The tools, apps and services we use in running our agency

October 10, 2019

The tools, apps and services we use in running our agency

Written by
Galen King

Just a heads up that we do earn an affiliate commission from some of these links. It's a nice little bonus but is not the reason we use—or recommend—them. We use and recommend the apps below because we’re genuine fans of these services and tools.

ClickUp

For task and project management, we have used a number of different tools over the years—Basecamp, Trello, WorkflowMax, Asana…. We recently switched to ClickUp, which is a robust, simple-but-powerful, well-considered project management platform. They have an impressive feature set and—best of all—a transparent and open roadmap.

Cognito Forms

We used Wufoo for many many years—and still have dozens of forms hosted there. We have evaluated numerous others—including Typeform, which is great for more step-by-step quizzes and surveys—but have ultimately settled on Cognito Forms. No other platform is as powerful but intuitive.

What we particularly love about Cognito Forms

  • The ability to save progress. This is useful for complex forms like design briefs but is also fantastic for us to pre-fill forms with as much information as we have before sharing with a client or prospective client so they can fill in the blanks. We use this a lot with our design briefs.
  • Repeating sections. The ability to create blocks of fields that can repeat endlessly is gold. Doing this in Wufoo was impossible and a huge pain.
  • Simple, seamless embeds—with easy CSS overrides.
  • Encrypted data.
  • Stripe integration for payments—including the recent ability to tokenize card details and create a customer in Stripe. This is fantastic for essentially giving us an interface to set up customers for ongoing billing through Stripe.
  • Prefilling forms via URL parameters.
  • Simple, intuitive UI.
  • Super robust rules and conditions.

Front

Before Front, each team member's email was siloed from the rest of the team. If we needed to delegate or discuss an email with a teammate, we would have to forward that email to them. This would create a new conversation and would make replying directly to the original sender difficult.

With Front, we operate an open-by-default email system in that all our work-related emails are shared across the team—except for the founder, management, and HR team for obvious reasons.

Transitioning to an open culture of information sharing across team members and clients has been hugely positive and enables us to better and more efficiently service our clients and stay more looped in with less need for internal communications.

GitHub

We use GitHub to track and manage all code changes—whether custom Ruby apps or Shopify theme development.

Harvest

For time tracking and invoicing, we use Harvest.

Officevibe

We use Officevibe to engage with our team through automated surveys and polls.

Pipedrive

We use Pipedrive to manage and track new project opportunities. We have Pipedrive natively integrated with Slack and Front. We also use Zapier to connect Cognito Forms, Quotient and Harvest during the sales and quoting process.

Quotient

We use Quotient for quotes and proposals. We've tried many platforms from WorkflowMax to PandaDoc, Proposify, Harvest and more and have not found any other platform that provides the simplicity and elegeance Quotient does. The best thing about Quotient is the ability to create optional line items and blocks that prospective clients can toggle to adjust the scope of work to fit their needs and budgets.

Shopify

What can we say? We've been designing and developing Shopify stores for more than 11 years. We live and breath Shopify and, in addition to helping merchants grow their online stores, we have built our own agency website on Shopify and have run a number of small side-project stores ourselves to kick the tires and experiment with what it takes to build and run a store.

Slack

We use Slack for all internal communications. This helps keep our inboxes focused and (relatively) uncluttered. We also use Slack shared channels with some of our ongoing retainer clients to streamline the process of asking and answering quick questions.

Xero

We use Xero for accounting and bookkeping—both in New Zealand and in the US.

Zapier

We use Zapier to connect the various apps and services we use to automate and streamline our process. For example, when a new brief comes in via Cognito Forms, it creates a company and contact in Pipedrive (if it doesn't already exist) and adds an event with a link to the quote.