0 outbound marketing yet, and already have 22 customers at $100/month. This year my goal is to scale up to 200 customers.
It's a really weird market niche where no one has built software for in 10 years. Pretty neat.
Partly that's because they can be cheap and hard to market to at scale, which discourages deeper-pocketed software companies from going after them. But if you're solo and just interested in a lifestyle business with recurring revenue, it's a very reliable path.
After looking into the non-veterinary pet services market I was really impressed by the consistent growth, number of businesses, and lack of offerings in the market. And I was only researching the US at the time. UK, Australia, and New Zealand also have booming pet services market.
I've been thinking of doing something like that, but my aim would be to find websites that I regard as sucking particularly hard.
We're looking to expand into a subscription service that provides a CMS w/ dog-centric themes to our customers.
Shoot me an email, we should talk. Email address on my profile.
Now make a dedicated cat-centric one.
Surely they will have some common elements between them. Find a way to make a pet-centric CMS.
Eventually you will have a flexibly configurable CMS that you could sell to many local businesses.
But you are better off writing a couple of hardwired, dedicated CMSs, then to try writing that flexible one from the very start.
My very first shot at Warp Life for iOS, a Conway's Game of life implementation, had a frame rate of about two per second. Now it's about 8,000 per second.
Now that I've gotten it up to 8,000 per second, I'm getting some real insight as to how to optimize it.
There are other reasons one would want a Life App than because it's fast. MY Life App is for those who care about the speed; not everyone does.
I can order domino's pizza with paypal but it is a PITA.
PayPal is completely convinced that I am laundering money in support of terrorism, however they are cool with my ordering pepperoni with olives.
It really is the case that I can't get cash out of PayPal, but PayPal does permit me to use it for online payments. A few days ago I bought a pizza with a eGift card that I bought from Newegg.
What I'd really like to do is to buy coffee and food at cafes. Starbucks once did a promotion where one could buy a prepaid card with PayPal, that they don't do that anymore. I've never heard of anyone else doing that.
If I could use my PayPal to buy coffee, or find some other ways to spend it at brick-and-mortars, there are all kinds of ways I could earn money online, then get paid via PayPal.
I use PayPal to pay for my phone. That and the pizza are all that I've been able to find that I either want or need, that I can use PayPal for.
Using it to buy coffee would enable me to work more productively. I do a lot better working at a cafe, out among the public, than at home by myself. It's not coffee that makes me productive; I buy the coffee to pay for my cable, power socket and wifi.
I expect PayPal could promote itself to brick-and-mortars, but PayPal's marketing people don't feel that they need to, because PayPal makes plenty of money.
Most brick-and-mortars make enough money for their staff to be happy, so they don't look into how they could increase their sales by accepting other payment methods.
This might seem OK but "making enough money" is one of the factors than enables the lean and hungry to come from out of nowhere with a disruptive technology.
Do you mind me asking what the development process was like behind this? You have a landing page and a great idea for a product in a good space. Specifically, did you develop the application yourself? If so, what language did you use and what were some challenges you came across? I am looking to start developing some SaaS product and have a few basic ideas, but don't exactly know where to start.
Thanks in advance.
Not at all! My girlfriend originally came up with the idea in January 2014...she works at a dog daycares/veterinary office.
I used LAMP, Bootstrap 3, React.js & Redis as my stack. I've been a PHP guy for a long time now, so I usually default to it for side projects.
I am the sole developer on the project. I have 2 non-technical co-founders who are heading up sales customer support, and business development. I just like to code :P.
The biggest challenge (read: the only real challenge) is to come up with a solution that works for a variety of businesses. This market is so fragmented; every business does everything their own way. My solution is to build abstract tools and data structures whenever possible. It's worked so far.
If you ever want to chat more about this, check out my profile and email me!
It was a really interesting story though...
My co-founder and I had the smallest possible booth in the very back corner of the room. Our biggest competitor had a triple sized booth manned with 4 people and 2 42-inch TVs in the center of the room.
We had 5 competitors within a 6 booth radius. Everyone else had a giveaway, huge screens, backdrops, lighting... the works. We had a 60" wide banner, a 24-inch monitor, 2 iPads, flyers and our phones.
These competitors had a decade of experience selling their product and had been to all these trade shows many times. This was our first trade show ever and only had 4 customers.
The first day was OK. Generated some buzz around the hall and had a few people really spend some time chatting.
In the afternoon, I branched out (co-founder stayed at the booth). I went around and introduced myself to about 1/2 of the other vendors. Then, I started walking up to folks randomly around the conference hall. I introduced myself, smiled and told them I was with Gingr. I then asked if they had a minute to chat about their problems with software. About 80% said yes.
I learned that just going out on a limb, smiling, being polite and asking people about their problems really worked. It makes sense IMHO ... everyone wants someone to listen to their problems.
Some were concerned that we were so new and small. I had practiced my spiel for that a hundred times by then. I managed to persuade most. A few had their "IT" person call me the next week. For the most part though, if you understand someone's problem and do have a solution, being new and small small wouldn't be a "deal breaker".
As far as closing a sale goes...don't treat it like a sale! I approached every conversation as just that.
> I had practiced my spiel for that a hundred times by then.
Mind sharing what that was?
URL is: gingrapp.com
Company Phone: +1-877-324-7759
I'm Lee, few free to call anytime!
We're currently building out our "Additional Services" tool, which are services that get applied on top of a reservation. I'm currently working with a couple of groomers to build in some tools that could help fit their needs. Could use all the feedback possible.
My co-founder is currently working on a true marketing site. I'll be sure to pass this along.
With the trade show did you just go and talk to people, or did you have a stall set up?
To date I've done 0 outbound sales/marketing. Just face-to-face interactions with folks at trade shows and our referral program. About 30% of our customers are referrals.
It's possible my co-founder are just so likable that our customers rave about us on private Facebook groups with their peers (our target demographic).
In this little niche, just being new and "not those guys" goes a long way. Add in a smile and an ear that really listens and you've got a pretty good initial sales strategy.
That is very cool, thanks for the information and being so open about your business. With so many good stories on HN I am considering writing a short book of interviews of people who have set up businesses of the bootstrap/lifestyle genre. Would you be interesting in being a case study?
Not only can you manage your reservations online, we also feature photo/video report cards over SMS :). That's my personal favorite feature...love getting a video of my 2 dogs wrestling at daycare.
We have a pretty generous referral program, get in touch if you have a business you'd like to refer.
We offer the fastest, most intuitive SaaS platform for Dog Daycares with world class support.
Currently there are 2 direct competitors, one has a slow product with poor support and the other has a decade old product that's inexplicably convoluted. I wouldn't consider anyone else on the market a true competitor (and our customers agree).
A couple of our favorite features are photo/video report cards over SMS, 1-click check-in/out with payments, and the customer app where they can request reservations.
If you're interested in a personal demo, shoot me an email and let's set something up! Email address on my profile.
Do you think this type of software would extend into similar markets well? Maybe vets, or actual child daycare?
According to IBIS, there are ~11,000 dog kennels and daycares in the US alone. Self-performed research indicates ~12,000 similar facilities in Canada/UK/Australia.
I've looked into the veterinary world and beta tested our product at one practice. Turns out, there's tons of stuff vets need to keep track of that kennels don't. The basic premise is similar, though. We might fork the codebase one day.
Child daycares is a tough market. There are actually good products out there with medium-level investors. To be honest, I haven't spent much time looking into the market.
-One charges $85/month, has decent support but a disliked and old product.
-The other charges $60/month, has poor support and a very slow product (~30 sec. page load time)
I knew that I had a superior product (months of real-world testing) and that our business wanted to make support a priority.
In the end, we priced at $100/mo or $1000/yr. It's higher than everyone else which implies a better product (kinda). I haven't run into sticker shock yet for anyone with an existing business.
We're planning on raising the price >20% for new customers within 6 months.