Stuart Leo is no stranger to changing things up. In 2009 he founded Blirt, and things were ticking along nicely. Then he put the company on pause to return to corporate work, but he couldn’t stay away long. In 2012 he kicked off what he calls “Blirt 2.0” and hasn’t looked back.
“Our goal is not to be an ad agency but a consulting practice that understands the science of creativity.” says Stuart. Blirt offers a range of different creative and strategic services from different offices across Australia. Originally, Blirt invested a huge amount of money in an internal project management system, but with the launch of Blirt 2.0, Stuart wanted to do things differently.
With the company’s second iteration, Stuart wanted to avoid a huge outlay of cash on systems. "The cloud had taken off, and I remember I agonized over the decision of which way to manage production for months. I knew whatever decision I made, we'd be stuck with for years and because it's not something you just change."
Eventually, the cloud won out. But which system? Stuart started off using several different cloud apps - a different app for every function he required. The price was right, but nothing would sync up, and managing all the different programs became a huge hassle. "I was constantly teaching people how to use ten systems to get one little task done."
WorkflowMax solved the problem; by keeping everything on a single system, Blirt could streamline their project management and gain visibility over what was happening in the business. "The main challenge was actually having a single big picture on the business, and we got that with WorkflowMax. Now that we could manage cash in and cash out, we could grow the business."
From the onset, Stuart’s business model had a unique problem that made finding a job management system difficult. "We wanted a platform that could handle having different business entities within one group." Blirt is a multi-office company, with each office as a separate entity.
"The businesses all collaborate with each other, because they target different industries and different parts of the country, but they survive and thrive on their own terms. Workflowmax allowed us to look at lots of different small businesses, while also seeing the overall picture for the larger business."
Creating complex, accurate invoices is always a challenge for creative agencies, especially firms like Blirt who offer such a wide range of services and require functionality like percentage invoicing.
But WorkflowMax makes this easy. "It's really simple and easy to get an accurate invoice out to the client, and then it's easy for finance to see if it’s been paid. Of all the systems I've used over the years, WorkflowMax is the best at getting that cash in the door."
Blirt make use of WorkflowMax add-ons to further refine the functionality they require. Stuart’s favourites are the Salesforce integration, Box integration and WFM Plan. "We run Box as our server and we connect our master client jobs folder, and all our different Workflowmax accounts all talk to the same folder on Box. When you have to collaborate together it's very, very easy. It's beautiful."
The agency also uses Salesforce to manage prospects and leads, and Stuart loves the WorkflowMax / Salesforce integration. "When we close an opportunity in Salesforce, it sends the information to WorkflowMax, creates the job, and all the consultant needs to do is go to that job in WorkflowMax, issue the commencement invoice and setup tasks, and away we go."
Stuart also takes advantage of WFM plan for studio scheduling. "We found, as we’ve grown, we didn’t have good visibility about time in the studio. Should we put more jobs into the studio? Should we be taking our foot off the sales pedal, or telling clients we can’t start their project for two months because we’re all booked up? With WFM Plan each designer can see their primary tasks, and we can see overall how booked out the studio is."
For Stuart, having his whole business on the cloud has been a huge contributor to his company’s success. Not only has it made the day-to-day running of Blirt simpler and more streamlined, but anyone in his team is able to manage projects wherever they are.
"We just pick up our laptop or iPad and go, and wherever we are we have our entire office. I’ve sat in the Virgin Lounge and punched out quotes and invoices and kept the business running - it takes ten minutes, and I’ve got bills out and money in the next day. That to me is invaluable."