LaunchNET is a program that helps entrepreneurial students, alumni, and faculty at Kent State University take their business ideas from concept to reality. Behind the scenes, staff schedule one-on-one meetings, plan events and workshops, and connect innovators with necessary resources. Learn how Spreadsheet.com simplifies LaunchNET’s workflows and helps keep everyone organized.
Originally from Northeast Ohio, Tabitha Messmore has lived and worked in Florida and New York City before settling back in her home state. While going to school and working in a variety of industries, Tabitha also learned the ins and outs of entrepreneurship when she started her own company in 2002. Nearly a decade later, she became a marketing consultant for small businesses, paving the way for her work at LaunchNET. She joined the team at Kent State in 2015, where she helps between 70 and 100 students, staff, and alumni kick-start new businesses every year.
As Assistant Director of LaunchNET, Tabitha has a vital role within the organization, with a to-do list that feels as though it has “50 million” items on it. When a former colleague asked specific questions about her progress on projects, Tabitha had difficulty clearly identifying the stages and progress of each one.
As someone who is highly visual, Tabitha was looking for an intuitive, and user-friendly platform to better organize her work. She couldn’t find her rhythm when working with Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and plain old pen and paper. “I had my documents and paper and notebooks, and as things grew I didn’t know where anything was,” Tabitha says.
“I have always struggled to find the right way to track my own work,” Tabitha says. “In my head, I know where it is, but my former boss wanted it written down somewhere. I never found any tool that made sense to me. So I struggled and struggled for so long to find something that kept me organized.”
Because Tabitha relied on her virtual checklist, she also had difficulties prioritizing her projects. “It was hard to process what I was doing or what I was supposed to be working on at any given moment,” she adds.
In her quest to organize her workflow and prioritize her tasks, she found Spreadsheet.com and immediately connected with the platform visually. “I thought, ‘Oh, that might be fun,’” she says. “It’s easy because it looks like a spreadsheet, but I loved that you could embed images and documents directly into cells. I really appreciate visuals. As I started using Spreadsheet.com I realized I could use it for so many different things that I started branching out and learning a variety of features.”
Initially Tabitha used Spreadsheet.com to manage her personal to-do list, tracking progress on a “bajillion little steps” for different projects. The platform helps her break down complex plans into smaller, actionable tasks. As she experienced the benefits of her to-do list in Spreadsheet.com, in the fall of 2021 she started planning collaborative LaunchNET events for K-12 partners in the platform, and hired a student to help her.
“At first, I didn’t even know how to explain to my assistant how to start helping me,’” she says. “Then I thought, ‘Let's just jump into Spreadsheet.com.’ I added all the information in, and showed them what I’m working on. This allowed us to collaborate.” Tabitha now had the ability to easily see and update outstanding items based on their status. She adds, “Just to have one place to find everything about each event—that was a game-changer for me.”
As she’s continued to use Spreadsheet.com, she’s found more uses for the product that improve her workflows.
“I really like the automations,” Ryan adds. “When I'm reading a message, I can insert data from the row instead of hard coding things. That's fantastic. That makes life way easier. The ability to assign to people, which is tied to their email address as well. That's great.”
While Ryan uses multiple features, it’s the automations that he particularly loves. “Spreadsheet.com saves me at least four or five hours a week just with automations,” he says. “It reduced the number of tasks I had do manually before.” In this project management spreadsheet, Ryan is using about 21 automations—from setting new dates and statuses to triaging escalations, depending on the severity, to sending out deadline reminders via email or Slack.
Pencil drawings or sketches on a whiteboard, or they can be produced by means of a broad array of free or commercial software applications. Wireframes are generally created by business analysts, user experience designers.
The automations play a pivotal role in the escalation system that Ryan built through Spreadsheet.com. “It tracks escalations, automates responses and timelines,” he says. “That’s the biggest thing I built through the platform.”
Communication and collaboration are key for the team at Gembah. Spreadsheet.com helps them relay messages and share information in easy and effective ways.
One of Tabitha’s most used features is the attachment data type. This feature allows users to add images and documents directly into spreadsheet cells. Each file uploaded into a cell appears as a thumbnail preview, and a full document preview opens when the thumbnail is clicked. This became a critical tool when working with food vendors, for example. “If I had an invoice from the food vendor for the event, I could just drop it in a cell,” she says. “Instead of storing it separately, I could go back into the worksheet and easily find it when I needed it.”
Spreadsheet.com Forms are a powerful feature that enables users to easily collect data into worksheets with a sharable and embeddable form. Tabitha has found it especially useful for the events that she organizes. “We had struggled for years trying to figure out the best way to have one big list of all meeting attendees,” she says. “We wanted to put them on a mailing list. We had registrations and signups through a Google Form, but we’d end up with so many different Google sheets owned by different people. It was driving me nuts.”
Now with Spreadsheet.com, she uses the same form each month, making only minor changes. All the information then appears in one place, and she can easily and accurately track who came to a meeting. What’s been even more impressive for Tabitha is that she can then use that information to invite attendees to future meetings automatically with Spreadsheet.com Automations. “I love the automation capabilities. The more things I can have Spreadsheet.com do for me automatically, the less I have to remember, and the better off we all are.”
As a visual learner, Tabitha appreciates that she can turn her data and information into an interactive Gantt chart with Spreadsheet.com Gantt Views, giving her a bird’s eye view of an entire project. Gantt views show all pending tasks, progress, and deadlines, as well as resources associated with each task.
“I’m all about visuals, so I can quickly and easily see where we are and what we still need to do on some of the bigger projects,” she says. “I’m excited to go further with Spreadsheet.com’s more advanced project management features.”
“I continue to use Spreadsheet.com for my personal life outside of work too. My work is spread through a wide variety of different projects, collaborations, functional areas, and types of activities, so it’s always been a struggle to keep track of all the balls in the air. It’s been such a useful product for all of this.”