Founder's Chronicle: Interview with Dave Nevogt, Co-founder of Hubstaff

hubstaffTell us about Hubstaff.

Hubstaff aims to provide better data to managers of remote teams to drive decisions. The product tracks time spent on specific projects and lets managers get a deeper understanding of how their remote team works. Hubstaff also takes screenshots and monitors activity levels.

What has been the most effective marketing tool for introducing a new brand to the market?

Research-driven posts and whitepapers because they increase your authority in the eyes of potential prospects and are easily shared.

How big of a role does data play in making decisions on launching or changing the focus of a product/service?

It plays a huge role in our organization. It doesn't make sense to make decisions based on feel anymore. One of the best ways to get actionable data is through surveys. We use simple tools for customers to "vote" on the next feature that we build into our software. This takes all the guessing out of the equation. It usually makes the decision very easy and obviously has the added benefit of actually providing our clients with the exact feature they want.

What’s one thing you look for in an agency partner?

Experience. When I go to an agency (which I do), I want the work to be done of course, but more importantly, I am looking for their expertise based on all the other clients they are working with currently.

How should agencies apply startup principles to operate effectively and create breakthrough work?

Focus on processes and templates. I believe in doing things one time and recording that process so it becomes a template. Then, when a new client comes along, it's much easier and faster to get that client from point A to B. I usually create these step-by-step processes in Google Drive. Not only am I making it easier to manage my resources, but I am also developing a system that is always being improved.

How can agency leadership encourage internal innovation?

When a client hires an agency, we are looking for expertise. We are usually paying good money for guidance on a particular subject, whether that is design, traffic, etc. Because we are making the decision to hire the agency, we need to trust that what they are saying is the "correct" way of performing that action. This "correct" way filters down through the organization and is one of the benefits of using the agency. Organizations do not like conflict. When an agency is hired, they become the defacto expert in the organization, which allows employees and management to grab onto the ideas the agency presents and improve upon them.

What is your advice for retaining young, technologically savvy employees?

Challenge them. That doesn't mean overwork them: It means make them think for themselves instead of simply pushing reports. Let them improve on your processes and systems. And then let them have fun. Try to encourage a fun and energetic workplace. It's tough to leave a place where employees can be creative and contribute to the team.

Many advertising professionals find themselves interested in entrepreneurship. What advice would you give to someone with marketing skills interested in starting a new venture?

Find a partner with the opposite skill set of marketing, and work with them on the business. Marketing is the most important skill in business, but often times it won't create the product. You'll need someone that can focus on the product while you are focused on selling it.

What new trend in marketing/digital media are you most excited about and why?

Webinars — they allow you to sell one-on-one to prospects from across the world while demonstrating your product.

dave nevogtDave Nevogt is the co-founder of Hubstaff, which helps virtual teams communicate better through automatic time tracking and activity tracking. He’s been running online businesses since he was 23 and now manages a team of 30 remote employees. Dave has been honored as one of Indianapolis' top 40 under 40 entrepreneurs and focuses on teaching others to manage remote teams. His remote team theories can be found here.