A vivid vision is an outline of where we envision our business will be in 3 years time. It serves as solid understanding and projection that we can strive towards based on our current understanding of our business, goals, and values. As a team, we review this vision quarterly, refer to it during meetings and strategy sessions, set quarterly goals (we call them rocks) and generally move it forward as a team. We work to keep this vivid vision in mind as we drive our business forward.
We are BentoSMB and in the Shopify Retail arena, you have definitely heard about us. We are the leading app developer for Shopify POS and retail offerings with multiple apps that solve problems for tens of thousands of merchants around the world. We have spoken at events around the globe and worked with many other app developers to assist and build great connections and support for the community at large. We are an authority in the Shopify POS space and are looked to by Shopify and the community for our expertise and innovation in this space.
We are a small team. We always have been and always will be. We work together efficiently to support each other and all know our place in the business. We work hard and play hard, with attitudes that match. Our goals are unified and we all strive for the very best.
We are 100% Canadian. Our business is Canadian, as is our team. We source talent and create jobs and living wages for Canadians. We are proud of our Canadian roots, supporting local talent, and we aren’t shy about it.
Our team is made up of about 6 people distributed around the world remotely working where-ever they like. 3 of our staff are focused on development and extending our products. 1 of our staff focused on customer support and retention. 1 of our staff focused on UI/UX, design, and marketing asset development, and our CEO working on business dev, marketing initiatives, expansion, and driving the business forward. All of us are generally happy to call ourselves lifers. We look for people to join us for the long haul, not the short. Loyalty is key, from all of us.
Our staff all understand the benefits of remote work, flexible hours, unlimited vacation and a company paid for benefits package. We don’t take this for granted. It’s part of our life and we enjoy this type of work/life balance. We regularly need to step in and work on evenings, weekends or holidays to support the efforts of the business, but also don’t have an issue with doing so. We know we have balance and flexibility and as such, team morale is high.
Our unlimited vacation policy allows our staff to take the time they need over the year when it works for them. We don’t worry about how many vacation days we have used, and how many we need to save up for the family trip. We instead all focus on rest and relaxation and ensuring things are taken care of while we are gone. We still track days and a minimum of 10 days must be taken in a year, but we never have issues supporting this.
We also provide a quality health and dental plan with critical illness and long term disability insurance to all employees that choose to take part. We realize that having to think about this is taxing, and we want to make sure we all feel less taxed.
In addition to our generous vacation policy, we also observe down time at a corporate level. We always have office closures over the holiday period in December and observe Canadian statutory holidays. We encourage our team to put down their devices and enjoy time with friends and family and come back recharged and ready.
Our team works fully remote, with great tools to help us collaborate from afar. We all appreciate the flexibility that comes from this style of work and work hard to keep our productivity, team communication, and work life balance in check. Many of us work from different time zones, different countries, and regularly jump from one spot to another. Our team is flexible and we lean on one another to accommodate travel, holidays, new time zones, and facilitate new experiences for all of us.
Twice a year, we come together to meet up and work together, plan, and strategically align the next efforts of the business. One of these team gatherings typically coincides with Shopify’s Unite Conference, and the other typically is in early December. We use these meetings not only to strategize and set goals for the business, but also to have fun as a team. Meetings are in cool spots and we take the time to actually get to know each other. We develop strategic goals for the upcoming year, discuss the past year, and determine goals for the future. These meetings have regularly taken place closer to the Ottawa/Toronto corridor over the past couple years, but we have plans to take these meetings to more exotic global locations in the future. Maybe Costa Rica? London? Vancouver? Banff?
If you ask any of us, you will hear the same thing. We love what we do. It’s hard work. We have good and bad days, but the work we do is rewarding for many different reasons.
We all work hard and are rewarded with a share of the profits each year. The amounts that are distributed are known and discussed as a team. We complete bi-yearly reviews of performance for each of our team members at our off-sites as a collaborative group and discuss the performance of each team member openly.
Our team openly communicates and works together to make decisions and determine strategy. This doesn’t mean that we are always going to agree on everything, but we make sure that everyone is heard, that we critically look at the opinions of others, and build a strategy around those thoughts and ideas. Open communication is at our core and has been central to how we treat one another and our clients from day one.
Our primary goal has always been to help ecommerce and retail merchants thrive, supporting them with the integration of technology in their business. Over the past three years, this has been focused on developing applications for the Shopify ecosystem that support this goal, creating solutions that help solve problems and make the integration of technology easier for merchants around the world.
We build and maintain multiple point of sale applications for the Shopify POS system. These apps solve a number of issues across different verticals that align with the strategic direction of Shopify. This is a major component of the business, with 75% or more of our revenue now coming from the recurring revenue of the applications.
Some of our customers are larger or require very specific integrations that cannot be solved with public applications. Instead, we work with them to discover the needs of their particular use case and build private applications that support those needs. Private apps are more rare now, with maybe 2-3 a year being completed as opposed to 6-10 in previous years. This is still a critical part of our business, but we do it because of the difficulty presented and the excitement we get from these projects. They challenge us, keep us sharp, and tap into our team’s love of problem solving.
Working with our CEO and lead developer, we engineer solutions and lead new and existing store owners through the complexity that is retail technologies. We work to devise systems to handle their unique needs within the budget that they have, and continue to support those needs after the project is completed.
This service is loved by our customers, as we work hard to understand their goals, their needs, and to make it easy for them to implement this themselves. The service doesn’t make up a huge amount of our revenue, and the cost of the service is purposefully lower as we use the efforts for content and marketing efforts. Customers are happy to provide insight and reviews that allow us to keep it affordable for all merchants, big and small.
Fiercely loyal, our customers love our products and services and have nothing but positive things to say about our entire team. Because we are a small team, they know us by name and feel a connection to us which fuels open communication, loyalty, and referrals.
Our customer support has grown over the years, with a dedicated person focused entirely on supporting our customers. This individual came on board long ago and has worn many different hats, but has since begun to dedicate their time towards customer support, knowledge, and outreach.
Our customers regularly comment on how good our support is. This isn’t because we have ridiculously fast response times ( we get back to people within 24 hours in 100% of cases, even weekends ) but because we regularly resolve issues on the first communication (90% of cases).
We also maintain a clear and detailed knowledge base of information connected to our applications and services that allows customers to easily self serve and search for answers first while also always giving them the option to contact us via email.
New customers are valued by us, and we work hard to help make sure the onboarding process of apps and services is clear, concise, and easy for merchants to get started. We regularly request feedback from new customers to better understand how we can support them, how the onboarding process went, and what we can do to improve.
We maintain a lot of documentation related to our applications and services, allowing for easy self support of our clients.
Our customer feedback is pivotal to the success of our applications and services. We have systems in place to collect this feedback at critical moments of the customer journey and use this feedback to influence our design and efforts so that we can support the maximum amount of merchants with solutions.
At this point in time, or growth and revenue are in a solid place with strong year over year growth. We expect in 2023 that we are at a spot that we are:
We consistently refer back to this vision and use it as a tool to move the business forward, grow ideas, and keep us laser focused on where we see opportunity and growth. Let us know what you think about our ideas and thoughts, we always welcome feedback.