Launched in 2002, ShiftNote was formed to replace traditional paper log books used in the hospitality industry with a digital format. The adventure started in Kansas City, MO, and they have since grown to have satellite offices in both Detroit, MI and Seattle, WA.
ShiftNote provides Web-based employee scheduling software and a suite of shift management communication tools that can be used for all industries. It replaces messy paper & files with an easy-to-use online system that will help you better manage your workforce.
BusinessInterviews.com: How did you come up with the concept behind ShiftNote?
Matt: My partners and I were all working in the restaurant industry when we came across a college thesis project that was ShiftNote in its earliest form. It was an Ah-ha moment for us, and we immediately pooled together our money to purchase the program, which at the time was a desktop client. Because of our background in the hospitality industry, we knew that ShiftNote would revolutionize the way shift managers communicated, in turn making their jobs and lives easier. What we didn’t know was that the benefits of the software would transcend into other industries outside of the food arena.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk a bit about the development process behind ShifNote and any challenges that you encountered along the way?
Matt: Early on we decided that we wanted to go the bootstrapping route much like BaseCamp/37Signals, and build ShiftNote without taking any external funding. We only spend what we take in, and this means we might not always have the resources at hand to develop as fast as we’d like. However, because we at times have limited resources, it forces us to make sure a new feature or enhancement is vital for the customer experience before deciding to work on it.
BusinessInterviews.com: You’ve experienced continued growth year after year as ShiftNote continues to spread around the world. What marketing strategies have worked best for you?
Matt: Honestly, the best marketing avenue for us has always been word of mouth. Turnover in the hospitality industry is pretty high, and when an employee comes from an organization that uses ShiftNote, they generally spread the word at their future places of employment. It’s very gratifying to know that our users love what we have been able to create enough to continue telling their networks about ShiftNote.
We also participate in trade shows like the National Restaurant Association show from time to time, and spend a lot of efforts on digital marketing initiatives such as PPC advertising, email marketing, and community management.
BusinessInterviews.com: How has ShiftNote evolved since first launching in 2002?
Matt: When we first purchased ShiftNote, it was software that had to be installed directly onto a computer. In 2008 we completely re-wrote the program to be web-based so that users could access the content from anywhere they have the internet. In 2013 we added employee scheduling tools at the request of our client base so that we could be more of a one-stop-shop for business operations.
As with any technology based company, if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backwards. It’s our goal as a company to find ways to continue to improve ShiftNote, yet at the same time keep the software simple and easy to use.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of your favorite ShiftNote features and are there any that you’re hoping to add in 2014?
Matt: A fun fact about our team is that we actually use ShiftNote internally in order to communicate and run the day-to-day operations of our business. It helps put us in the same boat as our customers, as we’re using the same tools they are. We couldn’t live without the Daily Log functionality in ShiftNote, as it allows everyone in the company to be on the same page about what’s going on in the business on any given day.
We have a lot of new features on our agenda for 2014. All include making the user experience better, and striving to hit our mission of making the lives of our customers easier.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Matt: As far as my experience goes, the hospitality industry has always tended to be a little behind in their adoption and use of new technology. We have seen a surge as of late in the industry of businesses starting to use tools such as ours that will help them to complete tasks they have always been doing, but do them at a much faster rate, saving them time and money. I think it will be fun to watch how the use of new technologies in that industry will enhance the experience of the consumer.
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