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2020 State of the Company

It’s the start of a new decade at WhatArmy. We had a lot of positivity in 2019, and we’re looking to continue that momentum into 2020.

It’s always important to keep where you came from in perspective, we’ve come a long way here at WhatArmy since we officially opened our doors in 2012.

Some things that have changed in those 8 years:

Obama → Trump
Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention…

WooCommerce → Shopify
We made a conscious decision to deal with best-in-class solutions 4 years ago. At that time we stopped recommending WooCommerce and started recommending Shopify. We’ve helped close to 100 clients transfer platforms to date.

Our only regret? We didn’t invest our free cash flow in the IPO.

Chris → Neal

With the departure of Chris as CEO to fulfill his entrepreneurial ADD (his term, my agreement) I was tasked with engineering the turn around of the decade! Chris told me the only way this would work was if I channeled my inner Lou Gerstner.

That’s all in jest. Chris couldn’t have left WhatArmy in a better position to succeed as he transitioned to other endeavors. It’s been a fun, yet challenging ride over the past 3+ years.

Ownership Change

Over the past 3 years we’ve undergone the aforementioned change in leadership, followed by a change in ownership. Fortunately, we have an incredible Operations team that allowed us to manage this entire process without a hiccup, nor having an impact on the high-quality service that we provide to our clients.

We have an incredible Operations team that allowed us to manage this entire process without a hiccup

Some highlights from 2019:

We added a Help Desk Coordinator, who has been essential in allowing us to improve our monitoring alerts as well as improving our day-to-day customer service. This position has given our Account Managers more freedom to focus on tasks where they can impact their clients’ businesses. We’ve also looked to automate some alerts with the help of the Help Desk Coordinator.

We’re still a small company, so there is a lot of cross-functional overlap. We were able to break some of our marketing and social tasks up and hand-off. I want to thank Rebekah for joining the WhatArmy family!

In the middle of the year we had an ownership sit-down and realigned our values and mission. As owners we believed this was important to ensure we were all aligned and the ship was sailing in the right direction. To be clear, we’ve all been owners along the way, but believed it was important to leave our mark on exactly who WhatArmy was as a company.

Overall, there was no change as to who we are as a company. We lead from the front by creating an open and honest company culture, this was another step in that direction. Aligning the team and setting us up to excel in 2020.

2019 was the first time that we were truly honest with ourselves about what goals we can hit.

The final thing we did was choose and focus on a single goal. We called it our North Star, inspired by a blog post Noah Kagen wrote about his early days at Facebook.

For us it was revenue. Historically we’ve set goals that are out of reach and unrealistic. The goals weren’t a real thing and didn’t serve the motivational purpose they were intended to, rather the opposite. They were a demotivating factor as the numbers that were chosen didn’t have much in the way of reasoning behind them.

2019 was the first time that we were truly honest with ourselves about what goals we can hit.

In the 2019 budgeting phase we took a step back, dug deep into our numbers, determined numbers that were reasonable (maybe even a bit on the low side of what they should’ve been), and tabbed those as our goals for the year. I was happy leaving the numbers on the low side of any ranges, as I wanted to ensure we hit goals and gained traction throughout the year.

Our team responded by exceeding our Q1, Q2, and Q3 goals, before falling short in Q4. The Q4 shortfall was 100% driven by poor budgeting.

Here we are kicking off 2020 with more exciting things on the horizon.

Last year we created a service library highlighting the tasks that our clients ask us to help them with. We’re working internally to identify and roll out additional services that are beneficial to our client base.

We have an unlimited vacation policy at WhatArmy. No one takes vacation. Mental health issues are reaching epidemic proportions. We’re a full remote company.

No Vacations + Remote Employees + Poor Mental Health = Bad Home & Work Lives

The well-being of our team is our true North Star. If they’re not happy and have excess stress we’re not going to be a great company. In 2020 we’re requiring everyone to take a minimum of 2 weeks vacation as well as 1 extra day of their choosing every month – that’s 22 total days if you’re counting at home – in addition to any other vacation team members want to take.

Being remote, I believe, has created a culture that doesn’t reflect who we want to be. Our team does a great job being accountable to one another and our clients, but I believe we’re all forgetting to be accountable to ourselves and our families.

If we can be forward looking and implement policies that protect our employees we’ll all be better off because of it.

We’re going to put a renewed focus on marketing in 2020.

We had one year where we did a good job marketing — we had a marketing manager. Since then we stink at marketing, we just don’t make time for ourselves!

We’re carving out some time to improve our marketing and get our name out there in the places that we need to be.

I attended a WordPress event last year. A lot of people knew each other. No one knew me. More importantly, no one knew WhatArmy. A lot of those companies were started after 2016. We opened our doors in 2012.

Eye opener.

Let’s Market!

The Launch

We manage websites for individuals, companies, and brands. We used some tools on the market. We didn’t think they were great solutions. We created our own.

Over the past year we created “The Only Website Management Tool You’ll Ever Need.”

Our team uses it on a daily basis. It helps them do anything from take site backups, scan them for security, and do mobile usability checks.

We’re calling it “WatchTower.”

We’re in the process of a closed beta today and will be opening it up to a public beta in the coming weeks. If you’d like to get in the queue, head over to the WatchTower website and sign up.

A few of our early beta users had the following glowing reviews of WatchTower:

“Watchtower is really innovative – has helped a lot and made our lives easier” – Nancy

“The coolest thing ever” – Nicole

“It makes my life easier because we can have our Shopify sites on there too.” – Nekia

We’re excited for the full roll out later in the year and will keep you up to date as we progress.

“It makes my life easier because we can have our Shopify sites on there too.”

It’s shaping up to be an exciting year here at WhatArmy. We’re looking forward to a happy and healthy 2020 for our clients as well as our team.

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