Ask Yourself, “Why Do I Care?”- Be prepared to answer this question because it’s really about being authentic. If you care as an entrepreneur about solving a problem, it will show up in your persistence, resilience and your passion for everything you do — from the initial concept to the build-out of your product.
As part of my series about the “5 Lessons I Learned When I Created My App or SAAS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Barber. Terry is the Founder and Executive Chair of Jubi and onQ. The platform utilizes a dual technology backed by a powerful behavioral model of Learn-Do-Inspire. With more than 15 years of experience in training and leadership, Terry is passionate about helping groups and organizations engage their team and audience to foster greater engagement and business success.
Thank you so much for joining us Terry! Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
My 15-year career has consisted of using a combination of my education, innate talents, gifts as a professional speaker, author and trainer. In many of the training sessions and groups I’ve conducted and interfaced with, I’ve always walked away with the feeling of “wow, I received great feedback” while also feeling and believing people resonated with the information that was shared. However, I never knew if they were following through or executing on the ideas and strategies that were created during our time together. The truth was, I really cared about the adoption of behaviors and attitudes(i.e. How to lead successfully, foster employee engagement, etc.) that stemmed from those sessions because I know they essentially become the catalyst for profound change within an organization.
At the time, there was no sure way to measure this and it would happen repeatedly until my future business partner and I came up with a solution that would first, bring knowledge and ideas and action together; second, allow our company to scale this idea, meaning we could execute on this idea without having to be there in person; and finally, capture information and real data on what people were doing with the content provided. This is essentially why Jubi was created.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
For our company, our idea was already in motion, however, there came a defining moment that really solidified our decision to move forward with creating the Jubi platform. In November of 2012, I was invited by McDonald’s of the Southeast to keynote their national meeting in Atlanta, GA. My contact at McDonald’s wanted to do something different and outside of the box. At the time, we were already testing the gamification aspect to make content that audiences would be consuming more engaging. We pitched the concept to McDonald’s with the goal to split the session into two parts. The first half consisted of a more traditional real-time presentation, and part two entailed creating an online learning journey coupled with a gamification aspect to reinforce key topics like processes and quality control. Eventually, we created a gamified version of this experience and was able to engage with 900+ leaders in attendance.
This scenario essentially became Jubi test run that was funded by McDonald’s. The event was wildly successful and left a lasting impression. To this day, we still have conversations with some of those executives about how transformational that experience was.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Many startups have experienced the “little to no capital” season and for Jubi our experience was no different. Starting out, we operated out of our own cash flow and because of this, we were essentially selling the idea of our technology before we had the funds to create it. We used a mockup of what our product would be to sell the concept of Jubi to potential clients and investors. Eventually, we used the concept as a means to raise our first 150K and landed our first customer. We didn’t allow the hurdle of not having the capital or a true technology get in the way of selling the idea. In the end, we just needed someone to believe in our vision and it happened for us. Our drive came from knowing that if one investor or potential client said yes, we could build on that momentum.
So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Today, we are doing extremely well thanks in part to consistent effort and our resilient attitude as a company. This year, Jubi actually merged with onQ an experience platform that works anywhere on the web to turn your content into conversations. onQ allows your organization to listen to your employees and customers, and better understand how they feel so that leaders and decision makes have the ability to make better decisions.
What’s important to share is that my co-founder, Larry Mohl, and I both individually and collectively adopted an all or nothing mentality in the early stages of our companies. Honestly, we didn’t have a “plan b” and didn’t want one. If there would have been other alternatives along the way, there is a possibility that I would have shifted into another direction because, quite frankly, it was hard. However, sometimes you have to put yourself in a position to push forward and see your dreams through.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
While we haven’t experienced any funny blunders at this point, I can say we’ve certainly experienced truly fulfilling moments on our journey. The ability to see the anticipated excitement amongst existing and potential customers continues to encourage the work that we do.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe our onboarding process and customer care is second to none. We are a SaaS company and the vast majority of experiences for consumers of SaaS companies are to buy the product, download it and the company walks away. With many SaaS companies, customers often experience issues when attempting to troubleshoot any issues with their product. While this is not the case for a majority of SaaS companies, it, unfortunately, happens far too often. At Jubi and onQ, we do an amazing job of making our customers feel that we care about their vision. We touch base regularly with them to see if they are on the way to reaching their organizational goals using our technology and framework.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I truly believe that every moment you live in stress, worry, and anxiety is a moment lost to productivity. If you can’t embrace the challenge and run towards what’s more challenging, it will consume you. What saved my mentality and attitude around “burn out” was creating a somewhat harmonious work-life balance. I can do this because of my commitment to my faith, physical activity, and wellness. This is so important for leaders and entrepreneurs to adopt.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I will never forget the moment I met Joe Licata. It was during a local speaking event for CEO’s where I was a guest speaker. Joe took a keen interest not only in what our company was doing, but in me as an individual and entrepreneur. A successful entrepreneur at heart, Joe provided me with insight, guidance, encouragement and eventually invested in our concept. He was our first investor which allowed us to build a prototype. I guarantee we would not be where we are today if it had not been for Joe and his commitment to us in the early stages.
Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?
With over 150K users for the Jubi and onQ platforms, we’ve grown this community by creating meaningful content which, in turn, prompted the same audience to evangelize and promote our technology to other companies and brands. From this, we have been able to leverage our relationships with content partners and increase users on the Jubi and OnQ platforms.
What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?
We have two primary drivers. One is a classic Saas Model, meaning, when we sell to a B2B organization, we charged based upon the number of users they want to utilize the platform. The other driver is revenue sharing with our content partners. So, rather than charging on a per license basis, our partners sell a program and we earn a percentage which increases our profitability more than on a per license model.
Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know before one wants to start an app or a SAAS? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Be clear on the problem you are trying to solve — There are a lot of cool technologies today that are simply just that, cool technologies. However, it doesn’t solve a real business problem. It’s similar to the analogy of creating a fancy key that you have to build or find the lock for. That’s what it’s like if you don’t focus on finding solutions for current problems. It all starts with being clear on what you are trying to do and who you are trying to serve.
2. Ask Yourself, “Why Do I Care?”- Be prepared to answer this question because it’s really about being authentic. If you care as an entrepreneur about solving a problem, it will show up in your persistence, resilience and your passion for everything you do — from the initial concept to the build-out of your product.
3. What Makes Me Credible In the Market I am Serving?- If you are nothing more than an outsider or just a technology company that wants to service a lucrative market, your audience won’t receive you. You must be credible with the market and be intent on providing value.
4. Find a Minimal Viable Market — Don’t worry about broad-based kind of advertising, reach and search. Find a slither of a market and sell successfully into that market again and again. In turn, this creates a flywheel effect with the audience you are trying to serve. Every market has an ecosystem, so focus on that specific ecosystem. You will stand a much better chance of being able to scale (and scale quickly).
5. Learn to Fail Quickly- Entrepreneurs have to embrace failure before it happens simply because it’s inevitable. You will have misfires on market fit, messaging, errors in the identification of personas, etc. Be quick to pivot and don’t get bogged down on a loss. Some business owners are so committed to their view of how they see the world in terms of their solutions, that they refuse to give up to a particular way of doing things and unfortunately, they miss an opportunity to grow.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would go after heads of affinity groups, groups formed around a shared interest or common goal (i.e. college organizations, religious groups, sports organizations, etc) not so much corporations, to help them support their mission and their following. My movement would consist of enabling groups like this to succeed and grow their audience on issues that matter the most.
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“5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Successful App or SAAS”, With Terry Barber of Jubi & onQ was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.