Workflow Management: Good for Business and Good as a Business

While I was building CCAW, I always worried that rapid growth would cause us to drift away from the little things that made us successful and separated us from competitors. Ultimately, we built custom applications that facilitated consistent execution at scale using a PaaS provider (Salesforce Platform). This technology became our secret sauce. Without it, we would not have achieved eight-figure revenue (profitably) with happy customers and strong vendor relationships without raising capital from investors.

At a very high level, we identified manual processes that were critical to consistent execution and built them into our system, automating them as much as possible. We built dashboards that provided transparency and made key steps and metrics visible. We essentially built software that managed the various workflows of our very niche business.

As I’ve become more entrenched with SaaS companies, I’ve realized that very large SaaS companies were built around workflow management for specific use cases. SalesLoft for sales. ShipStation for shipping and order management. TSheets for time tracking. Gusto for payroll. JazzHR for recruiting. (I’m oversimplifying what these great companies do—they offer much more than I’ve given them credit for.)

When I speak with aspiring entrepreneurs, I share my realization. I remind them that they don’t have to create the next Facebook or Google. A great business idea could spring from observation (at home, at work, at school). Identify an area where workflow management technology could save time and money and make output more consistent and you may strike entrepreneurial gold.

In the current economic landscape, I think this perspective can give hope to people with dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. Sometimes all you need to do is notice a problem that’s right in front of you.

Do you know of a problem area that could benefit from custom workflow management technology?