BLOG. SMART PRACTICAL BUSINESS ADVICE

How a business owner transformed the small business he HAD into the one he WANTED

With using separate apps for client tracking, new projects, technical support tickets, invoicing, and internal administration, iLifeStyle was suffering from miscommunication and lost time. Founder and Chief Expert Ryan Powell knew there had to be a better way to run his business -- and he was right.

iLifeStyle

Company

iLifestyle was founded in 2011 as an on-site technical support and repair service for small businesses. Today, iLifestyle is a cloud solutions provider and consultancy focused on the retail service and skilled trade industries. The company finds interconnected cloud-based solutions for those verticals that that all work well together and save them time and money in their day.

Challenges

iLifestyle began as a more traditional IT company focused on working with businesses in specific industries such as retail, quick service, and skilled trades. According to iLifestyle’s founder and chief expert, Ryan Powell, the company’s lead generation at the time was “chaotic” and their business processes were overly complicated.

“I was using a cloud-based solution for the most part, but I was using something like 12 different apps to manage every little aspect of the business,” said Powell. “I had apps for projects, apps for CRM, apps for social media management, and for tax management, and for employee tracking and time tracking. And it was just really unruly trying to make sure that the apps all interconnected. There was always one piece that didn’t fit.”

With using separate apps for client tracking, new projects, technical support tickets, invoicing, and internal administration, iLifestyle was suffering from miscommunication and lost time. Powell knew there had to be a better way to run his business — and he was right.

Around this time, iLifestyle had clients who were looking for all-in-one point-of-sale solutions. As Powell helped his clients find what they needed, it inspired Powell to look for a new solution for his own business. And after looking at various solutions, Powell found what he needed with WORK[etc].

“I found that there are a couple other ‘all-in-one’ solutions, especially in the IT industry, but I felt like WORK[etc] was the most transparent about how they worked and what their pricing was and what they were about,” said Powell. “I tried out WORK[etc] and I found that the feedback I got from the people who work with the app were really responsive. That really made me a believer.”

Solution: Everything In Once Place

“When I started looking for an all-in-one solution, it was the catalyst for making some big changes in what we do as a service offering,” said Powell. “When I found WORK[etc], my workflow really trimmed down and it gave me a better insight on what we were doing.”

Powell cites the interconnectivity and transparency of WORK[etc] as real game-changers for his business. For instance, the top feature of WORK[etc] that iLifestyle uses is integration with G Suite and the way web forms can be embedded on websites to collect leads and send them directly to the WORK[etc] platform for everyone to see.

“Before WORK[etc], there was no real process,” said Powell. “Things would change week by week because one app wouldn’t really work for us anymore and then we’d try something different. So it would start with a call and it would just be me remembering or writing a note down somewhere to go follow up with somebody or put it in my calendar. It was really scattered.”

Now, iLifestyle’s process looks like this:

iLifestyle's Project Map

After streamlining iLifestyle’s business process, Powell was able to focus on his service offerings; he figured out the type of work he wanted to be doing and the type of work iLifestyle was best at.

“By getting our business really focused from an administrative side, I was really able to hone down and say, well, what is it that I really want to be doing for the next 20 years?” said Powell. “Do I want to constantly be waiting for the phone to pick up or do I want to get proactive here and move to a more project-based company where we’re working on bigger solutions that are really going to run themselves for clients?”

That’s when Powell started to move his existing business model in another direction — cloud-based solution consulting.

Results: A New Business Direction

As as result of implementing WORK[etc], Powell says he has stopped providing in-person repair altogether. He is now aiming to offer remote consulting services exclusively, which Powell feels helps iLifestyle better serve its clients.

“Instead of just putting Band-Aids on clients’ existing hardware-based solutions, we’re getting them up in the cloud,” said Powell. “We’re getting solutions for our clients that are backed by an engineering team that if the point-of-sale server goes down, there’s 20 people in the server room trying to fix it so they’re not calling me at 11 o’clock at night wondering why their server doesn’t work in some closet in the back of their store.”

Powell has also grown iLifestyle from a one-person operation to managing three to five experts who all provide iLifestyle clients with top-notch consulting services as needed. Powell also expects the business to grow in the coming months, as iLifestyle completes its shift to a completely remote-based business.

“Our current growth stage is moving to a more remote focused business, and focusing on results-based work with our employees and contractors,” said Powell. “As our business grows, the need for us to have the WORK[etc] platform becomes more and more important.”

In addition to helping Powell change his entire business model, WORK[etc] has become one of the tools iLifestyle recommends to its own clients.

“If I have a consultant or a coach, somebody in that demographic that’s looking for something like an all-in-one system, then WORK[etc] is definitely the first place I have them look,” said Powell. “Next year it’s going to be a big growth area for us, teaching other consultants like us how they can run their business more efficiently using WORK[etc].”

“When I started looking for an all-in-one solution, it was the catalyst for making some big changes in what we do as a service offering. When I found WORK[etc], my workflow really trimmed down and it gave me a better insight on what we were doing.”

— Ryan Powell, Chief Expert, iLifestyle

iLifestyle

Requirements

iLifestyle was using a series of unconnected cloud-based apps to run business operations and needed a single solution that would streamline its internal processes.

Solutions

iLifestyle implemented WORK[etc], which had all the components — time management, CRM, project management — that the company needed in one cloud-based solution.

Results

iLifestyle shifted from its original business model of doing on-site IT support and repair for Mac users, to a new consulting model of remotely helping customers implement the best cloud solutions for their own businesses.

About WORK[etc]

WORK[etc] is a cloud-based, all-in-one business management software that breaks down the barriers between your customer relationship management, time management, and project management. With WORK[etc], here’s what you can accomplish in one platform:

  • Consolidate multiple apps into the one platform
  • CRM, Projects, Scheduling, Invoicing, Help Desk & more
  • iPhone, Android and web apps
  • Gmail, Outlook, and inbox gadgets
  • Open API and integration tool set

For more information, visit http://www.worketc.com/features-overview/.

  • David Jones

    This article is spot on with our experience as well. We had 4 or more systems in place for managing leads, projects, support, expenses and so on. Now we have a simple process where a lead turns into a customer, and then a project with time and expenses, to invoicing, and then ongoing support. Everything is logged in WorkEtc and tracking billable time and expenses on projects is a breeze.

    • Thomas Lawler

      Exactly we were using plenty of systems that were fine with one specific task, but it didn’t bring the team together. With Work[etc.]. We have solved this problem by allowing one space that all employees can work in a productive environment. No more emailing back and forth between co-workers. Everything is in Work[etc.] & its makes work life so much simpler.

      I think it’s awesome that you guys use the product that you sell, because it makes you that much more motivated to create a great & easy to use solution!

      Couldn’t be happier with our move to work[etc.].

      • I’m happy to second your thoughts. We moved to WorkEtc due to the integration of functional areas. Another great aspect is that it syncs with Xero which we use for accounting. The greatest improvement for us would be a faster interface, I’m hoping the new version will deliver on this.

  • It is such an honor to be featured! It really goes to show the close connection that Worketc has with it’s customers. As Thomas mentioned, it’s also really great that they are using the product they sell. Just yesterday I was helping a client with a solution that is somewhat similar to Worketc. It amazed me when in getting a reply (an auto response), a competitor’s branding was listed at the bottom of the email. It totally took me back to see that the unnamed app was outwardly showing that they were not using their own solution!

    The reason I mention this is because I feel connected with Worketc in the sense that they solved their own workflow problems, which in turn helped me solve my own and end up on their great blog! Thank you Dan and team for helping us get focused and telling our story to the world.

  • Greta article! One side of our company is IT and we have grown and stay organized. The support cases are awesome always being to keep track of everyones issues. Also when ever have a computer system we send out we use the task and projects and have them attached.

  • David McGarry

    I remember 5 years ago, talk of the cloud was (to me) just another buzz-term to bandy around. But now it’s become an essential part of technical-based businesses. I know our company has gone to using Azure and off-site hosting – because managing these aspects are so tricky these days.

    Let someone else worry about backups/ DDos attacks/ UPS power issues and all that other stuff that can be the bain of a small business and let’s just get on with what WE do well. This article reinforced why we moved over to the cloud and also why Work[etc] was a good choice for us.

    • Steve Westrop | WORK[etc]

      Thanks David. Be interested to hear more about how WORK[etc] has helped you grow and develop… always on the lookout for other case-studies!

  • Michael

    It’s amazing at just how many of us share the same type on experience. Life before WORK[etc] and life after WORK[etc] entered into it are two very different experiences. This was a great success story and a good use case for anyone looking to find something that connects all of their processes. Great job WORK[etc] and iLifeStyle!!

    • “Life before WORK[etc] and life after WORK[etc] entered into it are two very different experiences.’

      Great comment! I’ve shared with the WORK[etc] team.

  • Michal Brenneman Wahli

    My employer started using Work[etc] more as a trial with the intentions of figuring out if it was the proper tool for us to use as we grew from just a consulting company to a “little bit of everything” company. Being there with him from pretty much the beginning, I can say that it is definitely the software that we needed. It streamlined everything for us so that we could manage the different POS projects, bookkeeping clients, consulting clients, and media clients. We went from notebooks, sticky notes, and emails to a single place of organization. It’s also helped financially because we are better able to track our time and expenses appropriately.

  • Jason Royals

    Thank you for sharing Ryan’s business implementation. As a business IT consultant agency we strive for continuity and innovation. We provide onsite repairs as well and do cloud based server implementation. We also provide customers with real time results that can be communicated in a all in one application from Dallas to Austin Texas. It’s helped business grow in the fact that we can access real time data anywhere we go. Productivity on the go. It saves time, creates uniformity in notation processes and delivers by having a variety of integrated capabilities that run smooth and quick. I say our next big step as a CRM will be adding remote support capabilities within the app and software. Also mobile device remote support..

    • Steve Westrop | WORK[etc]

      Great stuff, thanks for sharing Jason. Hopefully the new mobile apps we’re working on will help take your business to the next level (as well as ours).

  • John Belchamber

    Another great article team.I’d agree that WOKetc has given me tools that allowed me to reevaluate the way I did business and develop more effective marketing, sales and customer support processes.
    Oh, did I mention it made me more effective at getting paid too!

    • Steve Westrop | WORK[etc]

      John, I think you may be onto a great idea here with WOKetc… let’s get groups of users meeting up at the same time for a stir-fry 😉

  • Looks like Ryan turned to WORKetc for many of the same reasons as my company. Our consulting business draws upon the expertise of specialists from three state universities who are all on different IT systems. WORKetc brings us all together and gives us one place to manage a client engagement from initial contact through marketing, sales process, proposal, contract, project, invoicing, accounting, reporting and support.

  • Brad Crowley

    We are still working to make our business what we want it to be. Using WorkEtc has saved us time and allowed us to consolidate most of our information to one place, it has been a big help.

  • Work[etc] really does love their clients. I have not tried this ilifestyle yet, but it looks like a very productive and easy to use app/program. Im going to have to try it and get my boss to try it.

  • I admit I still don’t use all power of work[etc]. Leads management is one of them. We’ve got a list of work[etc] options which we have to implement in our company in future. It’s a hug, great platform and I’m really satisfied with it.

  • Drew Tennimon

    Dealing with a 3rd party called IRS is never stress free. So we had to find a tool that would help us maintain our focus on what our clients were seeking. A payroll service that responds to time sensitive activities.

    Worketc entered into the picture one year ago, and we have never looked back. There are reminders, sharing communications with clients/employees and all within a reasonable price.

    Thank you worketc for helping us transform into a service that really matters.

  • Louise Roberts

    Reading through this article and others on the blog has made me realise that we are really under utilising what WORK[etc] can do. It is clearly a very powerful resource and I definitely need to go and see what else we should be managing with WORK[etc], it will only make our lives easier!

  • Great story I personally look forward to similar success.

  • I work more in the projects side and technical support part of the iLifeStyle equation. So I can’t comment on the earlier pieces, but one thing I can say is centralizing all elements for me is such a time saver. We have employees in the office, and employees that work remotely. As a smaller company, its imperative things don’t fall through the cracks. Having everything in one place and keeping everyone in the loop helps to solve that problem. I, like Biljana below, don’t use Worketc to its full potential. But as a company we do, and I have been able to witness the benefits.

  • Work flow is always relevant to any company whether you are 1 or 100 strong. Being organized leads to a better work and home experience. I can testify to the fact that when you manage one well the other parts of your life will become more manageable!

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