Johannes Pfeiffer (CMO) of Timly Software tells us about making inventory management easy.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Timly Software.
Johannes Pfeiffer: I am the Marketing Director at Timly Software (https://timly.com). I studied economics and politics, but during my studies in Berlin, I founded my own company for the first time. It must have been 2014 – this was about imported products from Colombia (handmade colorful bags from the indigenous people) that I sold through an eCommerce website in Europe. Based on this experience, I realized that I want to be an entrepreneur. The learning curve when starting a business is very steep. After the first attempts, I continued with the app and website development, resulting in a marketing agency that I founded together with a friend who specializes in online marketing for medical tourism. After I left the agency because I needed to move away from Berlin, the two founders of Timly Software AG (Philipp Baumann and Fitim Mehmeti) in Zurich offered me to take over the marketing department there.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Johannes Pfeiffer: I always try to find the fine line between perfectionism and speed, which often turns out to be difficult. As far as the way of working is concerned, I can definitely agree with the sentence “work smarter, not harder.” In the beginning, we always had the mentality with our startups that we had to work as many hours a day as possible in order to get ahead – especially in Berlin, there was a peak phase for startups back then, and the competition was very high. Everyone wanted to be the next Zalando. However, physically and mentally, you quickly reach your limits when you work until late at night. Unfortunately, I had to learn that the hard way back then. Today I recover properly as soon as I feel exhausted. I recommend young founders, in particular, that they make sure they get enough sleep, exercise, and distraction from work – this promotes productivity in the long term.
How does Timly Software market its product/services online?
Johannes Pfeiffer: We use many different channels to reach potential new customers. We get a lot of inquiries through our website in particular. Here, we have a blog that reports on the developments, advantages, and cost-effectiveness of digital inventory management. Use cases from our customers help provide insight into how companies from all industries use our software. Our marketing campaigns aim to make the Timly brand (and the website) more visible on the internet. We noticed early on that there was also great potential when it came to recommendations from our existing customers. A happy customer gets us more customers – that’s why we attach great importance to customer support.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Johannes Pfeiffer: In addition to the usual tools for optimizing Ads, websites, and content, we use a network of service providers who cover various parts of online marketing and PR for us. Project management is particularly important here because the exchange with the various service providers must be coordinated. It makes sense if you don’t do everything yourself but can rely on a specific person or service provider for each task.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Johannes Pfeiffer: Above all, we try to hire extremely competent people in their specific field. We always try to find the perfect mix of skills, experience, and ambition, which of course, can make the hiring process a little longer. However, we believe that a startup is all about the team and complementing skills. We then try to inspire our employees with our open work culture, fun at work, and ownership of their work at Timly. So far, it has turned out quite well.
How are you funding your growth?
Johannes Pfeiffer: We already have many paying customers who are absolutely satisfied with the product because we are solving a big problem for them. Of course, we use the income to grow. We also closed a round of funding (pre-seed) – this gives us some time to hire more people and further develop the product. It is not yet certain when we will approach investors again, but I wouldn’t rule it out.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Johannes Pfeiffer: Without putting any names out there, it can be said that there are some small as well as large international companies with which our offer overlaps. For us, it has been shown that we have some advantages, especially on the product side, which is why we plan to continue to invest heavily in the development of new features. We always have an open ear for the customer and try to eliminate problems directly – hand in hand with the customer. This is what makes our company competitive in the long term…a strong product and good customer support. It is also interesting that we have customers who want to move away from the big competitors to a small, specific solution like us, for precisely the inventory management problem. These customers find our solution much better and more intuitive than the big all-rounder software suits.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Johannes Pfeiffer: On one of the largest construction sites in Switzerland, there is a consortium of various large construction companies. The problem was that the tools, devices, and machines were loaned out to each other, but no one had a real overview of who was using what, where, and for how long. The Timly team then looked at this specific use case and implemented a software solution with the companies. With the Timly software, employees can now check devices in and out, assign them to each other, and document, bill, and analyze the use of the tools. All by simply scanning the QR code labels with their smartphone. The result is that these companies can now save a great deal of administrative time and plan device usage more efficiently.
Your final thoughts?
Johannes Pfeiffer: As we go about our daily business, it feels like the world has gone haywire. My thoughts are with the people at war, the many men, women, and children. I hope that we can see an end to global conflicts soon.