Brockit Inc. is a studio-based photography company in the Keweenaw Peninsula—the furthest northern part of the upper peninsula of Michigan. We’re literally on an island in the middle of Lake Superior. Our studio is the upper floor of a 110 year–old school house with hardwood floors, 13' windows, and balconies overlooking the small town below us.
How we use smartQ
We have a small, eclectic crew of assistants, models, and second shooters, organized by a studio manager, with a single owner as the primary photographer. The Awesome Mitten called us an “edgy band of outsiders” and that’s not far from the truth. Our speciality is natural beauty, and we focus (pun intended) on portraits, commercial, glamour, and wedding photography.
We found ourselves losing track of post-it notes, text message reminders to ourselves, and notes scribbled on the back of our hands as we got verbal inquiries, voicemails, and emails about jobs. We clearly needed a ticketing system to keep us straight. And of course there was something for this - it was called smartQ. Fully customizable, web-based, and mobile-accessible, this has saved us literally, tens of thousands of dollars that we would have otherwise lost due to disorganization.
Every inquiry, task, and idea is entered as a ticket in smartQ. We assign these tickets to staff, give them timelines, and move them through a workflow we’ve customized for our needs. In full disclosure, our steps are: submitted | tasked to | shit has begun | done! At any one time we have two dozen tasks that we run through as a team once a week. We update them as we go, but we’re all mobile, traveling, random, and working constantly - so coming together to “run through smartQ tickets” keeps us on top of reminders to clients, reminders to ourselves, and keeps our workflow moving along.
This combined with 5pm which tracks our committed, long-term projects that mature from the smartQ tickets are indispensable to our business model.
As an added highlight, we’ve become addicted like so many others to Slack. The most recent enhancement to 5pm and smartQ is Slack integration. What this means is that as we update project timelines, progress, and notes in 5pm - as we add and move tickets along in smartQ - these updates show up in their own channel in Slack. No more email notifications. No more having to scan the apps for updates - we see these in real-time. This means we’re even more connected to the project timelines, more connected to each other, and even more on top of our workflow.
This all translates to efficiency and transparency - all with the ultimate goal of being professionally responsive to our clients - and in our business that’s what it’s all about. Taking photos is key, but being able to take the photos our clients want, in the timeline they need, and with the professionalism they expect - that’s where 5pm and smartQ come in. They’re the indispensable backbone of our workflow, and they keep us where we want to be: a premium photography studio that caters personally and professionally to our clients.