Small Business, Big Tech

Emily Bednarz
via Halifax Chamber of Commerce
October 4, 2022

For the past 43 years, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has organized Small Business Week, an annual celebration of entrepreneurship in October. 

When John Leahy, Founder and CEO of immediac, begins speaking about his business, he says: “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” The immediac team first started building web-enabled databases in 1998. “Once upon a time it was me writing code in my basement,” says Leahy.

The company’s services have grown to include web and app design, with the help of their innovative team. “We have 20 people — almost all under 40 — who are all doing that work,” says Leahy. “They’re bright, brilliant, motivated, and their standards are off the charts. That’s why I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

From conferences, to registration, to membership management, to voting software, Leahy is proud to help businesses and organizations get online. During the pandemic, immediac worked with local breweries like Big Spruce and Spindrift to build online stores for home delivery. “Together, we helped our clients earn $1 million during the first few months of the pandemic,” says Leahy. “We weren't unique — everyone figured out how to do it — but we were in a position to help a few of them.”

Listening and being present for customers is also key to immediac’s success. “What sets us apart? Support,” says Leahy. “We answer the phone — still! Your website or web app sits quietly most of the time until a change needs to happen. immediac is about being responsive. We upgrade and update and keep our clients protected.”

When it comes to advice for small businesses, Leahy has two tips. “To solve customer problems, be careful and listen to what your clients are asking for and they’ll tell you,” he says. It also helps to ensure your customer support team is patient and understanding. “We don’t have a technical person doing frontend support,” says Leahy. “The person who answers our phone is empathetic and does triage for after launch support.”

While immediac works with many clients in the United States, working with small businesses in Nova Scotia keeps their team energized. “There are lots of opportunities here locally,” says Leahy “We live here, we work here, and we want to do business here.”