Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
I’m Alex Yumashev, founder and CEO of Jitbit – my little self-funded SaaS startup that builds software for customer service. I’m based in Europe, have 4 amazing kids and the only thing I enjoy more than writing code is playing the bass guitar. 🙂
What exactly does your company do?
We make “Jitbit Helpdesk” which is – as you have probably guessed from the name – a help desk app. It’s a web-based tool that helps customer service teams communicate with customers via email and live chat. People can use our product in two ways – via a SaaS subscription (hosted on our servers) or an on-premise purchase (hosted on your servers).
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was – and still is – that all our competitors are venture-funded and don’t have to be profitable. They basically have endless pockets to spend on paid ad channels – which in turn drives up the prices. So we have to compete in other ways, not just through pricing and marketing, but also by building an awesome product and focusing on providing fast & personal support. Our customers love that and refer us to… uhm… more customers. 🙂
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Positioning. Don’t build a horizontal product and be “everything for everyone”. Nail the one thing that your product is super-awesome at. Polish this thing to perfection. And double down on it in your messaging. And it can’t be just “ease of use” or “cheap”. Proper positioning helps at everything – marketing, copywriting, product roadmap decisions, culture – everything.
I wish someone told me this earlier. Actually, a lot of people had but I didn’t listen. And – to be honest – we still suck at this, but at least now I know what to work on.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?
I love what Basecamp (former “37signals”) are doing (and saying). Jason, DHH and the team are building a profitable, sustainable, long-lasting software business. Instead of just trying to cash out. We’re aiming to do the same. And that’s what we keep telling our customers – look, we’re here, we’re not going anywhere, we don’t plan to sell the company, we love what we do, we already have enough money, we don’t want to “grow exponentially” or “bend the universe” or whatever the trends are these days…
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Yes, Giacomo Guilizzoni, also known as “Peldi” from Balsamiq (a software company that makes Balsamiq Mockups). I met him in 2010, heard his talk at a conference and he blew my mind. He also runs a small-ish software company and I admire him a lot. Really honored to have him as a friend.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
Doing what you love – and getting paid for it!
How can people follow your journey? Please list your social media URLs
@jitbit on Twitter, my personal blog is at https://www.jitbit.com/alexblog/