Posts in BUSINESS

A Greener Year For Small Businesses

January 8th, 2020 Posted by articles, BUSINESS, resources No Comment yet

Climate change and environmentally friendliness has never been more top of mind for consumers and businesses alike. Consumers are increasingly more likely to support brands that take their environmental footprint seriously. Almost 66 per cent of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. If all consumers want to see more environmentally responsible businesses, it’s up to businesses to deliver. Meeting increased expectations will not only drive more customers, but contribute to long-term efforts to protect the environment for future generations.

Here are a few ways that small businesses can do their part to be more environmentally responsible and communicate these actions to consumers.

First, assess where you create waste:

  1. Are you using plastic bags?
  2. Do you waste electricity with too many lights?
  3. What do you use for take out boxes, cups and straws?
  4. Do you waste a lot of water?
  5. Do you recycle?

Once the key areas of waste have been identified, you can implement a plan for reduction. Get everyone in the company involved. Have a way for employees to suggest ideas to help your business help the environment. Making employees feel involved will make them more inclined to contribute to the programs.

Find out how environmentally friendly the items you buy from suppliers are: do they have excessive packaging? Do they contain substances which are harmful to the environment? Are you suppliers able to reuse any packaging, perhaps at a discount to you? It many cases, it’s better to pay more but source products that are better for the environment. Sustainable purchasing is a great option to show your company is committed to the environment, especially if you’re finding it difficult to implement detailed environmentally responsible programs in your business.

Think about where you can make changed with office supplies and/or stationary:

– Stock the office with reusable pens: ones which simply have their inks refilled
– How necessary are those pads of sticky notes?
– Do you send out a lot of mail? If so, use recycled envelopes and keep packaging to a minimum
– Are people encouraged to recycle non-confidential documents rather than throw them out?
– Introduce a company-wide recycling program for items such as pop bottles and cardboard containers
– Remove paper cups for beverages and encourage people to bring water bottles and travel mugs for coffee from home
– Remove ‘convenience’ coffee from the office – you know, the ones that take pods or capsules of coffee and require one-push to make one cup. Single-use items that end up in the landfill are not good for the environment
– Compost kitchen waste like leftover foods. Most cities have some kind of composting scheme in place.


Save paper!

If you must print, use recycled paper and print on both sides where possible, using eco-mode if quality is not important. Recycle all used ink and toner cartridges. Online marketing is much more environmentally friendly than offline marketing like direct mail or printed ads, and often much cheaper! Online marketing is a low-cost alternative and produces no printed waste. Many businesses, however, rely on printed coupons sent in the mail to drive business. Other options include building a database of emails for a monthly newsletter and sending coupons that way, or look into marketing solutions like an app such as GetintheLoop that takes care of your marketing for you, delivering your marketing message and offers to the palm of people’s hands, on their phones. No printing and no wasted materials!

Save water!

– Install water-efficient taps;
– Fix leaking taps;
– Avoid washing dishes under running taps’
– Install water-efficient dishwasher;
– Wait until you have a full load before washing;
– Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes prior to washing;
– Replace single-flush toilets with dual-flush toilets
– Regularly check for leaks and fix immediately;
– Install rainwater tanks for yard and plant watering’
– Water produce and plants early in the morning or in the evening.

Where possible, source local products

For restaurants, this can increase prices, but depending on your audience, diners may be willing to pay more for locally sourced products that support local growers and producers. Even better, grow your own produce. Order in bulk to cut down on the amount of deliveries you need to receive.

Recycle old furniture, computer equipment etc

Keep as much out of the landfills as possible. According to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, over two million tons of electronic waste is disposed of every year in the U.S., and only 27 per cent is recycled. Many computer manufacturers like Dell and HP have equipment recycling programs, or you can contact local charities or schools to see if they have any need for the items.

Reduce the amount of electricity you use

Replace all light-bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs, or even invest in solar panels. Turn off lights, shut down computers, and turn down heat/AC at the end of the day. It may seem like some of these suggestions are very small and won’t have a big impact on the environment. However, if every business took small steps toward being more environmentally friendly, it would add up to a one big step that could really make a difference. Consumers are demanding that businesses assume responsibility for a more positive and sustainable future.


Communicate to your customers how your business is environmentally friendly so they can make an informed decision to choose you over your competitors

– Add messaging to your social channels that talks about your commitment to sustainability. Instagram is a good platform for using imagery to show what your business is doing behind the scenes
– Create a page on your website about your commitment to sustainability.
– Tell stories in your blog. Does your supplier have an interesting story about how they have incorporated sustainability into their products?
– Promote your commitment through your product messaging, whether online, in store, on menus, etc.: “made with 100% locally-sourced ingredients”
– Add signage In the public bathrooms: “save water, don’t flush unless necessary”
– Carry your messaging through into all forms of communications. For example, at the bottom of email signatures you could write, “please do not print this email unless necessary. We are an environmentally friendly business.”

Keeping our planet alive and healthy is everyone’s responsibility and consumers, especially millennials, are becoming more demanding of businesses to be environmentally-friendly. Take steps within your organization to really have an impact on the environment. Decide how you are going to measure the impact and commit to making it an integral part of your business operations. Then, and only then, should you communicate it to consumers.

GetintheLoop for Business makes local marketing easier. Attract and retain more customers with mobile offers, delivered directly to their phones. Keep 100% of your revenue. Get started today!

GetintheLoop helps local kickboxing gym deliver a marketing knockout

June 27th, 2019 Posted by blog, BUSINESS, Fitness, success stories No Comment yet

In this corner, you’ve got a gym that is helping local residents achieve a higher level of fitness through a unique kickboxing program. In the other corner, you’ve got Canada’s leading mobile marketing platform that is helping businesses connect with local consumers through great offers. 

For 9Round Fitness in Airdrie, Alberta, the decision to sign onto the GetintheLoop platform has helped their local marketing efforts go the distance. 

“We love the platform. It’s phenomenal,” said Lesley Beck, who owns 9Round alongside her husband, Aaron. “We wouldn’t have the ability to market our offers this effectively without GetintheLoop.” 

9Round, an international franchise model, offers gym goers a convenient 30-minute workout that incorporates functional, interval, cardiovascular and circuit training regimens. Flexibility is a key selling point of the gym, with new sessions beginning every three minutes. From the beginning of their franchise journey, the Becks were excited to take this model and create the ultimate gym experience for local communities.

The Becks live in Calgary, Alberta, but decided to look outside this major centre and start their first 9Round franchise in Okotoks, Alberta, three years ago. They opened up their Airdrie location six months later and then launched a gym in south Calgary after another six months had passed. 

Sound Bite: It’s great to have the GetintheLoop team in your corner

 

Lesley said her husband and her “love operating in smaller communities”, because members of the community support each other and are big advocates of shopping local. Their goal in operating 9Round is to create a gym that residents can call home.

“Our gyms are like the fitness version of Cheers: when somebody comes in they are greeted by name and all the members know each other,” Lesley said. “When you go to a big box gym, you might get lost in the crowd and you don’t get that one-on-one attention. 

“People feel welcomed when they come to our gym. We’re never going to have 1,000 members like a big gym; that’s not what our vision is. We’re creating an intimate experience where you know people and you see them get results.”

The Becks have embraced the opportunity to build up a local client base in the communities they operate in, but have found it difficult to reach the right people through traditional marketing efforts. For example, they have noticed that some small towns have tight regulations regarding how much advertising signage you can purchase.

After hearing about GetintheLoop through Chrissie Rozak, a local team member in Airdrie who happened to be a former 9Round member, the Becks eagerly signed their Airdrie location up in January. They have received tremendous engagement on their GetintheLoop offers since then, including 40 direct actions such as redemptions.

GetintheLoop has allowed 9Round to create great incentives to draw people into the gym and immerse them in the strong community atmosphere. While the gym typically offers free first-time workouts, GetintheLoop members can take advantage of this offer for the first week. 

Other popular offers include free boxing gloves, hand wraps and heart rate monitors to customers who sign up for 12-month term; a two-week trial for $39; and the chance to receive an additional month of training for free after signing up for two months.

Sound Bite: GetintheLoop is going the distance

 

“I’m not really computer savvy, but after going through the tutorial process I have found it really easy to use the platform,” Lesley said. “The team that we work with are really on top of things. They reach out to us and tell us when we need to update offers and they give us lots of ideas. 

“They make it so, so easy for me and I really think all businesses should be on board with this.”

Based on the success of GetintheLoop at their Airdrie location, the Becks are bringing the platform to their Okotoks gym and will start rolling out offers in July. Lesley envisions that it won’t be long before their Calgary franchise also becomes a GetintheLoop business partner

“We feel that this platform is going to spread like wildfire and we want to be in on it,” Lesley said. “The wave of the future is all about social media and what you can get at your fingertips.” 

 

GetintheLoop is Live in Dauphin!

April 18th, 2019 Posted by blog, BUSINESS, Company No Comment yet

Don’t miss out on the unique local offers and experiences in Dauphin and Clear Lake. Did you know that GetintheLoop is officially live, bringing you new offers and experiences weekly! Dale Jacobs, owner of GetintheLoop Dauphin has been working hard to connect you to local businesses!

Learn more about some of the local businesses that are on GetintheLoop in Dauphin and Clear Lake and make sure you download the GetintheLoop app so you can take advantage of their incredible offers!

Prairie Supply Co.

A general merchants store, providing a trending assortment of men’s, women’s, youth and kid’s products, including clothing, hardgoods, shoes and accessories. Prairie Supply Co. strives to provide a unique and unforgettable shopping experience.
See all of Prairie Supply Co.’s offers here.

Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy is the largest and most innovative pharmacy in the Parkland area. With eight pharmacists and a dedicated team of technicians and staff, they can provide the most complete, convenient and professional array of services possible.
Check out all of Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy’s offers here. 

Nutters Everyday Naturals

At Nutters Everyday Naturals, they are a unique food retailer combining a commitment to the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle with exciting in-store merchandise. In store, you will find a variety of natural and organic products such as vitamins, supplements and other healthy lifestyle products, and educated staff to help you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle.
See all of Nutters Everyday Naturals’ offers here.

Mega Deals

Mega Deals is your source for all your shopping needs. From furniture to flat screens and everything in between Mega Deals will have what you are looking for!
Check out all of the Mega Deals’ offers here.

Café Trocadero

Café Trocadero is a specialty café kiosk located in the heart of Dauphin’s health district. Trocadero offers a variety of carefully sourced premium Canadian coffee and tea products, as well as health-conscious smoothies and freshly baked pastries with a French flair.
See all of Café Trocadero’s offers here.

Parkland Source for Sports

Parkland Source for Sports is a locally owned sporting good and service retailer, specializing in action sporting equipment. They carry; Hockey equipment, Baseball equipment, Fitness Equipment, Lacrosse equipment, Apparel, Footwear and much more. Custom quality Team Jerseys, custom apparel and made to order equipment is also available at Parkland.
Check out all of Parkland Source for Sports’ offers here.

Corrina’s on Main

At Corrina’s on Main they make the freshest homemade food in the Parkland! For over 10 years they have been a go-to place where real food is found. They work hard to bring you home-made meals made from the freshest ingredients, whether its breakfast, lunch, or dinner it is food made fresh for you!
See all of Corrina’s on Main’s offers here.

Dr. Brenna & Three Graces Medi Spa

 

Dr. Brenna & Three Graces Medi Spa focus on services in beauty, cosmetic & personal care. You can find a variety of services that will make you feel beautiful, inside and out! With a professional staff, they work hard to make you comfortable and find the treatment the best suits your needs.
View all of Dr. Brenna & Three Graces Medi Spa’s offers here.

PASS the POP

The Parkland’s sugar fix. With 250 or more in stock flavours and access to over 1200 flavours of pop, water, juice, energy drinks, tea, and coffee, PASS the POP will have what you want. Go see them today!
See all of PASS the POP’s offers here.

Silver Frame Productions

Whether you have photo albums, shoeboxes of loose photos, or old family memories on VHS or camcorder tapes – Silver Frame Productions can help. Silver Frame Productions focuses in photo & negative scanning, 35mm slide digitizing, home movie transfers from Super 8 or VHS (to DVD or USB) & unique Keepsake Slideshows for all occasions!
View all of Silver Frame Productions offers here.

Do you own or manage a business in Dauphin or Clear Lake? Get in touch with our team and learn how GetintheLoop can help drive more customers to your business.

Leveraging Digital Marketing on the Greens

March 11th, 2015 Posted by BUSINESS No Comment yet

pga of bc logo_5GetintheLoop was invited by the PGA of BC to present at their educational seminar to speak about using digital marketing to change the face of the golf industry. It often seems as if golf courses can sell themselves; enjoying the warm southern BC climate on internationally praised golf terrain is usually enough persuasion to bring in customers, but digital marketing is just what the industry needs to keep up in the age of technology.

Passionate about both the game and business aspects of the industry, PGA of BC professionals are devoted to improving the game and learning new ways to market it. The level of dedication in every professional is inspiring; when you love what you do, it truly shows, as is the case with this remarkable group. We were honored to share our experiences and give guidance into the ever changing topic of marketing, as it can often be daunting to keep up with so many changes in social media, online strategies, and understanding your target audience. Matt was able to give some key updates on recent changes in the digital world as well as some starting steps that golf courses, or any business, can use to start building a strong digital marketing strategy.
A mobile strategy is crucial to any business attempting to thrive in 2015. The average smart phone user checks their Blog_Computerphone 155 times a day, and 40% of daily decisions are driven by a mobile phone. With 95% of all smart phone users using their phone for local searches, businesses without an effective web presence are failing to be part of a critical buying market. A profound advantage of mobile marketing is that it can be instantly presented to users, and has the ability to reach a business’ specific target market, catering to when and where they need the information most.


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If courses and golf professionals want to increase engagement amongst their existing and prospective members, digital marketing will be a necessity. By increasing a course’s online presence, critical information that could determine a golfer’s decision on where to play is at the touch of their fingers. This could include course information, photos of views, weather and playing conditions, tee time availability and amenities. The simple task of providing consistent and reliable information gives courses the ability to change a potential guest into a paying guest during the decision process, before they even leave the house.

As far as social media goes, Facebook and Twitter are the most commonly utilized platforms, with Instagram close behind. Creating compelling content consistently can be challenging, but luckily, user generated content and the use of pictures is the most successful on these platforms. In fact, Facebook and Twitter posts have both proven to increase engagement by up to 150% when pictures are included. This is a no-brainer for golf courses, as some of their biggest selling points are their picturesque views, and capitalization of these social media strategies will increase overall engagement and value.

A corporate-sized advertising budget isn’t necessary in order to start utilizing digital marketing; effective, simple, and cost-efficient tools are available to help build a better online presence. Programs like Hootsuite and Google Analytics give businesses the ability to post content and analyze their effectiveness at little to no cost. A social media strategy is easily deployable as a majority of a course’s employees are already active on these platforms; encouraging staff members to give updates on their personal accounts not only increases job satisfaction, but also increases engagement of new customers. By educating employees on appropriate content to post, businesses still remain in control of their own brand and are able to hold consistency in the message they’re transcending.

Your marketing message (digital or not) is what your customers are experiencing before they get on your course, which is why having the right marketing strategy in place has the ability to alter the profitability of the business and the customers experience as a whole. The PGA of BC is built on solid foundation, with a passionate team dedicated to making the game the best it can be, so it’s exciting to see how digital marketing will change the energy in the industry. Now is the time to start executing a digital marketing strategy to grow your online presence! Take small steps to get started and don’t be afraid to try new things in this ever-changing digital world.

Why Mobile is a Must

January 27th, 2015 Posted by BUSINESS No Comment yet

4 REASONS YOU SHOULD BE LEVERAGING MOBILE MARKETING

It’s clear that many traditional media outlets are struggling to hold engagement with their audience and maintain their revenue. Why? One word…Mobile!

Customers, users, members, and clients are continually prioritizing looking down at their phones rather than the traditional ads that so many business’ are spending their precious marketing dollars on. The Digital Shift has been talked about for years.  Forbes regularly describes how tradition media (TV, News Paper and Radio) would see decreasing revenues. Forbes also said that major players and local vendors would start to shift ad dollars to the digital space and what is now turning into “Mobile First” and local strategies.

Today major brands like Frito Lay are looking at 100% digital advertising spends and finding early success. It’s clear the shift to mobile is here to stay (unless you feel comfortable giving up you phone!), the question is why and how to best leverage Mobile Marketing? I am not suggesting to ignore all traditional media when considering your advertising strategy, however, it is important to give full consideration to pairing traditional and mobile as 72% of mobile phone users are on their phone while consuming traditional media. Why Mobile is Important

1. The numbers speak for themselves.
This article from google says it all:

Looking for local information is done by virtually all smartphone users and consumers are ready to act on the information they find.

2. Mobile is Instant and in Real Time.
With mobile marketing you’ve got an instant communication channel to your customers phones. The possibilities for real engagement with timely notifications, current information and targeted messages are endless. The ability to communicate instantly with potential customers in their palms, wherever they are, puts the power in your hands!

3. Mobile is Trackable
Mobile Marketing is all about your return on investment. The potential to earn a high ROI for your advertising spend is even greater with focused campaigns. Offer Partners for Mobile Marketing start-up GetintheLoop.ca, see upwards of 10x return on their marketing spend month over month. (Disclosure: I started GetintheLoop…Ha!)

4. Targeted Campaigns
With improvements in technology businesses are able to target customer segments. Many marketers and business owners today are looking to increase their foot traffic with their ideal target customers; students, sports fans, or affluent customers who are regularly out spending money. With new mobile offer platforms like GetintheLoop reaching your desired demographic instantly is easy. What’s even better – it’s proven, no more need to sell air or the hope that it works. With new mobile marketing platforms you’re able to understand and react to how your marketing efforts are working and get a clear picture of who is engaging and purchasing day to day. All I can say is if on average consumers are checking their smartphones 150 times a day…as a business owner or marketer you have to be looking for ways to show up in your future customers palms – every day!

Matt Crowell

For more information about Mobile Marketing visit our company blog.

 

Digital is Trending

July 24th, 2014 Posted by BUSINESS No Comment yet

It seems like everyone is going digital…but why? Mitch Carefoot went on the hunt and found out a bit more about the Age of Information: 

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

There are more than 27 million cell phone subscribers in Canada – 327 million in the USA and most of the developed world has access to a cell phone.

Assuming you and I are “average”,  it is suggested we are using our mobile phones an estimated 2 hours and 51 minutes per day on non-voice activities If we include time logged onto a computer (nearly 2 hours and 12 minutes), each of us is online for over 5 hours a day…

Further, the average person checks their phone more than 100 times daily, and many sleep with it next to our beds (as if it is our one and only prized possession).

This isn’t breaking news, but mobile phones have changed society.  We have phones at the dinner table or on vacation. We back out of plans more often now by texting our friends and then receive a response along the lines of:  “OMG, AYFR? LOL”. (Oh my Gosh, Are you for real? Laughing out Loud). Mobile is even changing our language.

(more…)

Can You See into the Future?

May 29th, 2014 Posted by BUSINESS No Comment yet

In today’s marketplace, business owners and consumers are dealing with how to cut through the over saturated, overstimulated advertising noise. 

Even as a “professional marketer”, I often find myself staring into a sea of colours, messaging, calls-to-action, slogans, and logos and absorbing nothing. Then I’m left in a state almost akin to confusion when trying to make a buying decision. This makes me long for times when revolutionary mediums presented a unique opportunity for the most progressive businesses to reach above the status quo.

They would make a real impression, a real connection.

In 1922, the first radio broadcasted advertisement presented an opportunity to reach people at home in real time. Imagine, a world with a singular medium for instantaneous communication into prospective customer’s homes! In 1941, the first paid television advertisement appeared before a Dodgers versus Phillies game. In 1978, the first electronica mail advertisement was sent to 600 people (now considered SPAM). In 1993, the first web banner appeared on the Internet. In 1996, the first documented pay-per-click (PPC) service was laumched.

In May 2013, GetintheLoop went live! Is it too soon to add us to the list? We think not.

I find myself thinking from time to time that advertisements are just, annoying.

However, deep down, I want to be advertised to, I want to know what’s available and where to get the best deals – I just only want the information that I’m interested in, and I want it when I’m ready to buy. For example, I don’t want to see a commercial for a restaurant at 11:30PM when I’m not hungry. While it might directly influence my buying decision down the road, there is no guarantee or tracking system in place to quantify the direct value of it.

Being in the marketing world, I respect and appreciate the importance of brand recognition and equity – which the commercial is contributing to. I’m simply on the prowl for something more direct, effective and immediate!

Queue the concept of Micro-Marketing, which was coined in 1988 in the United Kingdom Marketing Press. This means allowing marketers and advertisers to collect demographic, geographic, psychographic, behavioral and product-related information from their order to concentrate efforts and create efficient/effective marketing strategies.

Google does this every day with AdWords and PPC Marketing Efforts – their data allows them to isolate the target market down to a very narrow focus. Facebook enables this as well, allowing advertisers to specify down to the individual interest of the ad recipients.

Is GetintheLoop the future of Micro-Marketing? We’re certainly working to make it that. We are providing a real-time direct marketing effort that reaches people where they are most engaged – their smartphones. As we grow, our Partners will be able to reach their prospective customers when they’re hungry, shopping, travelling.

Should this scare our members? Definitely not, because they’re getting this information as they’re participating (or heading to) these activities. We’re assisting in the buying decision, demonstrating value and inspiring confidence.

No nonsense. Just quality offers from premium businesses.

Can you see into the future?

 

Growth and Advertising

December 22nd, 2012 Posted by BUSINESS No Comment yet

There comes a time where big decisions need to be made.  For me that came early into my second season – could I juggle a career role while trying to grow a very new concept? The decision on whether to hire someone to help me was easy – the company did not yet generate enough money to hire anyone. I was also not ready to give up any control on the day to day of GetintheLoop and how our message was communicated to our partners and members.  I decided I would enjoy a Starbucks every morning before work, spending 1 hour in the morning and then do whatever else needed to be done in the evening. When you are doing something you’re passionate about getting up extra early, is easy!

The first thing I had to learn was to efficiently spend my advertising dollars.  I met with many different local advertising consultants to gauge what I wanted to do and what I thought was best. Being pretty green in business, I made decisions on a whim and went with my gut. I decided to do a mix, hoping one avenue would have standout success, and then I could focus. I advertised briefly in the local paper, posted a 2-week ad on castanet and ran a few different radio campaigns.  For the ads I ran, I saw the most success with radio. As far as returns on investment, none of the avenues provided me a great deal of value. This re-assured me of the marketing avenue we provide our partners and the value that is behind the GetintheLoop concept.  I found radio to be effective – it created great brand awareness and resulted in positive ROI membership sales. I was again featured in the business section of the paper as well as running an ad in the paper.  Having someone else tell your story for you is key! The success and awareness created through articles on GetintheLoop relative to any other advertising were superior. Free press beats pushed ads any day of the week. After doing some member surveys I soon figured out that the bulk of my awareness was created through word of mouth and the local community buying into the concept. If it wasn’t for our members spreading the word I don’t think year two would have seen half the growth that it did. In year 2 the system became slightly more automated, but still, I was a long way from the vision of the finished product I wanted to offer my partners and members.

The membership was growing, as were the opportunities for bringing on internal partners and growing our offering. Four weeks into our second year, the membership was already larger than the year before and that trend continued. GetintheLoop saw great growth to finish up a very successful second season.

I planned to do the second annual Loop tournament towards the end of the summer. I decided this time that I would take the chance and we would reserve the course and host a shotgun tournament. The rules were simple, you had to be a member to book a tee time and you had to be ready to have some fun.  The same instant promotional messaging tool that we offered our partners was used to promote the tournament.  Much to the surprise of our host course, the tournament was sold out in 48 hours.  This was a great example of how our program worked and the desire our Loop members had to participate in our event. The tournament saw a lot of smiles, suntans and some great local sponsors like Andre’s, Big Surf Beer, The Golf Centre, Mazda, Dodge, Peacock Insurance and many more. The rule for sponsorship is easy, you have to be local and members can sponsor a hole or event for free. Just provide a great prize for the other members to enjoy. The focus of our company is simple, help local members enjoy local businesses while helping all local businesses communicate and offer specials to our local members.

After the growth of year two it was now up to me to take the company to the next level. Focusing again on growth, improving our online member and partner experience and continuing to grow our value to both our partners and our members. Stay tuned to find out how this plan is going into action.

The Grind

December 10th, 2012 Posted by BUSINESS No Comment yet

When I finally made my mind up and decided I was going to start a business, I quickly learned you need 4 key strengths to get a start-up off of the ground: work ethic, persistence, a good sounding board and some luck.  In my first week of idea generation I bounced the new idea off of anyone and everyone I thought would use my product.

I believe that constructive criticism was what helped me focus on the product and kept the positive energy flowing. I knew there were a million ways it could fail, but I also knew I had a chance!

It wasn’t until I actually did it on my own that I understood how many hours you have to spend brainstorming, preparing for meetings and learning from meetings. On top of that if you have $0 funds for help, many hours are spent creating content for your site.  For 2 weeks straight I spent every free hour talking, writing, meeting or thinking about GetintheLoop.  From the time  idea was first talked about until the bare bones website was just over 2 weeks. I now had a website, a concept and 50 home printed tear away business cards, I was ready!

This is where the persistence came into play. I worked for a week pitching to my friends and family, anyone who would listen and critique me. I got better, and felt I was ready to go.  Whoever said practice makes perfect, lied. You can practice all you want, but that first meeting when it’s your idea and your own product everything changes quickly. My first conversation with a partner course was arranged via a relationship with a good family friend.  I gave my “pitch” which was way below average. I nervously stumbled through my main points and what I could do for them. I listened to some great feedback on what he liked and what needed to be my focus and then at the end he said, okay lets try it! What a rush, for the first time in business I gave a hockey style first pump to myself in the car. Throughout the next 2 weeks I met with any businesses that would listen on both the Golf and Entertainment side. The feedback was positive, but getting that YES when you are not proven and new is not easy. I heard a lot of “call us in a couple of months” or “maybe we will try it next year.” The one big thing I learned is it’s always easy to say no on the phone so you have to go see your prospective clients.  I had a new idea and I needed to find the right people who were open to giving it a try. This is why I am always thankful for those who took the chance and gave me a shot at proving the concept.

In year one I spent a whopping $125 on marketing which gave me business cards and a few posters for the partner courses.  My advertising budget was $0, so I relied on social media, word of mouth and the help of everyone who was a part of the idea brainstorming from the beginning. I would give away a membership at men’s nights and in the middle of June I was lucky enough to be featured in an article in the business section of the paper.  All of these factors contributed to steady growth and a fun first year.  Without taking the chance and learning along the way, none of this would have been possible. I had no idea how I was going to get the word out, or gain members – I just knew I had too.

Coming into year two I had new opportunities, I could advertise, my website could improve and I had learned a lot. It was up to me to maximize the first year’s momentum and improve the experience for both members and partners.  Like one of Darwin’s theories explains – it is not the strongest or the most intelligent, it is that who best adapts who survives.  I knew I was definitely neither of the first two, but I had an opportunity to be the third, I could learn and change.  Some issues I had in year one were no e-mail notifications available to members who didn’t want to receive texts and no tool for Loop members to identify themselves at the course. In year one they just showed their cell proving they were receiving our exclusive texts.  Coming into year two I had to make sure that e-mail notifications were an option and I had to find a way for our members to identify themselves.  Beyond that I was left with a bit of a dilemma, I now worked full time at the Business Development Bank as an account manager.  I didn’t have the finances to hire someone and GetintheLoop was not at the point to be my only means of income.

The Start

November 27th, 2012 Posted by BUSINESS No Comment yet

During the next few months I will write about the progress of GetintheLoop’s new website and the program we will offer our members and business partners. I will also touch on some key lessons learned and share my career dreams from time to time. I will first start by discussing the past and how this journey all started.

On March 25, 2011 I returned home from playing my first season of “professional” hockey in Europe.  It was after this year of enjoying Belgium beer, travelling and having some fun at the rink that I realized I was ready to start a working career.  Like many people my age I was left with few options. I could move to a big city, or try and win the Kelowna lottery for a career role.  My goal has always been to work for my self, but I didn’t think it would start until I was much older.

It all started when I learned about twitter and was intrigued by its unique instant ability to relay a message to the masses. I thought this would be great for businesses to take advantage of but I wondered how that could be a business for me? It couldn’t. Within that same week I took an interview to become a text message marketing sales consultant. During the interview I learned the value in text marketing and the unique ability to link businesses with their local market.

I now thought, I have a plan, I will create a website and database that gets offered exclusive time sensitive discounts and I will charge members to be in that database. Just like that, GetintheLoop was born. Originally the idea was to offer an Entertainment membership and a Golf membership.  After running all around town meeting with who ever would hear me for 1 minute I had aligned some great partnerships.  The key to gaining these early business partners was, I had to pitch the idea in person, if I got to sit down and gauge my audience I was successful. The few telephone pitch opportunities I had, were instant shut downs. Although discouraged many times I focused on the wins and quickly tried to forget the unsuccessful meetings. I soon after realized I was a one man show and had a lot to learn.  I scaled back the concept, and the website launched focusing on golf alone.

After a few weeks of hard work GetintheLoop launched in late April of 2011. I can still remember 4 hours after launch I had my first paying member! This was a super exciting moment but also nerve racking. My first thoughts were YESSSS it’s working, quickly followed by the immediate doubt of uh oh, I now have a customer, and I have to be sure they love my product every single day!

My partner courses started to enjoy the communication avenue, giving them an opportunity to make an offering to their local clients.

The members loved the service – it was affordable and included a 2 for 1 to The Harvest, a no-brainer for any golfer. My partners (Golf Courses) were all very supportive and valued supporting the local golf community, they all were very quick to support the concept and me. Without them, I had nothing but an idea.

During my first year membership grew steadily and the company enjoyed some nice milestones. We added more partner courses, and sold out the first ever Golf Loop night at The Harvest. The Loop night included some great prizes, drinks, and of course, it was a fantastic deal.

Feedback was positive from both the member and partner side and for the first time I realized this is what I want to do – I want to take the chance, I want to work for myself!