Magazine Article | August 1, 2018

Executive Profile: Jeremy Julian, Custom Business Solutions

Source: Software Executive magazine

By Jeremy Julian

WHAT IS KEEPING YOU UP AT NIGHT ABOUT RUNNING A SOFTWARE COMPANY?

Transitioning from a brick-and-mortar business to a SaaS business model while adding a reseller channel tops the list. In both our VAR business and our software business, the entire industry is moving to SaaS. Helping everyone, internally and externally, through that transition has been challenging. So many of our long-term team members are used to the traditional model. Like anything with change, it is sometimes difficult, but it’s beneficial.

WHAT IS THE TOP METRIC YOU USE TO MEASURE SUCCESS? WHAT METRIC CAN GIVE A SOFTWARE COMPANY A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY?

Customer success and adoption is our top success metric. Total revenue dollars can give anyone a false sense of security. The key is to segment the larger portions (POS, support, credit card, maintenance, SaaS, and the other business lines) and look first at customer success, adoption, attrition, and then revenue. Growing in each of those categories will end up allowing you to attain the revenue number.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO ARE BOOTSTRAPPING THEIR SOFTWARE BUSINESS?

It’s always going to take twice as long as you think (or more) and be three times as expensive as you expected. Keep to who you are and what you are trying to serve, and work towards that model.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE AND MEASURE CUSTOMER SUCCESS?

We recently implemented a Customer Success Team. We are measuring them in three ways.

  1. Customer retention. Is the client continuing to do business with our company, products, and services?
  2. Client surveys conducted quarterly on our success. Not full NPS, but close.
  3. Each client is surveyed at the beginning of the year for their MBO (major business objectives). We evaluate each of these and determine if we can help those clients achieve these goals. If we can, the sales will come with it.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

Acquiring good talent, with a close second being able to produce software as quickly as people will want. All good businesses start with having great people, giving them work that is meaningful, and helping them to achieve growth for themselves and the business. Second is the growth of the software. Due to the maturity of our industry, many clients are second- or third-time buyers. Since they have been through two or three systems, they want all the functionality of their existing solution as well as new features, functionality, architecture, and capabilities.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T LEADING A SOFTWARE COMPANY?

Some other entrepreneurial endeavor. I enjoy personal and professional growth, so I would probably be a speaker or writer. If not that, full-time ministry.

WHAT ADVICE HAS MOST INFLUENCED YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?

I learned this from my grandmother when I was very young: You can always learn something new each day. In every situation, be humble and learn from others.

WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS BOOK ON YOUR SHELF?

I currently publish my reading list to my team. So many have had an impact on me, but the one that has probably helped me the most is Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE?

Lead by example, listen first then act, allow people to make mistakes, celebrate the wins, use the mistakes as guidance, and set SMART goals.


JEREMY JULIAN
COO
Custom Business Solutions
Irvine, CA

EMPLOYEES: 100

FOUNDED: 1994

WEBSITE: cbsnorthstar.com

VERTICALS: Hospitality, specifically restaurants

HONORS/AWARDS:
POSitouch Dealer of the Year
Epson Vantage Partner
Toshiba Advisory Board
HP Advisory Board