ROLL User: Bianca Punt, Director and Business Developer
The Business: Attraction Studio
Industry: Branding and design studio
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Who are Attraction Studio?
Attraction Studio is a brand, web and marketing company in Christchurch. We’re the whole branding package for our clients. We develop their brand and their marketing strategy, we design and develop their website, we design and execute their print and digital marketing materials, and we report on results. We build a solid relationship with our clients so they have that trusted source for all of their marketing needs, as opposed to trying to piece it all together themselves without knowing what to do.
What makes you different?
My business partner Tania and I have hands-on experience running small businesses and understand the constraints that a small business budget might have on the creative and marketing aspects.
I ran a retail shop in Sol Square, Christchurch when it was first starting up and know first-hand how hard it can be to run a small business. I was one. I can empathise with them and understand the budget restrictions that they often have. The location we were in was really quiet for the first two years, so we had to find cheap and innovative ways to promote ourselves and market our business – especially when there were diggers outside our doors while the paths and new stores were being built and foot traffic was scarce.
“I know first-hand how hard it can be to run a small business. I was one. I can empathise with them and understand the budget restrictions that they often have.”
Tania’s experience is in managing design and production for a signage business, so together with my design background, we have a great understanding of the production process, how to actually make things, and how much they cost. Our clients love that we can do all the design, branding and execution for several types of media – including print and signage – and that we take care of all of these elements for them.
At Attraction Studio we think about budgets and production, even before we start designing. We work our creative ideas around them, rather than the other way around.
Life before ROLL
We’ve been using ROLL for about two years and are only in our third year of business – so we discovered ROLL very early on. At the time, there were only the two of us in the business – Tania and myself. My role was business development and Tania was the designer and web developer. We had worked together for eight years and found managing projects together pretty easy. Using paper-based systems, such as physical diaries, worked in the early days but we also knew the frustrations that came with a lack of systems and tracking.
Once we had a decent range of projects on the go, plus a quickly growing pipeline that had us both really busy, we knew we needed a system to manage everything. We didn’t want to miss anything or let down our clients.
“We knew the frustrations that came with a lack of systems and tracking... We knew we needed a system to manage everything. We didn’t want to miss anything or let down our clients.”
What other software did you trial or use?
We tried Asana briefly but it didn’t really fit our needs and we would lose or miss important information for our kinds of projects. It didn’t sort information the way we needed it to and it didn’t incorporate the invoices and financial side of things.
We then used Scoro for about four months. That turned out to be too comprehensive for our needs and was very expensive. It took too much time to enter in KPIs and project details that were unnecessary for our business, so we spent more time entering in job data than actually doing the jobs. We didn’t need all the metrics it provided.
As a result, we got very clear about what we wanted and didn’t want from a project management tool. We searched through over 30 options with a specific criteria list, and ROLL was a clear winner. One of the key things we considered was the ability to sync with Xero effectively. This was essential for us because we didn’t want to run two different systems, and yet we found a lot of software didn’t integrate with Xero. We also considered things like cost tracking, time tracking with ease, the time required to enter in projects and tasks, quoting and invoicing within the system, and the overall user experience.
What has ROLL done for your business?
Once we started using ROLL, we found we could enter projects really easily and know where all of our information was. We knew how to enter all the details we needed, and we could actually enter a new project within a minute or less.
What ROLL does really well is enable us to manage our projects efficiently including the team members working on them and the budgets. With its time tracking, performance tracking and the way it syncs with Xero, we can clearly see if we’re on track to meeting our turnover goals. We can see which services are building up and which ones need a bit of a boost. This helps us plan for increased staff or contractors and helps inform us about our pricing structures.
“With its time tracking, performance tracking and the way it syncs with Xero, we can clearly see if we’re on track to meeting our turnover goals.”
We now have six people in our team, but are very new to having staff, so time tracking in ROLL is really useful for us for managing them. Delegating tasks and keeping track of them would be a nightmare without ROLL’s way of presenting task delegation and time tracking. The budget tracking and team member time tracking are elements we have KPIs for as part of our business strategy, and ROLL helps keeps staff on track with time allocation for tasks and projects.
ROLL has also helped us integrate and train our staff. They can reference detailed tasks as part of a project rather than needing to ask us every time they get through part of a project. The process and task details captured in ROLL help staff members develop good habits around account management and customer care, meaning we don’t need to micromanage them. We use ROLL to prepare for our weekly team meetings by looking over all the projects in the pipeline, work in progress, due dates and each person’s task lists to prioritise and plan for the week.
ROLL also helps us manage costs of outsourced tasks and services. If we need to order something like sign writing, for example, we enter these costs into a project and can easily track whether a job is on budget or not. We can see whether we’ve accounted for everything when we invoice a client and make sure we haven’t forgotten anything. Keeping track of all of this in one place makes it easy to compare supplier costing structures year on year and allows us to be consistent with that for our clients.
How has ROLL added value?
I think the biggest value Roll has added is the ability to manage projects effectively and efficiently. We are more effective because we’re prepped to keep our clients happy by not missing or forgetting things. We’re aware of time and so generally come through on due dates; but if we are running late, we can inform them ahead of time. We’re more efficient because we are organised, on track, and aren’t spending more time documenting details than on doing the work.
Two standout benefits
- The speed of entering project details and tasks – and it’s so easy!
- The user experience. It’s easy to navigate, easy to get the information you want, easy to enter the information you need to, and it syncs with Xero.
If you were to sum up ROLL in one sentence... what would that be?
“It has become an essential part of our business for projects to be done effectively and streamlines everything from the start right through to after invoicing. It’s a system that enables us to come through for our clients.”
Ok, Attraction Studio, that’s two sentences. But we’ll let you get away with that.