As students of the Smith School of Business Accelerated MBA program at Queens University, we were tasked with finding an interesting growing organization that we could engage with on a consulting project to help us apply what we were learning in our program.
Aptly named Toronto A, our consulting team of 8 motivated professionals were eager to bring our A-game, academic tools, management skills and prior work experience to help an organization solve challenging and equally intriguing strategic issues. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that being prepared for the unexpected is critical, which is why deciding to work with our new client SingleKey was easy. They are an organization that helps residential landlords secure that much needed peace of mind.
In the Spring we quickly realized that our consulting engagement will have to be virtual, but luckily with the aid of technology and the effortless diplomacy of SingleKey staff, led by Viler Lika, we quickly pivoted to videoconferencing.
What struck us immediately when working with the SingleKey team is the deep commitment and passion they have for helping landlords feel secure when making tenant decisions. After gaining an in-depth understanding of the organization, its people, and their strategic plans of moving across the border, we defined our new client’s requirements and scope of our consultancy.
Together we navigated the compliance hurdles that exist when operating in the US and leveraged our MBA education to navigate this powerful learning experience. We all brought unique talents and perspectives to market research and strategy and were given hands-on opportunities to practice our teamwork and leadership skills.
Some of our work included industry and competitive analysis for the US expansion, search engine optimization, employee sales training and user experience management for their website to make sure it is secure and simple. SingleKey gave us a lot of feedback on our recommendations and incorporated them into their tactics for enhancing the experience that landlords have with processing credit and background checks.
The next part of our project involved assessing referral program partners. SingleKey gave us a list of providers they were considering for a referral program as well as a set of criteria that was important to them in selecting a provider. The Toronto A team was to conduct more research on each one, complete demos for each company and present a top three to the SingleKey team.
Obtaining the key criteria was helpful in researching potential partners as it allowed us to have a better understanding of what SingleKey was looking for and allow a better assessment of providers through the lens of the SingleKey team. After narrowing down the list to a top three, we presented our findings and collectively decided that the best course of action would be for SingleKey to complete a demo with each of the providers to determine the best fit.
This part of the project made us feel like we were really making an impact by assessing referral partners and determining referral strategies that will help SingleKey reach more landlords across Canada and the US! From the start of our engagement (in May 2020) to the end (in October 2020), SingleKey sales grew over 300%, in part due to the successful US launch.
As for Toronto A, we couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience consulting SingleKey as we gained firsthand insight into entrepreneurship and a growing business.
Viler let us drive ideas and make decisions while empowering us to steer direction when appropriate. Each and every one of us are inspired to take on the challenges of more senior management positions in our own careers. While some of us already have experience selecting tenants, and others are still working towards becoming landlords ourselves, all 8 of us now know where to go for support and advice to make sure we make the best decision.
We are confident that we will hear great things about SingleKey for years to come and are happy to have provided value to such an exciting company.