Scott Schaedle | Crain's Nashville

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Scott Schaedle

Background:  

Founded in 2013, Franklin-based hospitality software company Quore Systems already has more than 35,000 users at more than 1,500 hotels. The company uses state-of-the-art technology to allow hotels of any size to more effectively manage every aspect of lodging operations, including guest requests, work orders and maintenance. 

The Mistake:

From the Quore standpoint, I'd say the mistake that was made was when we first started out. Take a software company that has no track record but is very quickly getting bigger clients. In our first three or four months, we met our five-year goals. We tried to be everything to everybody right off the bat. We kept adding lots of different products to satisfy each individual customer and make sure the product did everything that they wanted.

Quore quickly became unscalable. It was stressful, too.

We were trying to create a roadmap and put together a product, but I'd have one customer who wanted something, and another saying they wanted something different, by the same date. As a small company with limited resources, it just snowballed where it became stressful. It was burning people out. That was actually a problem – I stressed out my people too much.

We sat down to develop one of our products and said we could do it by X date, and that it was going to take four or five months to get it done. With everything else we had going on at that time, it was realistically a nine-month project. 

The guys getting the product developed were excited about it, and ended up putting in 100 hours a week for four months straight just trying to get it done. No one demanded it of them. They just wanted to see the product finished and they pressured themselves. I looked at the two of them and they were just burned out. I told them they needed to stop.

We ended up meeting with our customer again and backtracking, and told them we'd have to deliver it six months after we told them it would be finished. They were actually very understanding, and we were able to get through all those hurdles of building every product.

I stressed out my people too much.

The Lesson:

We now take all the information our customers give us and then we assess it. We decide when we're going to do it, or if we're going to do it at all. We take a much more systematic approach to it now, making our lives and the development a lot easier.

I realized I don't have to deliver everything that everybody wants. We can actually take our time and deliver product over a timeline that makes sense for us. As long as it's a great product, [customers are] always happy about it.

Now instead of immediately telling customers yes, we tell them we will get back to them about whether we will do it, if it makes sense to us. We basically are more patient, and that's a big change from what we were doing two years ago.

I learned to take the time to plan things very thoroughly.

We also learned that you have to staff up to be able to do that. We learned that we needed project managers, project owners and middle management to be able to see it from the beginning to delivery. I think that's probably the most valuable thing you could ever learn. 

Pictured: Scott Schaedle | Photo courtesy of Hannah Nuccio. 

Follow Quore on Twitter at: @QuoreSystems

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