There’s a great idea at the forefront of every business. And it takes many ideas throughout the years to keep a business afloat. But those ideas don’t always come from the founder or CEO. Viima is a cloud-based solution designed to improve innovation by getting employees and other stakeholders involved in the brainstorming and idea development process.
Read more about Viima and how the idea came to be in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers software for increasing innovation.
Co-founder Jesse Nieminen told Small Business Trends, “Viima’s mission is to help organizations drive more innovation with the help of their stakeholders. Our cloud-based innovation management software is already used by thousands of organizations around the world, ranging from small teams all the way to the Global Fortune 500 and has been rated as the best in the world in 2018.”
Offering an easy and intuitive platform.
Nieminen says, “Viima’s user interface is uniquely visual and engaging. Also, the tool can be taken into use online in just a couple of minutes and is free for up to 50 users.”
How the Business Got Started
As a completely different company.
Nieminen explains, “We (the founders) participated in a local startup incubator program called the “Summer of Startups” five years ago, during which we received invaluable mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs. We initially started the program with a completely different business idea but ended up realizing that there was little market need for our product. We then realized that we could help others to be smarter than we had been about all of this by helping them engage their employees, customers and other stakeholders in their innovation processes early on. Ever since, we’ve developed our product based on the feedback of our customers and prospects to closely match their needs.”
Securing their first large enterprise customer.
Nieminen says, “Once the first version of product had been out for a couple of months, we’d had a couple of pilots with some success. We then managed to get in talks with the innovation group manager of a quite large and well-known enterprise. Truth be told, there were still quite many basic features missing from our software, but the innovation group liked our fresh approach to the problem and trusted in our ability to further develop the software based on their feedback, which got us the deal. After succeeding with them, we were able to use them as a positive reference that helped us get many more customers.”
Not taking a salary.
Nieminen adds, “By deciding not to pay ourselves a salary for however long it took for us to get enough revenue, we made the company’s future dependent on the entire founding team staying together long enough to get us up to speed – without knowing how long that might take. This was obviously financially and psychologically very demanding for us as founders, but we had already discussed this prior to founding the company and had agreed to do it this way.”
Put a major focus on hiring.
Nieminen says, “We didn’t put in enough effort to find the right candidates and as a result made some early hiring decisions that didn’t pan out very well for either party.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Hiring a key team member.
Nieminen explains, “We’re currently in a phase where we’re putting much more effort into both customer acquisition, as well as on ensuring that our customers get the most value possible out of Viima, so I’d use it for hiring another account manager, or a content marketer.”
“How hard can it be?” by Jeremy Clarkson
* * * * *
Images: Viima; Top Image: founders Joona Tykkyläinen, Jesse Nieminen and Erkka Isomäki