How This Two-Person Company Runs Off Cell Phones
Charlie Philp and Allison Fowler founded Sneakz Organic in 2012 to help parents sneak full servings of vegetables into their children's diet. Today the company sells its juice-box sized chocolate milkshakes in more than 1,000 locations across the U.S. However, with the co-founders based more than a thousand miles apart, with Philp in Colorado and Fowler in California, the two depend on technology to stay connected to each other, their vendors and potential clients. "Even though we are across the country from each other, it often feels like we are sitting next to each other in an office," Philp says.
Grasshopper. Sneakz needed to run off cell phones, but the founders wanted a professional presence and didn't exactly want their personal numbers to become public. The solution? Grasshopper, web- and app-based virtual phone system which allows companies to have a toll-free 800 number with multiple extensions. Returned calls appear as from the 800 number regardless of the phone Philp and Fowler are actually using. Furthermore, voicemails are sent as an attachment, meaning one founder can easily forward messages to the other right from a cell phone. "I enjoy bike riding on the weekends and have taken work calls made to the 800 number on my cell phone from the top of a mountain," Philp says.
Carrot. Without a formal admin department, Philp found keeping up with tasks like working on new flavors and scheduling customer meetings was becoming challenging. Thanks to a friend, he discovered Carrot, allowing him to take a non-traditional approach to his most hated task – crossing items off his to-do list. This list app uses gamification and animation to make accomplishing tasks more fun, allowing Philp to earn points and virtual prizes (like virtual fortune cookies) for finishing tasks. "My to-do list often feels very overwhelming," says Philp. "Having an app that makes it more fun, really helps. When you are laughing, it makes it more enjoyable to attack your tasks and get things done."
Refresh. When Philp walked into a meeting with a co-founder of another company, he'd done his homework. He knew where she had worked, what'd she'd tweeted recently and who they knew in common. But he hadn't spent an hour combing Twitter and LinkedIn. Instead he simply logged into Refresh, a mobile app that serves as a Cliff notes for the information people store on their social platforms. "Before discovering Refresh I usually didn't take the time to call mutual friends or check out all of their social media accounts, but now I go into most meetings knowing the common ground I have with the person," Philp says. Other unique features of the app include introducing people to each other and making notes in the app related to people have met or are going to meet. "When I look someone up before we meet, I can jot down ideas and questions that come to me as I'm learning about them. And afterwards, I can add notes that are there any time I look up their Refresh profile in the future," says Philp.
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