A majority of professional service businesses prioritize and focus on growth. When assessing upcoming quarterly goals, it's no surprise that the topic of 'growth' frequently appears on the list. For startups and established companies alike, the main goal of the organization is to garner new clients and discover new talent. Oftentimes, there's an important component that's slipping through the cracks. The very idea of solidifying operations—especially in the early stages—remains untouched until the business shows serious signs of inefficiencies. When things begin going awry internally, the attention is shifted to how to improve internal operations, but by then, it can often be too late.
While this is the norm for many companies, a few have managed to figure out the secret and avoid chaos. Marc Avila and Lysa Miller from 3 Media Web managed to sidestep this common issue by focusing on operations earlier in their business lifecycle. Marc, the CEO and founder, and Lysa, the President and co-founder, were both seasoned owners of successful agencies when they joined forces in 2015. They knew first-hand how difficult it can be to implement a generalized operations strategy, and they decided to do things differently.
"There came a point when we had to decide what our main point of focus would be," Marc explains. "For us, we knew that if we didn't have operations to support our business, we would probably fail."
Their experience in running agencies taught them that this needed to be a top priority, and that they needed to get a system that could support the company's needs.
"Before Accelo, we didn't really know how much time we were spending with every client or how much money we were losing," Marc recalls. "If a client bought a 24-hour support agreement, we were often doing a lot more work for them. In the end, we were likely spending 36 hours of support, but we weren't tracking that properly. We didn't have the capabilities to report on that very easily, so we were just giving away our services for nothing."
Before investing in Accelo, Marc tried to build his own solution and relied on more manual alternatives to keep track of business operations. In 2014, he discovered Accelo and knew that platform could solve his biggest pain points.
"Previously, all project management tasks were done with Excel sheets," Marc explains. "Invoicing was done with different software and time tracking was monitored elsewhere. Now, we use Accelo for all of these trackable and billable items, so we're now able to monitor, act on, and make decisions based on our team's Accelo usage."
After a successful implementation and the right people were on board, 3 Media Web was able to hit the ground running while dramatically increasing their revenue and business success minus the chaos that normally comes with it.
"It's a really great product overall," Marc said. "We love it, and we have all different types of people using it, from project managers to support to social media team members."
With Accelo as their system, 3 Media Web has been able to run a much more profitable business and grow with confidence—so much so that they were able to successfully acquire another agency. They rely on Accelo to run all of their operations and save on average 20 hours a week to focus on more meaningful work. Overhead has also been reduced by $156,000 by implementing Accelo.
"It's allowed us to communicate more with our clients so that we have a better relationship with them. Now, when we're doing retainers, we're emailing them, talking to them, and helping our clients understand how much time they’re using and how much they should be using," Marc explains.
In addition to assisting employees to keep their current workload on track, Accelo has dramatically boosted profitability because they're not missing out on untracked revenue that they would have lost before. The team was so happy with the results, that they have gone on to recommend Accelo to other agencies.
"Accelo has definitely paid for itself," Marc says. "Just the increase in fixing some of the pricing problems with our retainers—that alone pays for it. It's paid for itself many times over."