Knowledge is power, and when you’re an entrepreneur and running a small business, it’s a challenge to get sufficient people-power to catch all the relevant information and news out there. We talked with Michelle Frome, president of C2I Intel, which solves that problem by delivering that knowledge directly, providing competitor and industry intelligence to help companies gain a leg up.
Michelle’s path to providing the business scoop was indirect. Brought on by a company to help build an electronic medical record product, she found that she needed a way to keep track of confusing and evolving regulations, as well as keep up with competitors. She worked with programmers in Vietnam to create the technology that would automate much of that work. With the medical records project up in the air, Michelle and her team decided to focus on developing the software for business intelligence instead, bringing in review teams to help target, tailor, and finetune the research.
Recently, C2I Intel was accepted into Tampa’s version of Shark Tank, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Startup Scholars Program, which aims to ignite innovation and foster entrepreneurship in the area. Michelle saw how helpful her product and expertise would be to many of her fellow applicants, explaining, “We’ve actually been working with the other companies that were there. There’s a woman who designed this thing that turns any water bottle into a baby bottle. She spent money on a mold, and it fit every single bottle except one. She had to spend more on a new mold where she could’ve had us keep track of the changing trends of water bottles. We could’ve let her know.”
Michelle needed a way to deal with her own knowledge gap, between herself, the domestic team dispersed throughout the U.S., and the overseas team. Michelle found it especially challenging to be kept abreast of the Vietnam team’s accomplishments, given the twelve-hour time difference and language gap. “I’m not a software person, so I was constantly having to bug them all the time to find out what’s going on. With iDoneThis, it’s so much easier because I’m able to find out exactly where they are with projects, any issues that they’ve had with it, any software glitches, and what they’ve done to fix it.”
That easy communication also works when dealing with current and future investors. “It’s been nice because we’ve actually been able to chronicle our daily activities,” Michelle comments. “We can forward the daily summaries over to our investors so they know where we are with projects, and we can show people how far we’ve come.”
Getting everyone on board with using a new tool is always a challenge, and the C2I Intel teams also felt some bumps in implementation. The ability to tailor the email delivery times became key for such a widely distributed team. Michelle also emphasizes the importance of setting clear expectations not just for her team but herself. The team can see from her own entries that she’s meeting and bringing on new clients, and everyone can hit the ground running.
From beta testing with a handful of clients over the summer, C2I Intel is aiming to grow to one hundred within the next few months. Such fast expansion can bring into high focus how time is being spent. Using iDoneThis has translated to more efficient meetings and handling of information. As Michelle recalls, “there was so much time wasted going over the status of our project that we weren’t making any progress. This way, we don’t have to spend time recapping.”
There’s also a single, comprehensive source of reference. “Bringing on a lot of new clients can get really overwhelming, but now we have one platform that collects all the information. We’re not having to go hunt for it. It’s right there every morning!”
We’re impressed with C2I Intel’s focus on helping startups take off by delivering information and excited that iDoneThis is making it easier to do so!