Keeping colleagues up to speed with business procedures can often become a mundane, looming task that expends unnecessary time. Way We Do presented the idea of automating these policies and procedures, fleshing out efficiency from business practices and gaining international market entry from it.
This case study on Way We Do comes from our interview with Jacqui Jones, Founder and CEO of the company. We evaluate how they manoeuvred their product innovation to fit themselves optimally in the market, as well as what advice Jacqui has for product owners still trying to find their fit.
What is Way We Do?
Way We Do is a Brisbane-based SaaS business, functioning as a cloud-based procedure software that turns static policies and procedures into an interactive, automated workflow assistant.
Teams are able to check tasks & procedures, providing accountability and traceability while driving clarity & consistency in business. It's a unique fusion between business process management, knowledge management, compliance and workflow. This has solved problems for teams that have daily procedures that need to be followed, and is what helps drive and scale businesses in a repeatable way.
Way We Do's growth stemmed from its own customers, and is now used in overseas markets such as the U.S. What steps did they take to get their foot through the door?
Fitting Way We Do for the Right Market
From day 1, Jacqui had the main goal to enter the global market. Jacqui's background in internet-based business and web marketing lent itself to having international audiences.
Prior to Way We Do, they had a DIY SEO tool named Keyword Intent. Along the 2 years they found customers asking for other tasks, and skewing towards a digital marketing services company. They then pivoted, and Way We Do was created from insights flowing from business owners, and within their member onboarding process.
When launching, Way We Do was yet to fully understand the different opportunities available and segments of the market that could be targeted. They were calling their services an "operations manual", but this also described user operation manuals from a multitude of products. With time and understanding of their target market, they were able to fulfil their SEO and attracted the intended market.
After acknowledging their own current employee onboarding process, they asked how they could speed it up. They took that key ingredient and turned it into something less arduous.
Upon conducting market evaluations and assessment, they explored a multitude of problems from users' perspectives and feedback. From this birthed their marketing site in February 2013 but to their dismay, yielded no traffic. Ahead of the curve, and packed with new features; what was the problem?
They missed out on one crucial stage - user testing. When they finally implemented this to determine what was blocking their path, they discovered it was from poor usability and design, at the expense of fitting in new, shiny features.
After absorbing the learnings from their first attempt, their next move was to collect a series of trial sign-ups. They went beyond the Australian market through word of mouth, numerous phone calls, gauged the interest and created solid rapport from international B2B prospects, including their likes, dislikes and further problems they were looking to solve.
Way We Do uncovered something else among friends in similar businesses experiencing similar scalability issues; documenting procedures in manual applications wasn't cutting it anymore.
Way We Do Learnings
As with any solution-based offering, the market forces them to never be 100% complete. This is part of adopting a MVP mindset and will give a leg up in determining whether to incorporate new features because of demand from a specific user base. A key learning was that implementing or updating a new feature holds a high risk of leaving another user base short, and creating another issue.
To counterplay this, they ran surveys for the number of people asking for a particular function, then conducting user testing interviews before moving forward. Again, this stems from their learning of being ahead of the curve.
While recognising that being a market leader can offer one-of-a-kind opportunities, it's vital to remember the weight of user demands should sit at a heavier priority. Find the perfect point between what's new and what's familiar.
What Would Way We Do Do Differently in the Future?
After businesses successfully find their feet and make their way into their desired markets, backtracking and evaluating all the steps that have been taken can uncover valuable lessons like Jacqui has:
- Value and test your pricing models early: The SaaS market has become much more saturated than 7 years ago. If a product is priced at a premium for each user per month, users are more likely to commit to the product you’ve created provided their problem is solved. Creating that natural funnel to filter out low-commitment users on a product that may be priced at $2 per user, per month, more time is freed up to deliver a higher quality service. Jacqui states that customers typically expect a 7 to 10x return on the investment into your product. Recognise the value of the problem you’ re solving for them.
- Test, feedback, test: This should resonate with anyone familiar or unfamiliar to software development. An important mention Jacqui makes is time-to-value; the faster users can pick up your product and start using it immediately, the faster the rate of value will also scale. This also lends itself to our iteration process in our Way of Working and conducting user testing interviews to continually refine your software.
Advice and Takeaways for Product Owners
Jacqui wrapped up with some invaluable points for product owners that have a view to expand and grow into larger markets with their software.
Making early decisions on funding can springboard product growth, whether it be revenue from customers or looking into venture capital investment. A spin on a Chinese proverb that fits here is "the second-best time to invest is now, the best time was 10 years ago." Keeping future outlooks in the forefront of your business choices should keep the cogs turning so you have a plan of action during slower seasons.
WorkingMouse offers in-house product support after the launch of your product so you can spend more time selling and marketing to those who need to solve business problems. Reach out here.