How I Started a
Productivity Management Application
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
I am Samar Kundal, Founder of Taskwall, a productivity management application to analyse and improve performance. Taskwall organizes all the work you need to do each day in one place and help you improve by providing weekly and monthly productivity reports.
The idea behind Taskwall came up when I was working on my last venture, SliteResume where I have been managing my team of 20 members. While there were many tools available for project or task management, we found no tool that could help us analyse our productivity. All the applications in the market today are focusing more on project or business management but we are putting ourselves in a new category i:e Productivity Management, where we are focusing more on the individual productivity rather than the project management.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
I come up from a small town in Punjab, India. Throughout my childhood, I have been an average student. I never thought I would start a business until my late college days. I was an avid reader in my college and this entrepreneurial journey started with reading a few self-help books.
The first book was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and I would recommend this book to everyone whether you are an entrepreneur or not. After reading the book I wondered that all of us have the same 24 hours in a day and yet, some people achieve such significant things with their time. The origin of Taskwall can be traced back to that question which I asked myself in 2013.
I started reading more on productivity and human psychology. The first book on the topic was Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. Over the next 5 years, I have learned everything I can find on the topic and started measuring everything related to my productivity, which later on helped me fine-tune it and start Taskwall to measure the productivity for my team.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
Getting into a related space where large companies are already dominating from years is very difficult for us. It is very hard to differentiate when you are trying to create a new market segment. People are not very used to the market segment so, they will always compare you with the large companies.
Another issue was the lack of financing due to the coronavirus slowdown. Currently, we are bootstrapping the business where I am investing my saving from the past. Due to the lack of funds, we had to think about the revenue stream from the very beginning.
Who is your target market?
In the end, our mission is to make this world a more productive place.
We are targeting individuals and small organisations where you can analyse the performance and improve on it to become more productive. Since we created this product for our team at first, we are targeting individuals like freelancers, solopreneurs and organisations having less than 20 members.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
For marketing, we have been focusing more on word of mouth and directory listing like Producthunt, Hackernews. Over the last few years, I have been a part of many communities for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs and Product managers.
For the initial traction and validation, those communities have helped a lot.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
The one things which surely works for us is weekly customer interviews. Every week we select 20 customers to have one-to-one Zoom meetings. On customer meeting, we focus on two things, what product feature is currently working and how can we improve the experience for users.
The users for meetings are selected as:
- 10 Users who are actively using our Taskwall this week
- 10 Users who have been using Taskwall last week but stopped using this week
This has helped us find the key features of our product, improve the features and helped us add new features which users want.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We are two founders – I and Sakshi Gupta. I mostly handle development and sales while Sakshi handles advertising and marketing.
We are a completely remote company. We have flexible work hours and everyone can work as per their desired time. The only time when everyone needs to be available is the meeting time. Meetings are scheduled in advance, at least a day prior to it happening.
One thing that we do to improve our productivity is that every task is time-bound and time-blocked. If a team member is assigned a task, he/She will inform in a Slack channel that how much time will it take to complete this task and when they will be doing it. This has helped us improve our time management skills and boost our productivity.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
We tool stack is focused on communication and management. For communication, we use Slack and Zoom and for project management, task management/ time-tracking, we use Taskwall. For every product update, we use it internally for 1-2 weeks and then release it for the public.
On the development side, we use plenty of services from Amazon web services for emails, hosting, database and deployment.
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
The important lesson that I also share with my team is that we should always try to follow a process. It’s very easy to get distracted and feel lost when you don’t have a roadmap for your journey. We have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for almost everything at our company.
The content marketing team have SOPs to come up with content ideas. The marketing team have SOPs to come up with marketing campaigns.
We even have SOPs to onboard a new member to our team. We are constantly documenting and improving our operating procedures and, the lessons we have been learning as a team.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
For me, the favourite part of being an entrepreneur is the ability to create change outside of my personal gains. The best part is when at the end of the week, we sit and evaluate the user stats for the week. It gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction to see the numbers increasing. It makes me happy thinking that we have created something that people are liking.
Another thing that I like being an entrepreneur is learning the limits of what I can and can’t do. The opportunity to bring creativity and insight to the business and push myself beyond the limits. I just admire the constant learning that comes as being an entrepreneur.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
At the moment I do everything by myself and there are days when I have very few social interactions during my work hours, so the least favourite part is the uncertainties that come alongside running a business.
Often we bump ourselves into the things that are outside our control. I am just not able to make peace with the idea of letting go. Sometimes the solution is to let go of the problem or step aside from the path of the problem.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
Books have been a huge influencer in everything I do. From product development to marketing, from team building to leadership, I have learned everything from books. I recommend everyone starting a business to have a learning roadmap where you decide on the things you will be learning in the next 6 months or 1 year.
1. Hooked by Nir Eyal
2. Deep Work by Cal Newport
3. Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz
4. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
In 2-3 years, we would like to have million+ active users for Taskwall. We would like to provide more value to the community with videos, books and podcasts.