding your clients, like an initial call.

3. Attachments – saves you time hunting around for bits and pieces of information that do not fit into a client file that is relevant to your onboarding, for example approvals (could be the confirmation of a project via email) and other relevant and important information.

4. Labels (coloured) – great to use if you have different groups across the same list to help you identify different categories quickly. I have different client types depending on what product they are on, I use labels to identify these quickly and easily. Make’s spotting patterns useful!

Adaptive and personalised Trello is a blank slate so you can make it your own for however you want to use it without having to put your info into pre-determined boxes.

What I also like about Trello is that it is drag and drop – so when you need to change something (in my case for example, move an enquiry to an active client) it’s just the click of a button rather than having to change any settings or spend too much time over it. The benefit of this for your onboarding is that when the status of a client changes you can easily amend it, update it and change it you see fit.

Your business is original so should the way that you set up your systems. A few different ways you could personalize Trello for your onboarding process:

1. Label your lists Red, Amber, Green for enquiries and active clients. 2. Set boards up according to your different products and services. 3. Have a different list for each day of the week and a different card for each class you run on that day. A little bit of forward planning and you can devise your boards, lists and cards in a way that makes complete sense to your business.

The app

I have only started using the app this week. Part of the way that I ensure that I do not miss anything with new enquiries and clients is by working when I am working at my desk. So I tend to use Trello solely on my laptop, however, for the purpose of this review, I did download the app.

And I don’t know about you but I tend to download apps…and then never get around to using them. Once I have invested time and energy using something on my laptop, I am far more likely to then pick up the system and use it on my phone. That is because it is harder to use on our phones and therefore our patience for it is much shorter. Generally I think that this is a good tip when trialLing out new tools.

I have been really impressed with it for an overview of your boards, but it certainly has its limitations:

1. You can’t add documents and email attachments. 2. You can’t pick up a checklist from another card. 3. Calendar overview is limited (mainly due to the screen size being so much smaller).

So there you have it. What I hope is an overview of how Trello could help with your onboarding and how I use it for my own. If there is anything that I have not covered here, please drop me a message and I’m happy to answer any queries. And if you’d like to know anything about how I can help with your onboarding, get in touch!


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