Small and fast, not big and slow
We could have a bunch of CXOs, VPs, and Directors weighing in on every product decision, ensuring great decisions are rare and take forever to execute on.
But we don 't — we 're small. When there 's a decision we can make or feature we can add that will serve our core customer, it 's done. No meetings or compromise required.
Focused, not funded
Investors crave growth…
More features. More products. More customers. Grow. Being the best darn Gantt chart software on the market isn 't good enough for investors because it isn 't a billion dollar idea.
Luckily, we haven 't needed investors to accomplish our goal of ensuring anyone, no matter how unsavvy, can log into Tom 's Planner and create a Gantt chart in minutes.
Friendly help, not faceless support
With big and complex products come big and faceless support teams.
Every time you have an issue — a different person says “thanks” and then disappears. Sometimes you don 't even get a thank you, just a ticket #.
You 'll be on a first-name basis with our support team because his name is James. That 's right, despite having over 178,117 users, Tom 's Planner is so easy to use that James (and sometimes Tom himself) can handle customer support.
We 're available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. CET on weekdays, and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. CET on weekends. We typically respond to support requests within an hour.
This is how we got here
Tom used to lead a team of engineers as a project manager. One of his jobs was creating proposals to win work for his team.
He knew his proposals would stand out and that he 'd better communicate his vision for the project if he could include a Gantt chart.
But taking the time to create Gantt charts in Excel or MS Project wasn 't an option. If some proposals weren 't accepted, too much time would be wasted.
So, instead of creating Gantt charts, he fielded question and after question about each proposal. And he lost some work because he wasn 't able to clearly communicate his vision.
Tom knew there had to be a better way but didn 't have the tools to fix his own problem.
So he started to learn how to program in his spare time, eventually getting good enough to pick up the odd programming task at work.
It wasn 't long until Tom fell in love with programming, quit his job, and set out on his own as a freelance developer.
After 5 years, he knew he was the right person to solve his original problem because he understood the problem as a project manager and could now solve it as a programmer.
He built version 1.0 of the product and let his project manager friends try it in exchange for honest feedback. Not only did they confirm that Tom had made it easy to create Gantt charts (like drawing) — they referred to it as “Tom 's Planner” and the name stuck.
So Tom launched Tom 's Planner to the public and it wasn 't long until TechCrunch, Mashable, PCWorld, The New York Times, and others took notice. This publicity led to 12,000 users signing up in 3 weeks!
Tom 's Planner has since grown to over 178,117 users with thousands more signing up each week.
Over the last 10 years, features have been added and the user interface has been redesigned. But just as much work, perhaps more, has gone into making existing features even easier to use.
Being small, focused, and friendly has meant making this product easy enough for anyone to use without needing much help.