Building a Software Business during Covid


Chris Wigglesworth Coursecheck

Chris Wigglesworth, Founder & CEO of Coursecheck, tells us how they turn course feedback into meaningful insights that improve quality and help deliver measurable business benefits.

Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Coursecheck.

Chris Wigglesworth: to founding Coursecheck, I ran an IT services business that included a training division. We had a brilliant team of trainers, and it always amazed me that they could get such amazing feedback from the people they taught, day after day, week after week. But getting the feedback was a labor-intensive process. Apart from making us feel good, we got a little value from the process. The idea behind Coursecheck was to develop a web-based system that would give training providers instant visibility of what was working well (and what wasn’t) and also give them a way of generating independent public reviews to help them win new business. That remains our mission.

Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?

Chris Wigglesworth: I’ve always tried to create a work culture where people feel genuinely appreciated (not just what’s in their pay packet). Praising people where it’s due, doesn’t cost a penny and goes a long way to building loyalty and an environment where people want to contribute their ideas to help the company to be successful. 

How does Coursecheck market its product/services online? 

Chris Wigglesworth: For us, at least, there’s no magic bullet, we use a mixture of tools and techniques. Content is King, as they say, and I think success is much more about getting your messages right than what tools you use. People want to buy, but they don’t want to be sold to. So it’s important that you give them the ability to find out all about you and your product be expect them to talk to you directly. It also means that by the time they want to talk to you, they’re much further along the sales journey, so your close rates are higher, and sales cycles are shorter. Asking your customers for referrals is also an easy yet under-used way of finding new customers fast.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?

Chris Wigglesworth: Our CRM system (ReallySimpleSystems.com) includes a marketing module we use for outbound emails. We’re a B2B business, so we also rely heavily on LinkedIn to find out who we should be talking to.

What is your hiring policy/process and how do you retain your employees?

Chris Wigglesworth: Hiring is tough, and we’ve made mistakes in the past. I think the main lesson I’ve learnt is to look for hard evidence to support whatever claims a prospective employee is making about themselves. Retention is easy if you pay fairly and create the right culture in the organization. But you need both.

How are you funding your growth?

Chris Wigglesworth: In the early years I funded the business myself but once we had a product and some revenues, we did a funding round and got some investment. We’re a software subscription business, so the existing subscription revenue can be used to fund the growth. But, I’m not ruling out a second funding round at some point in the near future. 

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Chris Wigglesworth: That’s a tricky one. We have competitors who do parts of what we do but no one that does everything we do. As a feedback system for training providers, we compete with generic survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms and MS Docs; but on the marketing side, we compete with generic reviews websites like Trustpilot and Feefo. Our strength is that we solve two problems at once and because we’re focused on training, we can offer out-of-the-box reporting and analysis designed specifically for the training world. There’s a tradition of collecting feedback from learners on paper forms so our biggest competitor is really paper! Fortunately, COVID forced a lot of training provider to take their courses online which actually helped us.

Tell us a customer success story of yours.

Chris Wigglesworth: We have lots of customer stories on our website and it’s hard to pick one out. But I’ll go for a London-based IT and Management skills training provider who really live, and breathe quality from the CEO down. Every employee receives a bonus that’s calculated from the monthly performance statistics generated by Coursecheck which the employees can see in real-time. It’s an extraordinary company in all sorts of ways, and I’m very proud to be associated with them.

Your final thoughts?

Chris Wigglesworth: It’s clear that even as the pandemic subsides, some aspects of business won’t go back to how they were. Yes it’s great to be able to get out and meet people again but thanks to Zoom, I can now build relationships with new customers much faster. From a team perspective, I think the remote working has given us all a better understanding of what’s going on in our personal lives, which in turn has helped us build trust and confidence in each other. I know people younger than me that have already retired and ask me why I’m still working. That’s simple: I’m immensely proud of what we’ve built, but there’s so much more I want to achieve. Nothing is forever, but for now, its great fun, so why would I want to stop?

Your website?

https://www.coursecheck.com 


Kokou Adzo

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