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“We Transitioned from a Project Business to a SaaS Company in a Month”

Trustmary’s Chief Marketing Officer Arttu Haho was video interviewed by xFusion.io’s co-founder David Tran. The interview is centered on how Trustmary became a fast-growing SaaS company and on actionable tips on how to grow from an idea to a successful business. FUSE is an interesting interview show that features entrepreneurs, business owners and thought leaders of the startup community. Tune in to learn Haho’s advice for companies that are in their early stages and he even gives a little preview of what Trustmary’s new product will look like.

The interview started with going over the basics of who Haho is and what Trustmary does. 

Tran was also interested in hearing why Haho decided to work with testimonials in the first place.

– Our CEO Johannes Karjula pitched the idea of producing testimonials for customers and after two minutes into the pitch I was sold, Haho explains why he decided to join the company in the first place.

Since then, Trustmary has kept on further developing this core idea which has now become a testimonial tool that helps create more leads from websites.

Transforming from Project Business to a SaaS Company – in 30 days

The conversation then progressed on and they talked about how Trustmary became a SaaS company in the first place. Trustmary did start out as a producer of high-quality testimonial videos. Haho explained that the company didn’t plan on being a SaaS company at all.

– We wanted to solve a big issue many companies were having: To be able to get high-quality video testimonials to use in marketing campaigns and in sales meetings to boost sales with very little effort, Haho says.

He explains how Trustmary successfully produced testimonials in Europe and the USA with their state-of-the-art concept. They operated fully bootstrapped and the invoicing was project-based.

Trustmary’s clients started to ask for client comments in text format, and so the idea of a software was born. At the end of 2019, the first version of the Trustmary software was born. 

– Covid-19 crisis really accelerated the transformation for us. In March 2020 it became impossible to do in-person video interviews, which meant that we weren’t getting any money in. We transitioned from a project business to a SaaS Company in a month, Haho explains.

Haho says that the groundwork was started and done months prior to making the transition, but the final transition was still done at a very fast pace and with excellent results. 

The important factors are to build a well-functioning software to sell and to believe in it so much that you are able to make the jump from one business to another.

Developing a Software Without Funding

The discussion also went over how Trustmary was able to build such kick-ass software without funding. Haho describes that they’ve invested heavily in software development even before they raised the funding, as they were sure that the product will do great.

– We were lucky to have our CTO Kim Salmi join us right at the start of this process. We’re even luckier to have him working full-time developing the product and leading the software development team. He’s a real genius, Haho praises.

Haho also explains that the funding they just raised is used to develop the product faster and to market it even better. 

As Trustmary’s software development has been kept in-house and done from scratch, Haho offers some insights to other startups that are planning on creating their own software. 

3 Tips on How to Develop a Software from Scratch (without funding!)

  1. Hire the right people. 
    1. Focus heavily on the first few hires, as they’ll set the tone for everything.
  2. Make software development a team effort
    1. It should involve everyone working together. Trustmary’s software development is a joint effort of the CEO, Product Owner, Development and Marketing teams
  3. Brainstorm your ideas with other people
    1. Especially with the people whose problems you’re trying to solve. Never shy away from pitching your ideas to anyone in your network, as they might have great ideas to add as well.

Building Successful Marketing Campaigns

The interview also involved a discussion about the most successful marketing campaigns. Trustmary has and continues to work with SEO. In the past 11 months they’ve raised the number of organic visitors on their website from zero to 50.000. 

– I’d recommend startups to have a growth hacker or a person with a growth hacker mindset in their marketing team. They are great at coming up with and implementing new ideas that’ll help you stand out from the crowd, Haho says.

To hear Haho explain how Trustmary was able to get 50.000 organic visitors in 11 months, listen to the interview starting at 15:35.

Launching a New Product Soon

Tran was asking Haho if he could give any insights on the new product they’re launching soon. Haho was a little secretive about what the product will look like, but he revealed that it will be a necessity for all marketers.

– It’s a testimonial tool with which you can collect all the testimonials and referrals you have in one place and to put them to use in a very easy and nice-looking way. Haho reveals.

Haho was excited about the product and its launch, but couldn’t say more about it quite yet. 

If you want to be among the first to hear about the launch of our new product, subscribe to our email newsletter here.

3 Pieces of Advice for Early Entrepreneurs

At the end of the interview Haho gives his advice to people who are thinking about starting their own business or have just started out.

  1. Brainstorm with every person possible
    1. Talking about your idea will develop it further!
  2. Find the people you will help with your idea
    1. Are they excited? If so…
  3. Put your idea to use, now
    1. It’s not doing anyone any good while it’s only an idea. Trustmary started out by first selling the testimonial videos and only then figuring out how to actually produce them. Even though the production process wasn’t thought out at first, the customers were really happy with the results, as their problem was solved. 

You can learn more about these topics and Trustmary’s future plans by listening to the whole story here