Founded in: 2016
Tip: “Focus on validating customer problems, before you seek investment or build more than necessary.”
Claude Schneider launched social media management tool SmarterQueue in 2013. It started as a one-person project, but soon grew to the point where he needed to bring more people in.
Having previously worked as a remote consultant for two tech companies, he had become accustomed to remote working. He didn’t like the idea of setting up an office with regular working hours.
“The biggest challenge was scaling up from a one-man-band. I had to find the right people, hire and build a team and get the communications and culture right,” said Claude.
Claude took on contractors in various locations and soon realised that he could build a remote team across the globe. He felt confident that collaborative tools could help the team communicate and work closely together.
Tools like Loom, Figma and Google Drive have been especially useful for sharing high-bandwidth information to save time and increase the clarity of concepts. Asana and Slack help to keep projects on track and avoid any communication issues with the potential lag in response times.
Claude has also found tech useful when it comes to hiring and onboarding new staff.
Building company culture brings its own challenges, but tech has also played its part. A Slack plugin called Donut randomly pairs two people in the company each week, encouraging people to have a social chat with someone they wouldn’t normally work with. For work discussions, every team member has a one-to-one Google Hangout call with their team lead once a week.
“We don’t have to worry about office costs, especially as our team grows. We can hire without local limitations, like someone being too far away to commute or salaries in our location being too high – and of course it widens our pool of potential applicants,” Claude said.
As a software as a service (SaaS) product, the company has customers across the world, who expect prompt responses when they get in contact. Having customer service team members in different time zones allows them to cover a wider range of shifts.
And it works for the employees too. “It gives staff the best perks around – working from any location that suits them, setting hours that fit their lifestyle, not having to commute and finding a better job than is available in their city,” said Claude. “Not only does this help to attract applicants, but these perks don’t add to the company’s costs.”