Erik Lillquist gave up on finding a canned solution and instead, built a custom application with Knack.
Erik Lillquist runs Kinetic Events, an events management company that specializes in staffing and marketing high profile corporate and entertainment events.
Running events is a big juggling act – it means managing multiple streams of information. Everyone from managers to employees to freelancers needs different access to different info at different times from locations all over the country.
Erik had specific requirements he needed to manage this process:
- An application accessible from any location on several different types of devices.
- A portal style database for both managers and employees to access personal information.
- Calendar features for managing events.
- Job Board for managing job listings.
- Secure login for all users
His initial thought was to find a software product specifically for event management. He quickly discovered that most of the products he explored either couldn’t cover these requirements or were super complex products that were too expensive, difficult to use, and couldn’t be easily customized.
Erik realized that an out-of-the-box solution just wasn’t going to work. What he needed was a database solution he could customize to meet his exact needs.
Building a custom database
Given the specific nature of Erik’s requirements it is no wonder it may be difficult to find a “canned solution” that would meet all of his needs. Every business has it’s own unique set of requirements which is why people like Erik become frustrated when out of the box software doesn’t meet their exact requirements.
With Knack each application can be completely customized and there is really no limit to the type of solution one can create. This was huge for Erik.
“Knack’s greatest selling point is the ability to build a custom solution, any way you want”, Erik explained.
The first requirement, and maybe the most important, is the Portal feature accessible for both managers and employees. Initially, as Erik created his solution with Knack, he focused on the managerial aspect. This portal enabled his team to view staff they have employed, manage open positions on a per-event basis and assign employees to these events.
This functionality alone provided the foundation for the larger efficiencies Erik would find. The ability to re-assign employees to new events and elimination of repeat data entry started to trim the administrative workload immediately.
The addition of the customized Staffing/Event Calendar extended the productivity well beyond initial expectations. Now both the managers and the employees could view the scheduled events and work assignments.
The employees can view and apply for the positions available for each event using the Job Board. Managers collect the applications, assign employees and automatically trigger email alerts to each stating they have been hired for the event! These elements had previously been a challenge to customize with other platforms.
The tipping point is secure access for the cloud-based database solution. All stakeholders are required to login using a unique email and password in order to view their portal dashboard.
Furthermore, since Knack is an online database platform, users can access the portal from any event location, their home, or in the office, creating maximum flexibility.
The end result is a comprehensive database solution customized to meet each of Erik’s requirements.
Focus more on sales, less on managing your spreadsheet
“I’m a sales guy. I wouldn’t have gone after more business without this app, but now I have the time to go after new business due to the efficiencies our system has created.”
Erik shared these thoughts as we were discussing the way Knack has impacted his business. It was becoming increasingly more difficult for Erik to manage the events and personnel for each event, often missing out on new business opportunities.
This was a direct result of the amount of time it required him and his team to dig into spreadsheets, update records, assign jobs, post new hires and so on. Then for repeat customers/events, they had to go through the same process all over again since the spreadsheet solution lacked organized, historical relationships between the records.
After setting up the Knack online database solution, Erik was finally in position to focus on selling again.
“Knack changed the way I sell; last year we had 3x growth over the prior year. Since we have a large number of repeat clients, we can easily recall prior events, staffing personnel, images, number of attendees; all the data, instead of having to reinvent the wheel with every event.”
It is such a subtle notion on the surface – build a custom online database solution that helps efficiently manage data and reduce administrative time – but when one digs a little deeper it is clear that the efficiencies created go much further than saving a few minutes here and there.
As we have revealed in each of our case studies, the return on investment is 3x, 10x and beyond. Thousands of dollars have been saved and often just as much has been earned through new business, by people like Erik and companies like Kinetic Events.
Going into year number two with Knack, Erik is excited for the possibilities and he is already building some new functions into his custom database solution!