The Parent Practice, until recently, was a business run by Elaine Halligan and Melissa Hood, helping parents raise confident contented children, through the use of positive parenting skills. The business had grown to include a team of Trainers, and office managers and offered parenting courses, workshops, 1:1 coaching programmes, and did speaking events.

Due to COVID all their live events dropped off in 2020 and the business pivoted to offering more online products and Elaine saw an opportunity to streamline and operate a more efficient and profitable business model. Melissa was offered an amazing opportunity to do a Masters degree in Australia, so decided to leave the business and Elaine took on sole ownership. Until then the decisions around tech and systems had been developed and managed by Melissa’s husband, and Elaine had never had the head space to get involved in this, as she was too busy working IN the business rather than ON the business. She discovered the main CRM system was really designed for a much larger business.

Elaine planned to streamline the business offering by delivering more online via webinars, online self-study programmes and a hybrid of e-learning and virtual group coaching. While the legal and subject matter content changes were all in hand, Elaine was struggling with the tech elements of the business.

Elaine and I discussed her goals for the new business and the current tech set up. She felt the existing set up was confusing, complex and not very automated, resulting in a lot of manual work. Elaine was keen to simplify, streamline and automate where possible and she felt there were cost savings to be had.

I started the analysis by looking at the existing landscape to understand the types of data being collected and how it was currently being used. The existing CRM was Microsoft Dynamics which is a great product, but would be far too hefty and complex for Elaine’s changing needs. Also this required manual data extracts that were then imported to MailChimp presenting a risk of data breach through loss, corruption or unauthorised access.

Considering all of Elaine’s requirements and my findings when I looked at the existing landscape, I developed 2 proposed tech landscapes based on Squarespace and WordPress that incorporated integration with a small business CRM and email marketing solution. I helped Elaine set up trial versions and uploaded some test data for her to see how the systems worked. Choosing a tech solution not only requires a good range of functionality to meet business needs but the look and feel has to be appealing too.

Elaine and I discussed the 2 maps after she had looked at the trial versions of the software to explore what had worked and what she felt best matched her needs. We combined some of my original ideas with ideas presented by her website developer to design a tech landscape using software systems that Elaine felt confident using.

The implementation element of this project included running a full data extract from the Dynamics database, undertake a cleanse to ensure the list was GDPR compliant and identified those active newsletter subscribers for import to her new systems. We then set up her CRM, sales pipeline and automation where possible.

Elaine’s feedback:

When Melissa and I decided to go separate ways and I was left holding the business, I felt both excited at the prospect of being able to start again from scratch, but also frightened of all the tech required. There are so many moving parts and I knew that I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by all the technology and wanted everything to work seamlessly together, to allow me time to focus on delivery and excellent client service. I needed a new website, a new CRM system, a new accounting package, a new email marketing system and a new platform to host my online webinars. I started work in October and within 3 months I was ready to go with a stunning new website and new systems that all talked to each other, and I could not have achieved this without Jo’s initial report and overview.

Jo was instrumental in helping me firstly decide between WORDPRESS or SQUARESPACE and helped me see that via the use of ZAPIER I could connect up my website, with my lovely email marketing system without having to input manually, which is what had been happening before. She helped me do a data extract and cleanse from the old CRM and I now have a delivery rate on my emails in excess of 99.7% each time, meaning there are very few bounce backs, and the list is clean.

In scrapping all the old systems, my IT bill has decreased from £12,000 pa to £3,000pa. She even introduced me to a new IT support person, which again has saved the business significant sums, as the previous set up was not using MS Business Premium, so no need to pay for additional storage, as sharesync is all included.

The impact of being lumbered with systems that are not effective for a business is punitive and exhausting and working with Jo was one of the best investments I made and great value for money. I can’t recommend her more highly enough.

Elaine Halligan, Author, Speaker and Parenting Coach, Owner of The Parent Practice