First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Shannice Singletary: I have a very large, active, and vibrant family whose claim to fame in my hometown was an open door policy. There was always a company at my house! Whether it was people dropping by after church on Sunday to sit down, gossip, and eat a meal made by my father’s gifted hands, or nosy neighbors talking local news to family, there was always a lot of fellowships. My family is very social, so it’s been a monumental shift for all of us. I do a lot of work remotely and have done so for years, so the impact Covid has had on work and how it has transitioned most to remote work feels very surreal.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Friyay.
Shannice Singletary: I’m a young black woman interested in startup life and culture while studying abroad. After an eventful year interning abroad for a tech startup, I came back to the states filled with excitement and awe from my brief introduction to that world. The energy, the hustle, the grit, and the momentum of building something from the ground up was very appealing to me. Not long after, I connected with my Co-Founder Joost after we worked on a project together for a knowledge management startup. We started having very engaging discussions on the future of work. We both felt as if the nature of work needed to change- this 9-5 way of working, being chained to our desks, the never-ending meetings- that way of working inherently burns people out. We both believed work needed to be more flexible, but for that to happen, there needed to be a fundamental shift in the way we were working. That’s how our platform Friyay was born.
How does Friyay innovate?
Shannice Singletary: Friyay is unique in that it is a platform built to create a goal-focused culture on teams. The platform is designed to get the entire team to reach weekly goals in a way that’s easy, fun, and simple. Our Get It Done By Friday method (GIDBF) gets teams laser-focused on these weekly goals. Thanks to this, teams can be productive from anywhere, collaborate more effectively, and time isn’t wasted on management since the team is able to manage itself.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Shannice Singletary: Pre-Covid, the entire team had already been working remotely for several years. If anything, Covid has accelerated this transition into this more flexible way of working we had embraced from the beginning. Before there was a noticeable reluctance for teams to embrace this concept of autonomy/self-management- now, many teams have realized that they can be just as productive outside of the office as they were in, which makes them more open to trying tools like Friyay.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Shannice Singletary: The hardest choices for us in relation to the pandemic has related to how to best manage our resources and how to position ourselves to grow in light of the impact Covid has had on businesses. We are in one of the few industries that are actually placed to offer value to businesses right now looking to innovate and change their way of working in light of the pandemic. Of course, this puts us up against some fairly big competition as many notable tools in our space have shifted their messaging to capitalize on this new wave of remote teams. We’re fairly small, so every day is a lesson in creativity as we try to find ways to stand out and connect with these teams. Of course, as a startup, you’re also always worried about funding, etc. Things are pretty tight on that end, but if it’s one thing we’ve learned how to do well, it’s adapt and make the most of what we have.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Friyay in the future?
Shannice Singletary: Thankfully, I’m someone who naturally has way too much enthusiasm and an unshakeable sense of humor. My very nature always leads me to see the best of any given situation, and I’m always assured at the knowledge that no matter how difficult things are, there’s always an opportunity to turn things around. Post-Covid, I absolutely believe Friyay is set up to find its place in the market, especially since the way we work has changed forever. I predict there will be many teams that will either stick to a hybrid model where they spend some time both in/out of the office, and just as many teams that will find themselves better off not going back to an office at all. Either way, everyone’s now seeing the benefits of more autonomous work where team members can self-manage, and that’s the portion of the market Friyay is primed to take.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Shannice Singletary: I would say our closest competition are project/task management tools like Trello, Monday, Asana, and Basecamp. But projects are more than tasks, and Friyay lets you organize just about anything around your projects- notes, chats, workflows, timelines, and more. Where we differ is with Get It Done By Friday, which structures your work into a timebox, which creates a real sense of focus, urgency, and clarity. Yes, we help you create, plan, organize, etc., but Friyay actively encourages you to execute and make things happen with daily feedback and results. No other tool on the market does that.
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