What kind of software helps local startups succeed?
We spoke with Mike Trotzke, CEO of Cheddar; Kevin Weaver, Executive Creative Director and Owner of Blueline; and Cedric Savarese, Founder and CEO of FormAssembly about the software they use in their companies in order to function smoothly on a daily basis. Pat East, Founder & CEO of Hanapin Marketing and Executive Director of the Mill facilitated this Q&A style presentation. They discussed:
- Working with remote employees
- Communicating with employees
- Applicant tracking software
- Employee management software
>How many folks work remotely at your companies?
- Blueline only has one remote worker, but they want to improve their remote program. It’s relatively hard to do with video work, but it’s doable with design work.
- FormAssembly has lots of remote workers and it suits the company well.
- Cheddar workers are mostly local, but they aren’t in the office a lot. There are a couple of remote workers, but they fit into the company well.
>How do you communicate?
- All three companies use Slack quite a bit for quick communication with employees both remote and in-office.
- Google Hangouts is used for video conference
- Cheddar uses Zoom (video conferencing) and their Meeting Owl, which is a speaker/camera/mic combo that works with any video conferencing service. Its output is a 360 degree camera that focuses on whoever is talking at any given time during the meeting.
>Do you provide any special hardware for remote workers?
- Work laptops are provided to employees
- Cheddar’s Meeting Owl is helpful to make a more immersive meeting experience for remote workers
>What kind of applicant tracking software do you use?
- Mostly Workable, Google Hire, and AngelList applicant tracking system.
- All agreed that there were very few outside hires before recently.
>What software do you use to manage employees?
- PTO Trackers, Zenefits, ADP accounting software (overpriced and slow, but the service is great)
>What is one piece of software that you can’t live without?
- Harvest + Forecast
- Github, Tender for customer support, and HubSpot
>What do you use if you want to keep record of conversations and interactions with customers/clients?
- Used a master spreadsheet/Google drive, personal follow-ups, Proposify
- Excel, Salesforce (can get to be very pricey, but makes you pretty dependent on it once you start)
>Do you use any software for drip communication or marketing?
- Hubspot, Reply (helps craft email messages, guides and gives tips), Salesforce products, Intercom chat services
- Tender is more user-friendly for Cheddar, Intercom is much more transactional.
- Generally, it’s hard to move off of software once your company has adopted it, so choose wisely.
>Do you use any chat software?
- Contact forms for Blueline clients
- Service Cloud
>What are some apps you use to make your life easier?
- Freedom for focusing, Boomerang for delayed emails, Evernote
- Gmail, Slack, paper & pencil
- Google Keep
- WeTransfer (quicker and cleaner than dropbox)
>What do you use for wiki procedures?
- Google Drive Docs