In the Spotlight: Jen Remsik, owner of Training Tracker LLC
By Olivia Barrow
Jen Remsik says nothing is worse than software that doesn’t work well or meet users’ needs. With 15 years of experience in event management and people operations for various startups, she has dealt with her fair share of sucky software.
So in 2017, when the creator of a product called Training Tracker reached out to the software development company she operated with her husband for some development help, Jen’s customer experience instincts kicked in.
Training Tracker is an easy-to-use software platform that helps employers stay in compliance with regulatory agencies like OSHA, FAA, and the FDA by tracking their required safety training and certifications.
During their conversations, Jen learned that the owner was interested in selling Training Tracker, and she immediately saw several opportunities to improve the core product and the fundamentals of the business. Jen finalized the purchase in May of 2018, and soon after made several improvements to the customer support system and implemented an online payment portal.
Jen participated in the winter 2021 cohort of the Triple Threat Venture Training—Doyenne’s 12-week strategy accelerator—at a point when she needed to refocus her strategy in order to achieve her next growth goals for her venture. I chatted with Jen a few months after the accelerator wrapped up to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey and vision for the months ahead.
Tell me where Training Tracker fits into the ecosystem of corporate training software tools. Is it a standalone learning management system (LMS)? Or does it complement standalone LMSs?
Training Tracker is complementary to many LMSs on the market. We provide proactive tracking notifications and audit facilities, but the training happens outside of our system. With that in mind, there are a lot of LMSs out there that are really great for storing and creating this content, but they don’t include the tracking component. Employees can log in to the LMS and watch the video and do the quiz, but there’s nothing in there telling the employer, “Sally needs to complete this training, otherwise her certification is going to expire.”
I would say 50 percent of my customers do have some form of an LMS, and they’re using Training Tracker alongside the LMS or in-person training (e.g. CPR, welding certifications) to get more value out of it.
What are your long-term goals for your venture?
I’m only three years in, so sometimes I still feel like I’m just getting started. But an interesting statistic is that OSHA has reported that they are responsible for tracking the health and safety of 8 million worksites in the U.S. If Training Tracker could obtain 1 percent of that market, that’s millions of dollars in revenue a month. I want to get as close to achieving that 1 percent goal as I can.
What traction have you gained so far?
When I started in May of 2018, there was a set of long-standing customers, some of whom had felt the software was stagnating or undersupported. It took me a long time to reach 50 percent growth. We experienced churn for a while as we redesigned portions of the application and upped our marketing efforts. We doubled that initial user base heading into 2020 and then COVID happened. Last year, I lost a number of customers. And 75 percent of them said it was COVID-related. If it wasn’t for COVID, they would still be using Training Tracker.
Starting in the middle of January of this year, we’ve started to see a rebound. I have set a goal to grow 30 percent each quarter, and we’re on pace to meet that.
What has been the most exciting milestone for you so far?
Getting the online paywall set up was great. That freed up my time to use it more strategically on the business, instead of having to manually invoice customers.
What’s the next milestone you’re aiming for?
Right now I’m trying to rebound from COVID and to end 2021 on a high note. And then I am going to start playing around with marketing strategies to attract more manufacturing and construction customers, and hone in on that broader OSHA persona.
What has been your most successful marketing strategy?
I’m still trying to figure that out. Ninety-five percent of our traffic comes from organic search. Our name helps with that a lot, and since it’s a registered trademark, I have to protect it. I’ve been doing a lot of that work for the last year, so that there isn’t brand confusion.
Luckily, the majority of the companies that my attorney had reached out to with a stop request have been cooperative.
And I’m learning as much as I can from Google Search Console so I understand what people are searching for when they’re finding me.
What have been the hardest challenges you’ve overcome in your journey with Training Tracker so far?
One lesson learned is when purchasing an existing product, it’s best to “trust but verify” the info that is given to you. I kept being told we have X customers, but some of them weren’t being invoiced. So when it came to it, there weren’t as many paying customers as I thought.
But as far as moving forward goes, a lesson learned over the last three years is there’s always all these enhancements that you want to do, but you have to figure out which ones take priority. Customers are always going to make feature suggestions. You can’t always implement every suggestion, because then you’re building custom software. Not everyone needs those same enhancements. So you need to figure out how to tell which suggestions would benefit everyone.
How has Doyenne supported you in your journey? What insights did you gain from doing the Triple Threat Venture Training?
The reason why I signed up for the accelerator versus just a few coaching sessions was because I felt like I was a bit stuck after COVID. I didn’t know what strategies to focus on. Because at the start of 2020, I had these strategies, and they worked for a while, and now it doesn’t feel like anything is working. Do I keep trying the same things? New things? I was going a little stir crazy thinking about this in my own head. I needed something to help me regroup where I was with my business. Having the accelerator coaching sessions, and the feedback from the Showcase to help drive my new strategy was great.
Also, if it wasn’t for me going through the Doyenne accelerator and creating my five-minute pitch, I probably wouldn’t have done my first little webinar, which I did a couple weeks ago. It was a short 10-minute presentation, but I talked about OSHA requirements for construction and how Training Tracker can help.
That could possibly be more of a strategy going forward.
The other insight I got through Doyenne came as I was going through the workbook and came to the customer personas exercise. I had already created customer personas with my marketing team, but the Doyenne questions were a little different. I realized, maybe we need to dig a little deeper on these personas. So following the program, my marketing people and I sat down a little more and went through those additional questions to hone in and identify those details that we may have overlooked previously.