How this small team of business-to-business PR experts uses Timetastic to lighten the burden of admin.
Step inside Big Ideas Machine and you’ll find just a small bunch of dedicated people, led by directors James Kaye and John Ozimek. Making the most of all the modern techniques at their disposal, they come up with the answers to their customers’ PR conundrums across a varied landscape of tech, mobile and beyond.
"We set up Big Ideas Machine because we wanted to work for ourselves and be masters of our own destiny. We'd got sick of working hard to make other people rich. It helps that we happen to love games and tech, so it was a natural progression."
Big machine, little team
The team behind Big Ideas Machine help tech companies generate leads and build up a base of valued customers. They took on the task of raising awareness of app marketing conference the App Promotion Summit for three consecutive years and as well as receiving extremely positive feedback for the events, attendance figures grew every year.
Meanwhile, for fresh UK startup Intoware, Big Ideas Machine deployed a whole range of services and skills to renew the software company's marketing and PR strategy. The goal was not only to drive more sales, though, but to build up the brand and increase its attractiveness to future investors.
With no internal marketing or PR staff of their own, Big Ideas Machine had to pull out all the stops and got stuck into sorting out Intoware's marketing, PR, social media, web design, content creation, copywriting and even graphic design. They also turned two websites in to one all-encompassing destination. It's a wonder they even managed to leave the office with so much work to do.
To help keep the machine-fuelling ideas flowing, the team works in an expansive space with a very industrial feel. There's exposed brickwork, concrete flooring, wooden structures and a cool stainless steel coffee machine for a dash of alertness when the time comes—or a hammock if you need to unwind.
Fighting the admin trudge
James says that beyond the typical challenges facing an agency such as client retention, he’s keen to avoid "over-servicing" clients. He also mentions the drain of admin a business owner is up against, whether it’s HR, finance or myriad other things. It is here, James says, that "really good cost-effective tools like Timetastic can make a big difference".
Escaping a sinful spreadsheet
Before discovering the soothingly simple world of Timetastic, James and the Big Ideas Machine team used a shared Google spreadsheet to keep track of who was taking time off. And although embracing the Google Sheet might seem like a pretty modern way of doing things, James said using it to manage staff absence meant it was "destined to be a horrible failure". Oh dear.
Waving goodbye to calendar invites (if anyone remembered to send them)
Memories of that clunky and inefficient spreadsheet were soon forgotten after signing up for Timetastic. As well as considering it to be a "great overall tool", James also values a number of features: “We use G-Suite for business and so having the ability for the system to automatically sync with any leave that has been booked is massively useful. No more sending round calendar invites or even forgetting to send them out.”
It’s brought unexpected benefits, too. Since the switch, James says he’s got quite a bit more time on his hands.
“The beauty of Timetastic is that it is simple, reliable and intuitive. New people can immediately understand how it works. It requires zero training."
An invaluable tool when running a business
For a business that James admits is not "inundated with people taking time off’, you might wonder how much of a difference Timetastic can make. Much like this small team with big ideas, sometimes it’s the finer details which can have the biggest impact.
One of James’ most valued features of Timetastic is being able to monitor weeks where there may be a potential clash. He says it’s a "life saver when we are all working on client accounts and need to ensure that there is sufficient coverage". Having embraced his staff leave planner and its associated joys, James certainly isn’t mourning the loss of the shared spreadsheet.
“I think that every single business should be using a staff leave planner and Timetastic is far and away the best one that I've seen.
"It represents terrific value, is well designed and an invaluable tool when it comes to running a business and dealing with the headache of coordinating staff leave outside of our calendars. I rarely evangelise the different monthly software and services that we use, but Timetastic is undoubtedly up there with the best of them.”