How we automated a business in 3 months

Suzanne Abate
I'm the CEO and Co-Founder of The Development Factory, Host of 100 PM Product Podcast, Global Speaker and Workshop Leader. My mission is to help you get where you're going.

Fast to market, hungry for success

In 2017, the non-technical co-founders of Q* set out on the road to build their first business. Along the way they first met The Development Factory CEO, Suzanne Abate, but weren’t ready to engage her product management expertise.

On the advice of their early investors, they used a white label tech platform to power their business.

The solution enabled them to launch quickly at a fraction of the cost of building their own tech, and only required one part-time product person to maintain it. They could focus on what they did best: building community.

*Client name has been altered for confidentiality.

Technology Became the Main Obstacle to Growth

Just as the business began gaining traction, technology limitations started to surface:

The white label technology black-boxed data and Q couldn’t gain insights into their own users.

The system was hard to integrate with other 3rd party tools and Q had to start hiring employees to manually manage workflows and transaction..

The tech provider shifted their own business focus and stopped supporting the product. Bugs started popping up and weren’t being addressed quickly or at all, impacting Q’s user experience

The founders began losing sight of the vision, spending more and more time fighting operational fires.

“...And that was when we reconnected with Suzanne. She basically came in the year prior and told us everything we needed to do and we didn’t listen to anything. And then a year later we were still in the same place, but we had built a community.”

All hands on board

The first goal was to build a fully working product with a delightful user experience which is going to help grow the existing community.

Not to waste any more time, we dove deep into the product, go to market strategy and the technology that Q already started to build.

We helped Ashley and Gianna reconnect with their technology, showing how tightly it’s connected to business and growth. We agreed that the avenue Q was going down with their technology was not the way to go.

Through a series of workshops led by Suzanne, we established the game plan, aka product strategy and roadmap.

I think there is an important component to the way you guys partner. The ability to come in and support and build trust with our baby, and bring you on to the executive team, to then guide and make decisions.

We plug in Team as a Service

Every time we start a new commitment, we become an ingrained part of the organisation we work with. This time was no different. In our model, called Team as a Service, we became a part of Q’s in-house team.

We custom crafted a team comprised of top-level Product Manager, Tech Lead, UX Designer, Developers, Project Manager and Qcs at the levels and with skills Q needed to support their team. We started working on Q’s challenges right away.

We started to execute the plan while also being fully invested in the future of Q, creating a viable revenue model and next releases.

With a Head of Product leading and managing the execution team, Ashley and Gianna had space and time to focus on stepping up to their new roles, building their leadership style and organization’s structure. By seamlessly incorporating our team into Q we helped them keep the momentum going.

We were not really ready to manage an in-house tech team, because we don’t have a skill base but then there was a discomfort in the idea of outsourcing to an agency as well. We technically have a 15 person team right now but we’re managing 8. So there’s a lot of power behind us, we have a great opportunity.

In 3 months (NEW) Q was born

We were all ready, not only the product was shipped, users migrated, but most importantly data sources didn’t have to be stitched manually. Without tech knowledge, Ashley and Gianna were able to build their own technology which fulfils their vision of creating offline communities online.

Exit stage left

We still help Q on their way to grow their business. We plan and implement new features - a messaging system is the most recent. But we are preparing for a transition to in-house team with talent recruitment, training, and knowledge transfer.

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