Who are you?
Chris Williams, CCO of Skwish.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
I was a bad client, in fact I was the worst. My developer, whom I hired to work on a previous company would finish a piece of work for me and give it back for my approval/sign off. The work would be complete, to spec and done quickly. My reply was always ‘Can you just add….’ Or ‘I want you to change this bit’. I was asking my developer to do things out of spec, unquoted, not part of the original agreed plans. I was the ‘Nightmare client’.
For a freelancer to confront a client and say ‘No’ or pushing a client back is a big ask. The fear of losing the client often makes a freelancer feel they have to do the out of spec work and I was taking advantage of this, not on purpose, but more through ignorance. So my developer came up with a neat idea to prevent ‘Scope-Creep’ by building a piece of software that managed the communication and feedback with a client as well as building a quotation tool that enabled a freelancer to reply to a client with a quote, referencing the original spec and detailing the additional work.
It placed a technological barrier between the freelancer and the client making the process easy to deal with on the freelancers side and a simple agree/don’t agree question for the client. No email tennis, no awkward phone calls and a freelancer that can bill for ALL the work they have done.
After being ‘managed’ by my developer and using this tool he had built it was clear the commercial opportunities of the product were huge.
Fast forward a year and that tool is now called Skwish and we are just entering our Seed crowdfunding round.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
Our biggest struggle to date was deciding when the Skwish product was ready as an MVP. As a start-up, your product road map is usually full of ideas and designs and verticals which is great. However investors don’t want to see your 5 year dreams, they want to see hard cold facts, figures, the team, the marketspace. So deciding what features and the look etc was a difficult decision. Skwish has a features list as long as your arm, but we can’t build every one of them right at the beginning. Deciding what to include in our MVP was probably the hardest and longest decision to date.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
Light bulb moment. We had an MVP, we had very little traction from users, 5 or 6, but we were getting several hundred website visitors a day. Why wasn’t we seeing a higher conversion? We managed to speak to a website visitor through our live chat system and he told us exactly why he didn’t sign up. “Didn’t have a clue if it was right for me”
A website visitor had landed on our website, coming from a social media post, and left not knowing if Skwish was right for him. That worried me and the rest of the team, the landing page was not working it didn’t sell the product enough. Our bounce rate was in the high 60’s.
So back to the drawing board, a redesign, 5 self-help videos and promotion video later we re-launched our website. Our videos are proving popular, 6k views on the promo vid so far, bounce rate down to 30% is and lots of sign ups.
What’s your must read business book?
The Mind Makeover, by Sharron Lowe. Sharron is a motivational speaker and her book really helps you simplify your thought process to help you achieve your goals.
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
Tim Watts. Tim is the Life Time President of Pertemps Network Group. A very successful recruitment company. Tim’s ‘will do’ attitude and business acumen is nothing short of inspirational.
And can you tell us something weird or interesting about yourself?
I used to be a police officer in the West Midlands Police Force.