Effective and Efficient Growth Management
One of the challenges of being a successful, fast-growth, service-based Interactive Marketing Agency is managing the growth effectively and efficiently. As sales increase, so does the need to manage more projects, billing, time, costs, contacts, customer service issues, etc.. Without scalable processes, bright people and flexible technology to manage all of this, too much success can catch you off guard. The purpose of this article is two-fold: to share our simple formula for identifying the right technology to help us manage our rapidly growing business, and introduce you to one of the best all-in-one technology solutions we’ve found. For the purposes of this article think of “effective management” as ensuring you’re managing the “right things” (processes, data, staff, contacts, emails, etc.) and think of “efficient management” as managing those “right things” well.
Documenting Your Technology Needs and Wants
There are so many technology solutions available to help you grow your business, that it can take more time than you have to go through and assess them all. Of course, you can find other sites that rate and review products for you to save time, but before you even go down that road, start here: Define your company’s short, mid and long-term needs and wants from a technology solution, along with anticipated user roles (what people will need to use the platform and for what) along with your budget restrictions (e.g. don’t want to spend more than $5K/year on a solution, etc.). How do you do that? Do what we did. We mapped out our existing critical processes (“As-Is” Process Mapping), pinpointed needs for improvement, mapped out the new processes as we wanted it to be (“To-Be” Process Mapping.. an ongoing task, btw) and used this data to create a wish-list of the perfect “all-in-one” technology solution. We then added preference details like budget, cloud/hosted vs server-side solutions and users roles to help guide our search. Armed with this requirements list, we looked to the CRM/ERP, Project Management, Sales Force Automation and BILLING technology arena for an all-in-one solution. After reviewing hundreds of potential solutions, I’m pleased to share the “best” one (based on our company’s needs, cost-benefit analysis and ongoing testing) below. We spent a few weeks comparing apples-to-apples among hundreds of platforms and what we found is a single solution that does more, better, for less.
A remarkable all-in-one solution Introducing WorkEtc.com.
This platform was one of the most robust hosted solutions we found. It provides nearly everything we were looking for to run our fast-growing, service-based business better. Not only does that platform offer all of the functionality listed below for less than the nearest competitors, but its interface is beautifully designed and highly intuitive! Check out this video to see what we mean:
Here are some of the features the platform offers:
None of the usual problems, plus Community and Innovation
Thankfully, the Worketc. platform doesn’t suffer from the usual problems that its competitors do: way too many (bloat-ware) or too little features; a user interface that’s either too complicated to learn quickly or too “clunky” to make sense; extremely high licensing, training and development fees; and so on. Another other big differentiator for Worketc.com is the degree to which the staff is involved with improvements via the online community. Their “Support Forum” hosts one of my favorite features – a “Features Suggestion” area that allows you to search, vote and post new suggestions. The company uses these suggestions to help establish their development road map, and many of them have already been added to the platform. That sort of “crowd sourced” development is not only innovation, that’s the sort of smart innovation that leads to brand loyalty. Just ask Apple.
Get the free trial
I’d strongly suggest checking out the Worketc.’s free trial which lasts 14 days and, unlike most platforms, doesn’t require a credit card! BUT make sure you’ve determine your user roles, needs, current “as-is” process and “to-be” processes/workflow (via process mapping) across all of your departments so you can go into the trial knowing exactly what you are looking for. This will also keep you from getting distracted by the myriad of features that some other offerings – often referred to as “bloat-ware” – deliver.
We’re still testing the WorkEtc platform, but whether we decide to stick with this solution or go with our second pick, we recommend checking out this platform for yourself to see if it’s the right offering for you and your service-based company.