Founder Stories: Jacob Montoya On Building FitSW
In today’s Founder Story we feature Jacob Montoya, the Founder of FitSW!
Read on for lessons he’s learned from launching and marketing his business.
1. Please introduce your business and share your role.
Hi, my name is Jacob Montoya and I am the CEO and founder of FitSW. FitSW is an all-in-one software platform for personal trainers, physical therapists, and gyms to manage every aspect of their businesses.
FitSW provides fitness professionals with technology, automation, and insights to accelerate business growth. It enables fitness professionals to easily create and deliver fitness programs, accept payments, manage schedules, and more all through our iOS, Android, and web apps.
Our mission is to provide simple-to-use software that empowers fitness professionals worldwide to grow their businesses and make the world healthier. Our customers love our product because it’s innovative and packed with features, yet it’s still simple to use.
2. What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?
I was a personal trainer during college and had an idea for an app that would make my job easier. However, I didn’t have the capabilities to create it at the time. Fast forward several years after I had been a software developer and was doing my MBA, we had the opportunity to create an MVP for an entrepreneurship course. I decided to build the product I had envisioned several years before and some beta testers really liked it.
FitSW then went from a side project to an official business in March 2017. Since then, we have bootstrapped our way to $50K monthly revenue and have helped over 30,000 trainers grow their businesses enabling over 100,000 clients to hit their fitness goals.
The biggest challenge we have faced has been figuring out how to prioritize features for our app. We receive so many feature requests from users, that it’s difficult to figure out which ones would have the biggest impact for the most users. It helps us to keep in mind our ideal user and try to figure out what features are most important for them. If we are going to spend time implementing a feature, it needs to have a big impact on making the majority of fitness professionals’ jobs easier.
3. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
For our launch, we got our product out there very early by mentioning it on forums. We wanted as much feedback on the product as we could get from users to see if we were onto something. I wanted to make sure that there was a need for our product and that it would be useful to people.
Once we got positive feedback, we continued to improve the product, focus on key features, and then began testing different advertising methods with Google Ads.
4. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
Content marketing has been helpful for us because the articles featured on our personal trainer blog are helpful in guiding fitness professionals on how to grow their businesses.
We have also experienced success with google ads, with the most success specifically with google display ads. We have also had some success with Facebook ads. It’s been important to create designs with people in them that our customers can relate to. We also want to spend more time on video ads going forward.
5. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
Like many others, we aspire to Apple’s branding and marketing. They take complex devices (phones and computers) and make them seem simple. So they really highlight simplicity. Our product has a ton of features to make fitness professionals successful, but we also want it to be simple to use. We want to aspire to market simplicity as Apple does.
6. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
Google Ads is a really powerful tool for us in organizing our ad campaigns and in helping us understand how successful a marketing campaign is.
We also like SpyFu to give us insights into keywords and SEO. Same with Ahrefs.
Our digital marketing team was newer to the industry and one tool that was really helpful for us was Cobomba. It is an AI-powered content marketing engine that was able to guide our digital marketer with content recommendations that improved content relevance, discoverability, and value.
7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
Our users inspire and motivate me. Most of our users are entrepreneurs themselves, trying to grow their fitness and health businesses. So I definitely some similarities between them and myself.
They are consistently grinding and working hard to help their clients meet their goals and make a living at the same time. We have created a product that helps these fitness professionals successfully grow their businesses and saves them significant time.
We want to continue to improve it to make the best product for these users so that they can be as efficient as possible and be as successful as possible.
8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
Don’t wait for your product to be perfect before you launch. It will never be perfect. You need to get your product out there into users’ hands so you can get their feedback. Remember that you don’t want to build a ton of features no one cares about. You want to find the critical features through user feedback and then focus on refining those.
Ideas are cheap, execution is king. Good execution also becomes a lot harder as your startup grows. Hiring the right leadership team will make it possible, otherwise, you can’t do it all by yourself.
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
An entrepreneur must be tenacious and persistent because of how difficult some entrepreneurship problems are. A lot of times the entrepreneur is the only one that can solve those problems and so in order to be successful, they will have to be tenacious and persistent.
At the same time, startups move fast and things are always changing. It’s important for entrepreneurs to be adaptable and flexible. They need to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.