In his own humble words, Alex Beard is a "jack of all trades, master of none"-- but after having spoken with him, I have to disagree. Alex was utilizing his Emory Masters in Public Health in Chicago, when two years ago he decided to return to Georgia to be part of his family's photography business, Magic Moment Photography.
The family behind Magic Moment Photography is an intelligent bunch-- Alex and both of his parents did their undergrad at Vanderbilt. His dad, Les, ran hospitals for 30 years and his mom, Loralee, has her Masters in Social Work. But underlying their education and experience was always a true love of photography. The family decided to start Magic Moments 20 years ago and have been providing photo services for schools, sports teams, weddings, and more ever since. In fact-- back in the one-hour photo days-- Alex remembers making buttons in the back of his mom's car when the business scored their first cheer league job.
Since then, Alex has gone on to do all different things. But since he returned to the family business two years ago, he has been a big factor in keeping the business organized and up-to-date. As Director of Research and Design, Alex makes sure clients receive their deliveries and that Magic Moments' staff is kept current with what's going on in the business, among other tasks.
"We've had whole jobs get delivered and lost by a client. We needed bullet-proof tracking."
The business was previously managing deliveries by recording the information in a notebook. He says, "Recording on a spreadsheet would have helped but writing everything on paper and having to go back and put it in Excel is cumbersome."
This inefficient process has caused problems for the business in the past, and has contributed to some disorganization and product loss. Not to mention having to interpret handwriting can sometimes be a challenge!
Being part of a small family business, Alex was looking for a solution to his data woes that would be quick and cheap. AppSheet came up in a Google search and he began to play with the app builder. Though it took some initial tinkering, what he ultimately found was an easy way to automate the process of tracking deliveries and other important information that needs to be shared company-wide.
He ended up making two apps-- one to track deliveries and one to organize information about candid photo shoots. Here's a screenshot of the delivery app:
Alex says that on any given day, Magic Moment Photography could be delivering any number of sets of photos, and shooting all kinds of events. The apps have helped the staff stay up to date with each others' tasks and whereabouts as well as plan better for future shoots.
Perhaps the most awesome part of this story is that Alex's apps have put technology into the hands of individuals who didn't have the ability before.
As he confesses, "My dad isn't really great with technology, but it's so easy, he has it on his iPad and uses it every single day."
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