B2bee is an online accounting tool designed for freelancers and small business owners. Unlike Quickbooks, the Bee is intentionally created for those who don’t like numbers and who don’t plan on liking numbers in the future. Rather, the Bee is a cost-effective, easy-to-use tool that allows people to focus on their business – leaving the invoicing, expensing and profitability reporting to the expert insect.

Step 1. A notebook of sketches.
Step 2. 34 pages of wireframes.
Step 3. Peer review of our concepts.

The Idea

Starting (and running) a small business can be scary. There are a lot of hats to wear, and none more intimidating than that green visor worn by creepy-movie-bankers. Many entrepreneurs follow the advice of their accountants and buy a copy of QuickBooks. This rarely ends well, and usually just leads to more frustration. As an angel investor and seasoned entrepreneur himself, Scott Miller had a different take than most CPAs. He saw an opportunity to remove the accounting headaches for small companies and let them focus on their business.

The App

After wireframing, concepting, peer testing, and prototyping, Ample created the CSS and HTML stubs that would eventually bring the Bee to life. With this solid application blueprint in hand, Rob sketched out a variety of themes for the final user interface design. We felt strongly about making the buttons juicy, the messaging friendly and to allow users the ability to customize their experience.

We created two ways to accomplish the most most frequently used tasks in the app. One way is applied consistently and simply so that it immediately makes sense to new users. The other, which Scott named the “power column,” features macro widgets that make for an even quicker user experience.

The App - Dashboard
The App. It tells you what you need to know and makes it easy to get to where you need to go.
The Marketing Site - Home
The Marketing Site. Expandable drawers allowed us to maintain a clean design, while housing a boat-load of information.

Marketing the Bee

We really got to start this one with a clean slate. Adam proceeded to create a variety of unique versions of the home page, each one with a different degree of “Bee.” Similarly the copy was taken to full Bee, and then backed down to a more tolerable level. We also explored different options for containing the information.

Logo. We created a new mark to represent a friendlier, more active Bee.

What we landed on was a site the got to the point, had a little bit of personality, and felt fun, easy and simple. All things you might not expect from an online accounting tool. We provide the information through the use of video, we provide quick copy points with images and even go more in depth with longer copy. The idea is to not overwhelm people with information, but to allow them the opportunity to dig as deeply as they need to go, in order to convince them to sign up.

Online Videos

When it came time to launch the Bee, Ample was charged with building even more buzz in the form of online videos. Kevin created the script for three spots that hit on some of the best attributes of the bee. Each one featuring a man dressed up in a bee costume. Using friends and volunteer actors, we managed to knock out all three spots in a single day of shooting. Thanks in large part to the help of 7/79, a new video production company in Cincinnati.

Spot 1
Spot 1. Invoicing.
Spot 2
Spot 2. Profitability Report.
Spot 3
Spot 3. Organization.