An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Peter Ord (founder and CEO) of GuideCX, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of GuideCX – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
As a software sales leader and contributor, I was constantly being pulled back into deals after they were sold. I was asked 3 questions on a continual basis:
- When are we going to get the product we purchased?
- Who is responsible for what during the implementation of services?
- Can you demo the rest of my team again that didn’t participate in the sales experience?
The “aha moment” for me was getting a “Your package is late” notification from Amazon. I realized that there are many experiences in the B2C (business to consumer) space where “onboarding” or the “after sales experience” is a top priority (Apple, Domino’s Pizza, etc.). I felt that these same expectations were bleeding into B2B (business to business) and it was no longer acceptable to keep customers updated via manual processes. That’s when I decided creating a product centered on inviting, guiding, and engaging customers through an implementation experience was worth the risk! I’m happy to report today that the market is loving it.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
One specific hurdle that comes to mind: 4 years ago, my 3rd employee got an attractive offer from a former colleague of mine and decided to move on from GuideCX to provide a better livelihood for his family. Losing this individual at our early stage didn’t just mean we lost 1/3 of our horsepower – it meant we lost an individual to grow future teams around. It meant we lost a “founding team member”. At the time, I was still bootstrapping the business (funding the business with my own money) and growing at a respectable pace, but not fast enough to retain top tier talent. I learned a crucial lesson at an early stage of the importance of speed. Fast growth attracts top tier talent and if I was going to be successful at creating a category leading product for implementation managers, I would need to accelerate my growth to attract amazing talent. Thankfully, that has happened and continues to happen. I’m still courting that same employee to come back to GuideCX and have faith he will rejoin us soon (hopefully). Now we number over 100 employees.
What does the future hold for GuideCX?
Our mission statement is to help people work better together. To do that, we strive to be the way people engage with one another towards a common goal. I’m a believer that an incredible customer experience is the most important differentiator a company can offer. As products and services become more and more commoditized, the importance of communication, engagement, and transparency to the individuals companies serve (their customers, partners, employees) will elevate their organization to the top. Thankfully, there is no shortage of companies in the world that are wanting to provide a better customer experience by invigorating, iterating, and evolving a product like GuideCX under the constant litmus test of “Is this a customer experience I would enjoy?”.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Draper?
I moved to Draper, Utah almost 8 years ago by the request of my previous employer. I was tasked to build a team of over 1000 employees that would work in our Draper office. That experience taught me a great deal about the business climate here in Draper and in greater Utah. The tech scene here feels like a small town where everyone knows everyone. The amount of times locals have pitched in to help with no intentions of benefiting from a business relationship is incredible.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Here are 5 things that I attribute to our early success at GuideCX:
- Your first 50 hires will define the long-term trajectory of your company. Focus on hiring people that are kind, optimistic, curious, have an excellent work ethic, are empathetic, are self-aware, and have the judgment to do the right things when no one is looking. If you hire that caliber of person, you will attract more like him/her.
- Successful startups have founders whose network supports them unconditionally, ranging from your spouse or significant other, to your mentors. When a founder has a strong network that supports them unconditionally, they won’t be afraid to take risks.
- Too much money in the early stages can cloud judgment. It’s crucially important to establish patterns of product market fit before scaling. If scaling happens too early, it’s money flushed down the drain.
- Startup founders need to know when to ask for help and when to figure things out. Identifying challenges that require the grit to figure things out vs. the challenges of soliciting advice from those that have “been there before” can help you accelerate growth.
- Successful startups make the transition from making decisions based on anecdotal information to data driven information early in their lifecycle. Measuring user behavior, “aha moments”, and correlating that to growth metrics can be the silver bullet to accelerating growth. Invest in business intelligence in the early stages.