Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the organization.
Hello! My name is Brian Stinar, and I own Noventum Custom Software. Noventum creates, maintains, and safely destroys, custom software applications for the web, Android, and iOS, and occasional desktop applications.
What is the story behind starting this company?
My friend and I started Noventum back in 2008 for a contract that never materialized. In 2012, I bought him out for $350, since he paid the LLC filing fees, and stationary, when I was ready to focus on the business full time, and I didn't want to change our stationary. Plus, I liked the name his wife picked out "Noventum - it sounds Latin but it's not."
What is your company’s business model–in-house team or third-party vendors/ outsourcing?
We use an in-house team of employees, with one employee located overseas. We have a single contractor left from the before days when we couldn't afford a dedicated staff. The consistency, reliability, and availability of dedicated staff are what Noventum needs right now. I don't see us going back to contractors.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
We are fairly exclusive in the projects and customers we take on. We're increasing and formalizing our new client onboarding process, which increases resistance for customers that don't fit us very well. We've increased onboarding costs, and friction, in a very mindful way to get the desired type of client and separate the wheat from the chaff. Custom software development is a very involved process, and it requires a certain level of dedication from the client for the outcome to be positive. It is fairly rare that you hear a business saying that they are working on making it more difficult to get new customers - but the end result is that the customers we do work with are profitable, pleasant, fun, and happy with the results.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We serve a variety of industries - nonprofits serving the homeless, a pub quiz trivia company, two different jewelers, lawyers, an essential oils company, and others. The vast majority of our clients are repeated (meaning we send them multiple invoices) - about twenty to one. There is a lot of overhead associated with switching software developers. More and more of our clients are moving to a monthly support model, in which they pay every month for a dedicated level of service and support each month.
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most?
The vast majority of our leads need help with their eCommerce platform. There are many, many, many (most?) small businesses selling things online, and they need help making sure their online stores continue to function well. We also provide fairly hardcode software engineering services - custom web application development, custom apps for Android and iOS, the occasional desktop application, and custom reporting.
What is your customer satisfaction rate according to you? What steps do you take to cater to your customer’s needs and requirements?
We don't actually have a rating that we computed (yet.) The first step in making sure someone's goals are met is to write down the goals in a clear, concise, way. Having written specifications and requirements is probably about half the work of making sure the specifications and requirements are met. We also built feedback into the process, making sure that whenever we complete a project, we get feedback regarding it.
What kind of support system do you offer to your clients for catering to their queries and issues?
We offer communication through email, in-person meetings, online meetings, text messages, and carrier pigeons. Our account managers translate these requests into tickets in our issue tracker for the developers to work on and then manage communication back with the clients. We have regularly scheduled weekly meetings for our bigger clients and projects, and monthly meetings for the smaller ones.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions, etc.)
We offer automatic monthly support packages that include a certain level of development. In addition, we do a lot of hourly development work, when the systems we inherit have an indeterminate amount of work that needs to be done. For very well specified, new projects we can work on a fixed price basis.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
Yes, we take projects which meet our basic budget requirements. That tends to be $5,000.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2021?
In 2021, this is between $5,000 and $100,000.
Where do you see your company in the next 10 years?
We're working on scalable software products, in collaboration with clients. If we are able to drive one of those forward, I'd rather focus Noventum on a scalable product. I wouldn't want to eliminate consulting, but instead of 80% contracting/consulting and 20% of our revenue from a scalable product, I'd like to switch those numbers.