Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Editor's note: In honor of National Small Business Week, we'll be sharing stories about small businesses that have gone Google. Today’s guest blogger is Jeremy Davidson, CEO of Monroe Restoration, a disaster restoration company based in South Bend, Indiana. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
When I first joined Monroe Restoration, the company couldn't afford to pay me, but I took the job anyway. I'd seen enough homes destroyed by tornadoes, floods and fires that I was willing to take a personal risk helping people get their lives back together after disaster. It didn’t take long to realize I wanted to run the company myself. I saved enough money to buy out the owner and took over as CEO in 2003. In the last ten years, Monroe has grown from a three-person operation to 27 employees across two locations. At that kind of scale, we can help a lot of people: when a tornado hits, we receive 150 to 200 calls in just a few hours, and on any given day, we’re managing between 50 and 100 projects.
Two years ago, we found ourselves in the face of a different kind of disaster: our Microsoft Small Business Server crashed, effectively stripping us of the tools we needed to help our customers. I turned to Boyd Smith, the founder of Google Apps Reseller TechKnowledgey Inc., for help. I’ve known Boyd for over a decade - we live in neighboring towns, we’re both training for our pilots licenses and he’d been our go-to IT guy for a few years. I told him we needed a new and reliable platform that would help streamline communication between branches and keep our field techs connected while they traveled on-site. He told me we needed Google Apps. We started migrating the entire company the next week.
TechKnowledgey didn’t just help us move to Apps - they’ve helped us become a better business. We buy a lot of materials from the road, so Boyd and his team built a custom purchase order system using Google Sites and Forms that lets our field techs request POs directly from their phones, wherever they are and whenever they need something. Our accounting team receives the requests and can approve them immediately, letting our employees buy the tools they need on the spot.
We’re always looking for new ways to grow the business and TechKnowledgey is continuing to show us how to use Apps to make it possible. When we opened our second office, I wanted our employees to feel a sense of camaraderie regardless of where they sat. Boyd and his team introduced us to and trained us on Google+ Hangouts. Now we can’t get enough of them. I’ll fire up a hangout to catch up with my General Manager or host an all-hands without even thinking about picking up a landline.
I know how to help someone whose roof has been torn off by a tornado or whose basement has been filled with water by a flash flood. I also know that Google Apps makes us better at saving and restoring these homes, and that TechKnowledgey helps us get more value from Apps than we could have on our own. And anything that makes it possible to get more people back on their feet after a disaster is a win for everyone.