Gary Bury tells us why you should use Timetastic to book your PTO instead of manually updating spreadsheets and calendars.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Timetastic.
Gary Bury: As an accountant and I’ve always been in charge of keeping track of everyone’s time off work – paid time off, annual leave, sickness, etc. And while working at one company that had a particularly cumbersome process taking way too much time, I just thought, ‘there has to be a better way.’
That’s all you really need to spark an idea, just a situation that frustrates you, and some believe that you can do a little better.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Gary Bury: Ha, my wife might say I have some bad habits.
A big thing for me at present is staying out of people’s way. Ironically as Founder and CEO, I’m well aware that my interjections at work are often a distraction. I’m always thinking of better ways to do things, which triggers questions and discussion. But those very questions distract from the day-to-day, they distract people from finishing their current project, and they mean people don’t get clear focus time.
So I try to let people get on with their work and hit them up with my other ideas when things are quieter, perhaps between major projects.
How does Timetastic market its product/services online?
Gary Bury: We only market online, using a website, appearing in search, blogging, and a somewhat decreasing focus on paid advertising. We also get a lot of word-of-mouth signups now, we’ve been around a good few years, and by providing a 1st class service for that time, you find that people naturally share.
We’ve lost a lot of faith in paid advertising recently, the costs are spiraling, and there’s some evidence to suggest those people would find us anyway. What is easily forgotten when looking at analytics dashboards is that people do multiple searches for anything they buy but only need to find you once. So when Google tells you someone converted on a search for “staff leave planner,” that same person might well have also found you naturally from a search for “staff holiday tracker.”
Freakanomics do a great podcast on this: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/does-advertising-actually-work-part-2-digital-ep-441/.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Gary Bury: We only use a few tools – Ahrefs, a spreadsheet to track conversion rates, reviews.io, and Capterra. But we’re not too heavy or sophisticated on marketing to warrant much more. The most important thing is to make sure our website is built to the highest standard, using good code, following best practices for SEO, that it loads fast, and the content is good.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Gary Bury: We only have a small team, and we try to keep it that way. We focus on operating very efficiently.
When we hire, we’ve always managed by just putting a decent blog out there that gives people a good idea of what it’s like to work at Timetastic. I can’t stand formulaic job advertisements that list responsibilities, skills, and a person spec. You have to remember that you are trying to attract real people. You need to tell them what it’s like to work there, give them a flavor of your culture and values, tell them what a day looks like, and what kind of stuff they’ll be working on.
This was our last blog, and it got plenty of interest from which we took on two developers: https://timetastic.co.uk/blog/were-hiring/.
How are you funding your growth?
Gary Bury: We started with £40,000 of our own money, and we’re profitable now, so no external debt or silent shareholders. The early days were hard, and we didn’t receive salaries, but the money just went into operating expenses while we built up enough clients to start paying ourselves.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gary Bury: I’d say about 99% of customers come to Timetastic using a spreadsheet, so that’s our main competition. We have to prove to them that Timetastic is head and shoulders above cobbling together some spreadsheet.
Your final thoughts?
Gary Bury: Be nice to your team; give them plenty of time off. Don’t blame them when things go wrong (because things do go wrong); just move on; no point in getting bogged down in past actions; it’s what you do next that counts.