ZipBooks

ZipBooks provides free bookkeeping software to small businesses. They use Lucidchart to wireframe web pages, collect feedback on marketing copy, make comparison charts, and mockup potential new features.


COMPANY: ZipBooks
EMPLOYEES: 3
INDUSTRY: Accounting

BUSINESS NEED: ZipBooks is a fast-growing startup that offers free bookkeeping software to small businesses. They needed an affordable, flexible diagramming tool that would let them quickly present designs and workflows both internally and to independent contractors.

SOLUTION: Lucidchart provided an collaboration-friendly solution that let them design, share, and store prototypes all within their Google Apps environment.

Challenge

ZipBooks focuses on making clean and simple-to-use software that lets users send invoices in seconds and manage their books without being a trained accountant. Many profitable businesses fail because they don’t have the tools to manage cash flow. ZipBooks’s goal is to let small businesses fulfill all their basic accounting needs without having to pay extra for the software.

Brad Hanks, VP of Marketing for ZipBooks, needed a visual communication tool that allowed him to plan and communicate feature priorities that he believed would accelerate user adoption. Since ZipBooks was still an early-stage VC funded startup, it was paramount that he could act effectively in his role to test and evaluate new user acquisition channels. He wanted to be able to clearly demonstrate features, workflows, and overall product traction.

Solution & Results

Hanks and his team chose Lucidchart for its collaborative capabilities and its powerful integration with Google Apps. They found it was the perfect way to quickly create wireframing prototypes and to map out workflows.

Describing his use of Lucidchart, Hanks explained: “I built a lot of wireframes to communicate to designers how we wanted various pages of our website laid out as part of a comprehensive redesign. As a startup, time is our most precious resource. Being able to show a picture of what I wanted in a real-time, collaborative environment saved me a thousand words on many occasions.”

For the product launch, Hanks also wanted to push out an iPhone app. Putting all the functionality of an fully-featured accounting and invoicing program into the “itty bitty living space” of a mobile app proved a unique challenge. Said Hanks, “It was nice to have a wireframing app like Lucidchart that has all the iPhone shapes that we needed and could simulate interactivity. When I shared a new document with our app developer, the demo mode showed him see exactly what we wanted to change, despite the fact that he was in another timezone.”

Contractor relationship management

Hanks and his team frequently work with contractors, which means extended email conversations about the final product. Hanks loved that using Lucidchart meant not having to send big files back and forth. “Lucidchart made it easy to get the big picture without having to send a single email, and it was always readily available.”

Reaching consensus

ZipBooks also uses Lucidchart to communicate internally, citing the usefulness of its short learning curve and its chat and commenting options. Previous to getting everyone on one team, Hanks was using pen and paper or MS Paint and passing it around to get feedback. He found this option tended to kill the momentum of an idea. Said Hanks, “There is magic that happens when you can iterate on a new feature or workflow in a way that preserves the discussion for rapid implementation.”

Documentation repository

Hanks and his team also liked being able to store all their documents in a single place. Lucidchart’s Google Drive integration makes this easy, letting them pull their files to a central source. They also frequently pull relevant Lucidchart diagrams into specific Google Docs so they can capture important workflows both in texts and visuals.

Benefits

Overall, Hanks and ZipBooks have made great strides using Lucidchart alongside Google Apps. Hanks was eager to explain the benefits of using both. “Using Lucidchart and Google Apps has played a supporting role in our success since day one. It would be shorter to list the number of projects at ZipBooks that don’t involve Lucidchart inside our Google Apps environment. We use Lucidchart to wireframe web pages, collaborate on our plans in real time, collect feedback on marketing copy, make comparison charts, and mockup potential new features that we are considering.”

Hanks most appreciated the time saving qualities of Lucidchart, noting that the faster development timeline let a small team like his own tackle ambitious projects. “Lucidchart saves us so much time and hassle on the normal email back and forth that I almost think of it as another employee on the team.”

See for yourself why ZipBooks and other top companies are making the switch to Lucidchart.