With TidyContact I am scratching my own itch, really.

Let me start by explaining how it all started… I promise it won’t be a super long read but it also won’t be as short as you would like I imagine. Back in 1999 I had a bad experience at one of the national tax preparation firms and decided to learn and do my simple tax declaration myself. After a few months of a lot of reading and browsing irs.gov I felt ready and waited patiently until the next year to fill out the tax forms on my own. One year after that I had a group of friends and family members asking me to prepare their taxes as well… yikes! In 2001 Sanchez Plus Services was born (officially) and at the time I had about 20 people paying me money to prepare their taxes.

Fast forward to 2005, that is when my family and I moved from Minnesota to Austin, Texas and at the time Sanchez Plus Services had about 100 paying clients and the little business was already very profitable! the interesting part is that we never opened an office or even had a website… in fact, we didn’t even met with our clients in person, it was all a phone/fax operation and I just worked on it after work during tax season (February – April). After the 2005 tax season I decided to stop preparing taxes for other people and started doing computer consulting instead since that was my day job anyway, at this point my wife took over Sanchez Plus Services which she had already been helping run for a few years already and knew how to handle it and get things done.

Today, she has managed to grow this business from about 150 clients in 2006 to around 400 and she is the only running this show. Today Sanchez Plus Services has an outdated basic website and even a Facebook page with contact information and nothing else. All of the customer acquisition has been through word of mouth and since we don’t have an office where people can go to, Sanchez Plus Services’ clients cover various states such as Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, etc… and to this day, all of the communication with these customers is still handled by one person and using a combination of phone, email and fax (I know!). The client’s contact information resides in a variety of places such as Excel files, a custom application, MS Access, Outlook and a product from Intuit called Customer Manager.

After Sanchez Plus Services grew to more than a few hundred clients, managing the communication, notes and reminders for all those clients became a big problem and a big pain. The tool that promised to help us manage this mess was Intuit’s Customer Manager application but it has proven to be very slow and buggy, specially when syncing data with other programs. This is where the idea for TidyContact was born.

There are many CRM applications out there, we know. However, most of the applications we have tried focus on sales tasks such as creating and manage leads, proposals and the like. Our tax preparation business don’t track that, all of our customers come from word of mouth and there is really not a sales process other than just simply prepare their tax return and then charge them for the number of forms filled and for other consulting services in case they need to resolve an issue with the IRS. Our little tax preparation business needs a tool to manage our existing contacts and the communication we have with them, nothing else.

The application that we need should be a tool to consolidate, organize, and manage contacts. It should allow to add notes and reminders about contact’s calls, emails, etc… It should let you find a contact’s detailed information and notes with just a few clicks in just a few seconds and that is what TidyContact is and promise to do for us, yes we are scratching our own itch.

When I started Sanchez Plus Services over 10 years ago I didn’t think of it as a business, and yes I know is a micro business but still a business. It generates a nice revenue and it is profitable, a bit more than ramen profitable I would say. The tax preparation business was started to offer a better option for people who want to avoid having to go to the national tax preparation firms that employ temporary workers to basically do data entry and that for the most part don’t have the required knowledge about taxes to actually help you when preparing your personal and/or your small business taxes.

I want to do the same with TidyContact. A simple application that solves one problem for small businesses.

TidyContact is not a CRM, it is not a proposals and deals track tool, and it is not just contact sync tool. TidyContact is a simple contact manager application for small business. It lets your consolidate contacts from various places such as LinkedIn, Google/Gmail, Outlook, etc and it also let you add notes.

I am almost done with the development of this application which I have been bootstrapping from the beginning and working on it at nights and whenever possible. I talked to some small business owners and other people who are self-employed and many of them are interested in trying it and even pay for it! I have about 50 people now signed up to try the beta version of it and I just hope that a few of them end up signing up for it and become customers for many years, like those of Sanchez Plus Services.

If you think TidyContact could be useful for you and your business, please sign up for a demo which is coming very soon, and if you have any questions or feedback about TidyContact please use the comments section below or email me. I am always here to help.


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