Owl Ops is an easy-to-use cloud-based maintenance and task management app for small to mid-sized businesses. It improves communication and accountability surrounding the operations and maintenance of any business. Their target market is restaurant and food service businesses with customers including Tim Hortons, Wendy’s, Burger King, and more. We chatted with Owl Ops CEO, Doug Rixmann, about the inspiration behind the company – here’s what he had to say:
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COMPANY?
Having grown up in a Tim Hortons family (four restaurants in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland), I experienced the challenges and frustrations related to operating in that fast paced environment. Whiteboards, sticky notes, text and email didn’t provide any accountability and things were getting missed. My brother (and co-founder) contacted me in 2009 and after unsuccessfully searching for a solution, we decided to create Owl Ops.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST REWARDING ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR? THE MOST CHALLENGING?
Seeing your idea come to life and meet its goal by having a positive impact on business teams is a pretty neat feeling. I’ve been involved in senior roles before but not the ultimate decision maker, it’s rewarding (and challenging) to have that ultimate responsibility.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP – HOW HAS IT DEFIED (OR LIVED UP TO) YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
Overall, entrepreneurship has lived up to the expectations. We knew we had a good idea, it was proven for years in our family’s operation, and knew that we were filling a hole in the market.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH INNOVATION FACTORY?
There is a growing entrepreneur / business community in Norfolk County (and Simcoe in particular). Ryan O’Grady of Fotaflo – a fellow Simcoe company that also receives guidance from Hamilton-based iF – introduced me to iF and Owl Ops was received with open arms.
WHAT HAVE YOU VALUED MOST ABOUT INNOVATION FACTORY’S SERVICES/SUPPORT?
iF has provided a great sounding board for different questions, essentially providing us with an advisory board. As a small startup, you’re sometimes limited with differing points of view or it’s hard to remove the blinders to think high level. The mentors and staff at iF helped bring me back to the original “WHY” behind Owl Ops.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?
Success for Owl Ops to this point has been to make a positive impact in the business teams using the app. Now, with hundreds of businesses benefiting from Owl Ops, we still strive to impact each new customer individually, but also look to reach our sales growth targets.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
There are countless apps that can help with different facets of operating a business (project management, maintenance management, asset management, task management, manager logs).
In today’s environment, the last thing teams want is to roll out “yet another new technology”, let alone 3 or 4 different tools.
Owl Ops is an easy-to-use all-in-one solution that anyone can use. Setup and training can be completed in less than 10 minutes with YouTube instructional and training videos.
WHAT IS THE BEST RECOGNITION YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Half of our business is from referrals from our existing customers. That’s the best recognition that anyone could give us.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR AND BEYOND?
We are really confident and excited about the coming years. Next year we plan on building the Owl Ops team, including sales & marketing, customer success, and development resources.
WHAT SUPPORT WILL YOU LOOK TO INNOVATION FACTORY FOR IN THE COMING MONTHS?
The next 6 months we will be fine tuning, refining, and testing our sales and marketing strategies. We’re thrilled to be able to call on iF staff and mentors as sounding boards for these key activities.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS WHO MAY JUST HAVE AN IDEA?
Know your market. Know how you’re going to tell your market about your idea. Have patience. Work hard!
HOW CAN WE CONNECT WITH YOU?
Email: [email protected]