Nestled on the edge of several highway corridors, Johnstown, Colorado, is a municipality experiencing rapid growth. With a population surge from 12,000 to nearly 20,000 in just a few years, the town stands at the crossroads of agricultural heritage and urban expansion. Known for its small-town charm and strategic location, Johnstown has become a community evolving with the times.
In a recent interview, we had the opportunity to speak with Hannah Hill, the Town Clerk of Johnstown, about the challenges and opportunities accompanying the town's growth. With over a year and a half of experience in her role, Hannah sheds light on how they’re preserving their small town feel while trying to introduce technology to her community.
Streamlining the business license renewal process
Like most towns, Johnstown’s business license renewal process was manual. For every one of their now 500+ business licenses, Hannah would print and mail out a paper license renewal to each business. The business would then fill it out and send it back in.
“One of the things that I noticed that was very difficult to deal with was that people would get the form, sign it and just send it in, but not necessarily update any of their information or fill in the missing information that we needed. “ Hannah Hill, Town Clerk for Town of Johnstown, CO
She would then manually enter that data into their software, print a new license and mail that back to them. Just the processing step for each renewal took between 5-8 minutes. For 500 renewals, that’s over 40+ hours of work, just for the final step in the business license renewal process.
That all changed when she connected with Bludot, a business retention and attraction CRM platform. With Bludot, local businesses are able to update their business licenses online and receive them via email.
Of course, to maintain relationships with her longer-term business owners, Hannah still prints out a few dozen licenses each year. However, she shares that many other business owners prefer this fast-paced method.
“The larger corporations are appreciative of that because they get it instantly and then they can send it on to the actual physical location that has to have it posted.” Hannah Hill, Town Clerk for Town of Johnstown, CO
By transitioning to email-based communication for business license renewals, businesses receive their licenses instantly. And Hannah has saved an incredible amount of time—she’s been able to reduce the processing step for each renewal to 1 minute per business, freeing up 30+ hours.
Advice for embarking on change
Hannah recognizes that for clerks and administrators in smaller municipalities, the prospect of transitioning to new software can be daunting, especially considering budgetary constraints. However, Hannah emphasizes finding your “why” for the change.
“My why was it saves me time. It has fewer errors, and it's so much more seamless for our customers, which are our businesses.” Hannah Hill, Town Clerk for Town of Johnstown, CO
Johnstown also took a proactive approach with their business community to communicate the change far enough in advance. By using physical postcards, emails, social media posts and newsletters, businesses were informed and prepared for the transition. Additionally, Bludot provided how-to videos and other resources to create a smooth onboarding process, and a visual guide through the new application.
By finding a solution that saved her time and simplified a process for businesses, Hannah found a win-win in this technology. Bludot has helped Hannah create a process that serves her fast growing community while also maintaining a small town feel. And did we mention she said the whole thing was easy?
“It's just so easy now. I wish everything was that easy.” Hannah Hill, Town Clerk for Town of Johnstown, CO
By leveraging innovative solutions like Bludot, communities can keep pace with development and improve the overall efficiency and experience for both administrators and businesses. As the tools available for municipal management continue to evolve, Johnstown stands as a testament to the positive impact technology can have on local communities.
If you’re ready to learn how your community can leverage technology and create smoother processes for both businesses and administration, schedule a call with Bludot today