KickIt Digital, based in Ottawa, are more than your usual digital agency. "We work as an ongoing mentor/advisor with our clients", explains their CEO, Alexander Leslie. "We go beyond creating and implement a digital strategy into areas like operations and management. This way we help clients grow revenue and lower costs through things like training, bookkeeping and business process improvement".
However, there was a catch. "While we often knew where the problems were, fixing them was often difficult because of inadequate tools - and honestly, as small-business experts, we're a bit embarrassed to admit we felt it acutely in our own small business".
Things like communications breakdowns, mistakes and errors in managing client work and general chaos were often “the norm, not the exception in both our business and in the businesses of our clients”.
Andrew Maitland, who is a business process specialist at KickIt felt this most acutely when it came to working as a team with their clients. "When we're engaging with a client, it is always a team effort - designers, developers, trainers, strategists, even bookkeepers" explained Andrew, "but the most common way we work with clients - email - isn’t built for teams at all".
"We always felt like the left hand didn't know what the right one was doing, and to compensate we'd waste lots of time on admin, management overhead and more which didn't really help our clients one bit". Then the team discovered Accelo.
The first thing the KickIt team were able to do after starting with Accelo was use email as a team. "You had us sold on email capture", explained Andrew. "Having everyone in the loop when it came to monitoring our client interaction was amazing". The fact this worked with the way the staff at KickIt already used email without any new apps, plugins or changes in behavior made "Accelo seem like magic".
Having solved the isolated inbox problem, KickIt then moved onto their next challenge - systemizing their business. "As Gerber says in the E-Myth, if you don’t have a system, you don’t own a business. You own a job. There were two parts to us systemizing KickIt", explains CEO Alexander Leslie. "Firstly, we set up our business processes in Accelo so we had consistency around how we work, and secondly we set up our service offerings in Accelo so we had consistency in what we did for clients and streamlined administration".
After trying dozens of other online/cloud products, Alexander has found a business platform, not just another sales or project management tool. "With Accelo, we've been able to eliminate an entire middle level of management, and spend most of our time delivering value or advice to clients, instead of having our people swapping information and doing mundane tasks like locating files or having constant project update meetings."
Andrew concurs. "What I like is that you can literally work in that tool all day long and you don’t need to jump to your email and back and forth to a task list and then a project management tool - you can really work in Accelo the entire day."