Increased profits and reduced stress levels don’t usually go together. But that’s exactly what business owner Lisa Johnston has achieved since launching an extranet service for her clients four years ago.
Lisa Johnston is the founder and co-owner of business-consultancy firm Sass. Based in the beautiful city of Blenheim, New Zealand, she and her team of six provide essential business and advisory services such as accountancy, book-keeping, marketing and HR. Mostly through word-of-mouth recommendations, Sass has steadily grown since it first opened its doors in 2006, and now boasts several hundred clients spanning almost every industry including healthcare, tourism and trades.
- How to add extra value for clients without adding extra cost
- Workload and stress increasing; finding experienced staff a growing challenge
For Lisa, providing round-the-clock support and expert advice for her clients is a priority. But being physically available 24/7 is unrealistic. With a growing client base in need of extra training, Lisa recalls a lightbulb moment she had a few years back which would later transform the business: “My idea was to find a way in which clients could feel supported no matter what time of day or night it was.”
She recognized that many small business owners complete tasks such as payroll, tax and other admin-based duties outside of the normal working day.
She continues: “I wanted to package the best of our resources – such as training videos, business templates, FAQs and more – into a secure, cloud-based platform, so they could access information to help them and their staff. This online space could also be used for clients to store their own content and documents.”
Lisa adds: “Not only would this be offering real value to clients, but it would also cut down the hours my team were spending on performing repeated training sessions, or responding to almost identical FAQs.”
“We had to come up with a way that did not rely on us being on call every minute of every day” – Lisa Johnston, Sass Founder
- A central extranet MyHub site for clients to access expert knowledge and business documentation 24/7
Lisa had clear ideas from the outset what her wishlist comprised: “Firstly, it had to have permission control functionality. This meant we could ensure clients had access to certain areas – such as our Accounting/Tax; Book-keeping and Payroll sections – according to their subscription level.
“Within these locked sections is a huge range of training material, so we wanted the appropriate messaging targeted when an unsubscribed section was clicked.
“Secondly, the site had to look good, be easy to navigate and easy to manage. Several of the team here at Sass upload and maintain certain sections of the site, and I didn’t want it to be overly technical, yet I wanted to have the freedom to style and layout content as I liked.
“Thirdly, I wanted specific features such as drop-down boxes on our FAQ pages; global site search functionality; automated emails sent each time new content was added; and metrics to see customer usage, for example, which content was performing well and who was reading it.
“Finally, the price had to be right.”
After researching and trialing a range of extranet solutions, Lisa selected MyHub. “For a start, I was able to speak to a real person! The level of one-to-one support I received from MyHub was superb.”
Lisa continues: “MyHub had all the functionality I was looking for – and the price was really affordable. Other vendors were charging a bucket load for the same features.”
“The implementation phase was completely stressless. MyHub took care of organizing the site structure, and followed up with training on how to manage the site – which we’ve since named Ysite.
“Now, we’re completely self-sufficient – but it’s still great to know we can reach out to MyHub at any time if needed,” says Lisa.
“Now, we’re completely self-sufficient – but it’s still great to know we can reach out to MyHub at any time if needed.”
- Gross profit increased: reduced overheads and reduced staff costs due to leaner operation
- Scaled services created greater value for a growing client list
- Improved internal efficiencies
“With MyHub, we’ve been able to scale our business in a way that we couldn’t have before. It’s enabled us to be a lean company, freeing up staff time to focus on creating quality content that’s relevant for our customer base,” explains Lisa.
“In reality, our approach has shifted: we’ve moved from charging per hour to more of a product business. We’ve become more efficient; we’re more proactive and less reactive. Our gross profit has really increased and stress levels have dropped!”
“With MyHub, we’ve been able to scale our business in a way that we couldn’t have before. It’s enabled us to be a lean company.”
“We can now confidently say we offer unlimited support for our clients – and the feedback has been great!”