Catching up for a few mins
How did the 9/26 deliverables go?
- All good and delivered
Feedback we’ve received so far:
- From Amy and Becca:
- “This is basically a final deliverable”
- Treat the first draft like it’s close to final – easier to make tweaks
- Data visualizations – there’s more we can do with the data we have in terms of visualizing it
- From Becca – as an investor, what’s your long-term plan? What are the trends for the next 10-15 years?
- Think beyond the trends right now and make predictions for the future
- The bridge between millennials and Gen Z?
- Is Gen Z part of long-term plan, or part of current trend?
- What are the trends of human behavior for the future, rather than just a specific demographic?
Debbie is challenging the 10-15 years remark. Look 3-5 years ahead, we can start there. Anything further than that – there’s no point. We don’t want to look more than 6 years ahead from the POV of an investor. Is the goal to be acquired, or that you will acquire others?
- We’ve had talks about an exit strategy
- Is it niche, or is it not niche? (i.e., do we partner with Etsy, or Amazon?)
- From Debbie, niche is easier. There’s an opportunity to build something more custom. Going mass, you’re talking tech that you need to scale really quickly and you’ll need a lot of salespeople.
- Go niche initially. Could be picked up in social channels and get people excited.
- Mass = ton of money (millions to get off the ground)
- Dealing with a smaller audience gives more opportunity to take off
If you put a pitch together, investors want to know what your out is:
- Who do you want to be bought out by?
- Here’s our 3-5 year plan, we’d be acquired by Hallmark (or whoever)
- OR – we want to become Hallmark of digital. Therefore, here’s our plan.
Feedback from Kim and Greg:
- “OMG I need this”
- Dove into her own use case, a sort of script about why she needs this product
- Constructive feedback: wanted to understand 1.) how the gifting element would work? And 2.) how we will make money?
- Gifting – a later feature
- Our revenue stream/model – TBD
- From Debbie: you always have a road map, you launch with a MVP (minimum viable product) with a road map of the next 3 years that showcases the final outcome
- Viable – people have to want to buy it
- Continual roadmap – building out features along the way
Are you building from scratch or are you customizing something that exists?
- Is there tech (APIs, other tech) that you can build off of?
- If you’re going to build something that combines a lot of apps or API or tech?
- If so, you have to manage support for all those apps/software
- What happens if Calendly goes out of business?
- What is the foundation?
- We’re positioned B2C, with the possibility of B2B as part of the roadmap
- Competitors who are B2B focused pigeon-holed themselves into that space
- How do we make it all about the experience and benefit and ensure our position/brand doesn’t look to business or too corporate, or too opposite?
- From Debbie: if you have good branding, it doesn’t matter. B2B and B2C can be synergetic
- Include a placeholder for B2B in your presentation as something to come in the future
Any additional questions or thoughts from Debbie?
- Understand more of the revenue stream/model?
- Tier system, a free membership that gets you in the door and two other tiers that get you additional features based on the level of membership
- Bouncing idea of ad space around or other promotional things
- From Debbie:
- Free is NEVER good
- Most companies out there in this space – might have a free trial
- Investor would ask how are you converting those free people?
- From Joel:
- Free for someone to use the platform but they still have to pay for the card itself. Not subscribed, but can do one-off sends. But won’t have the ability to leverage calendar integration, inscribe tech, etc.
- From Debbie:
- Caution: one offs vs. subscriptions vs. tiers,
- don’t have one-offs
- Explore it more before you decide, it could be complicated from a back-end cart
- From Joel: should we only do subscription then?
- Debbie: offer specific cards for free (like 3 options a month), limited number of creative pieces. From there and you want more and explore more, they can get more options if they’re subscribing. Paperless post, you’re paying for delivery instead of the product.
E-cards: If you’re not whitelisted, you may never see the card because it could end up in spam. Look at tech to prevent that.
From Debbie: it’s important to be transparent. Make people understand it’s not free, but promote that they can test it. Content and copy will be important. Need people writing suggestions for your cards, designers to design cards. You’ll need a creative team, operations team, tech team.
Is it vital to include staffing info in pitch deck? It’s important to include where your money is going. Investors will pay for technology and hard goods, but they do not want to pay for your staff. Talk about your tech. Might be ok with hiring developers, not ok with hiring staff.
How much money have you put in yourself? You won’t get a penny for the “time” you put in. You’ll get investors if you talk about putting in $200,000 of your own money or seed money. They’ll take you more seriously.
- Data visualization for where the money’s going/coming from?
From Dan H:
- We’re inventorying cards… what if the cards don’t sell? What can we do to mitigate that?
- From Debbie: Cost of goods – what’s the cost of goods to buy the cards and house the cards? How will you get rid of them?
- Look at how much you’re going to buy up front.
- How much does it cost to buy the cards? House the cards? Ship the cards?
- Don’t buy so much in the beginning. Have a few of each category (think about event perspectives, christenings, bat mitzvahs, etc. vs. thinking of you, get well, etc.
We have data on who’s spending on what (types of sentiments), our procurement strategy could be based on that data. (hint: it’s mostly birthdays)
So, have a lot of inventory for birthdays, and use the data to figure out other events/celebrations
- If you focus on buying paper stock instead of cards, it could be costly because at this point they’re customized
- Could work though, if you want to be more like papyrus and have an initial sampling of beautiful cards.
- Warning: there are so many custom cards.
- You may want to feature artists each month
- Collab with artists, send us your artwork (Instagram promo)
- Could be a custom tier (pricing model)
- For Kim and Greg: content and channel strategy and editorial calendar
- For Becca and Amy: digital analysis, data and process model
- Becca and Amy dig into this one a lot
- Give a good model, this is where people struggle with them
- This is what drives your business, so they’re particular
- “The data doesn’t really indicate we should feature artists, but we want to feature an artist” so you can push back.
- I’ll challenge you – it’s not just data. It’s also creative.
- When marketing oversees creative, they’re looking at it more from a business strategy POV
- When creatives have power, you get a very different result than when they’re under marketing. Marketers are driving from one perspective, creatives are driving from a different perspective. It’s a more iterative approach (having creative aligned with marketing)
- You need people with a business head, but you also want them to go outside the box
- Example: MAC cosmetics was forward thinking. Now, where are they? Innovation back then, 2 guys ran a company differently. They sold to a big company, then it got in the make money grind and innovation went out.
- In momento, if you focus on creative innovation. An aesthetic that’s different. Think outside the box. You might be able to have custom fee or structure.
- People go to Etsy because you can’t find it anywhere else
- Creatives want to be on Etsy
- Etsy has always been trend-setting
- Creative innovation will be key for us to set us apart from other companies
- People like paperless post better than other companies because the envelop opens and the card comes out (which is different than other companies and more exciting) – so how are WE different?
- Have a POV that no one else has
Debbie’s goal: give us other things to think about as we move forward. You want to launch a SUCCESSFUL brand. The POV is the biggest thing. Any investor deck is looking for why they should invest in you. If you’re replicating and bettering, that’s not enough. Something has to pique their interest.
Sometimes you can overbuild. So be careful of not doing that
AWS would put you into a tech stack. Need to find developers. Today, those languages are shifting and changing. Its expensive.
With WordPress, it’s great but its buggy. If it’s not maintained, you have to keep an ey eon it. There are integrations for WP, like Shopify, that we could customize. WordPress with Shopify could be a good option but do research to see
How does AWS integrate with other software?
You can host on nexus or other hosting platforms, but look at those too. If you have a lot of volume, you need to be sure you have the right hosting company.
HubSpot tools can be integrated (all encompassing), might be where we send our cards from.
Based on someone putting something in cart and sending it out. Look at HubSpot and figure out where you collect your customers and how you work with them on the back end?
CRM and Marketing Platforms are expensive, but you should be paying for them. Don’t use free programs.
Salesforce is an alternative to HubSpot, so is Marketo. Zoho, not a Salesforce, not a HubSpot, kind of a middleman.
With HubSpot, you have to hire a company to implement HubSpot. Can work with outside consultants to customize your HubSpot. Maybe build in a good consulting company to your pitch deck.
Can’t just buy software and work with it. You have to buy software and customize it to get the most out of it.
It’s good to consider tried and true platforms, as long as you’re not customizing to the point where they’re not those platforms anymore.
Ellucian suite (ticketing systems to get tech team to work). If go with HubSpot and Shopify you’ll need different things than if you’re building out.
For future, show work in a presentation mode.
Next meeting: usually Mondays at 7pm but Debbie’s not available Oct. 4th. Next meeting at 7pm on October 7th. Share the presentation with Debbie that day.
Send Debbie the deck (even if it’s huge), she wants to edit it. She wants the full deck, not separate decks.