We're building small tools for small businesses. And it is necessary.
— Written by
We are a small business, and we needed some tools. So we started building them for ourselves. Nothing complex, just small tools that does one task really well.
We are a bootstrapped small business running on the money we make from our customers. We tend to believe that most of the businesses that are out there, are not waiting for someone to pour in money when they start. At one point, entrepreneurs bootstrap, and that’s when years worth of lessons are taught in a matter of months.
Ever since we started in 2013, we’ve been trying tools and services that are considered to be the industry’s best. Right from Salesforce for CRM to JIRA for task management. We’ve paid, tried, and tired of these tools. These tools were either too expensive for the ROI we were looking at, or it was too complex with unwanted features for which we were paying for.
I’m definitely not saying that these tools are bad. All that I’m saying is, it is not something that would work for a company like ours:
- Founder run
- A strong team of tech talent
- A team who would like to get things done
- A team focusing on quality of code more than spending time on reports
- A team that believes things can be better
- People who always start a conversation with “What if…”
Back in January 2019, we started deeply thinking about how we could solve these gaps, and we had a small revelation. Our conversation about such tools started something like this:
“So we tried almost all the major tools available in the market, and nothing was extremely simple that could get the job done for us. What if…. we could sketch out things that we need to solve.”
Here are the areas we found to be essential for a small business like ours:
- Communication (apart from email & IM)
- Marketing & Sales
- Customer Success
This pretty much at a high-level covered all the problems we were facing that we tried solving using good tools.
The list of problems that needed immediate attention went something like this:
- A easier way to send status updates to our clients.
- A simple CRM that we can use that cares only about the deals and it’s statuses.
- A super simple leave management application.
- A knowledge base bot.
Our common principle for these micro-products were:
- All the tools will allow sign-in/sign-up with Google and Email.
- All the products will have sharing capabilities (Internal, email and via public links)
- All these products will follow similar UI structure and framework.
- All the micro-products will be cloud-based with near-zero DevOps investment from our side.
- All these products, must help other businesses too. We can’t be selfish.
- People who are facing difficulty with certain activity, will be the ones who write the features and sign-off on the delivery. They know the problem best after all.
- All these products will have an API for people to extend later.
It’s been six months since we started looking at solving these small problems in a simple way, and today, we’re announcing (in a small way), a platform called “Compass”
Compass is a collection of small tools that solves a problem, built for small businesses.
As of today, we’ve been using some crazy naming convention to solve two problems:
- North app: A super simple project status update platform.
- South app: A super simple deal management platform.
These tools will not cost more than $10/month with no feature limitation. No multiple plans. Nothing. So small businesses can predict how much they are spending to manage their business.
We believe tools like these can make a huge difference in helping small businesses focus on things that would help them grow. Exactly where we want to focus as well.
If you are a small business, and would like to try these tools, ping us in chat, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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