What should be the strategy for an internet based startup considering all its limitations like less capital, less resources etc?
We started working in an internet based start up with limited capital and resources. The thought behind initiating this work is to create a platform providing clarity to our customer in selecting the best construction professional present in market. In these type of businesses where you don’t find any MRP tag on the services architects, engineers and designers are offering, some common concerns that makes customer confused and uncertain. ----What is best deal for getting the job done? ----Who are the best Professional for your work? ----How much will it cost to hire them? In process customer end up with consulting n number of architects, constructional professionals/firms and fed-up in negotiating so as to reach to a optimum cost. BidArch targets this area by providing the online platform where one can easily connect to them all at one place and at the quickest time. So BidArch isAn online website/web application for all those who are planning to build their home or any other construction project. It is ready to launch now however marketing strategy to invite professionals and general public is our major concern as we have capital left with us. We require your suggest on, how to go for it from here?How can we allure our customers to come use our services? How to make impact on market?
Rajeev, let me try to reframe your questions and comments in terms of a strategic model I often use called "The Bigger Game". It is a nine square model - like a tic tac toe board, and you can see it here. http://www.biggergame.com/about/
What I hear you saying is that you have a "hunger" to provide clarity to customers that are looking for construction professionals (such as architects, engineers, builders? residential or commercial?). You assume that your target market (people or businesses that need construction professionals - presumably bc they are going to design or build something - residential or commercial) are looking for (hunger) simple, firm pricing so that they can get "the best deal". You have invested (investment square) and created a web platform to fill this perceived market hunger. In order for this service to be available to your customers, you need architects and other design professionals to be your "allies" and use this platform to submit bids against other architects in order to enable your customers to get the best price.
A few questions... to "Assess" your current "game play"...
1. What are the real "hungers" that will make this platform compelling to your customers/prospects? Low price, and easy access to multiple bids are the "hungers" that you have identified. What else matters greatly to them in selecting a professional architect or designer? If you know your market well, you can ask yourself what do they want "more of" ? What do they want "less of"? And what must stop in their opinion ("no, not that")?
2. Turn this around and ask what the architects and design professionals are hungry for? What do they want more of? Less of? And what "must stop"?
3. What do you personally yearn for in this marketplace? What compelled you (OTHER THAN money/fees - that's an outcome, not a hunger) to launch this internet start-up? What is the compelling purpose for launching this website? What will be better in the world if it exists - for the industry as a whole? What's the game you are playing - beyond the "profit" game?
4. When you compare your personal hunger with the customer/market hunger, with the services professionals' hunger - where is the intersection - where everyone actually wants the same thing? Does everyone want a cleaner more efficient way to contract business that protects against people that "don't deliver" or "don't pay"? What's the 'bigger game" here that will get all the players aligned to work together on this - in a new way? It has to resonate strongly with ALL players in order for it to be viable and "sustainable" in the long term.
5. Once you've got real clarity and confidence that your "bigger game" will resonate, consider what makes it more compelling than Angie's List? Craig's List? Your neighbor's personal experience and referral? Is it going to be compelling enough? How could you make it MORE compelling? What investment would be required? What other "bold action"? (e.g. partner with Angie's List - that would be an example of both a "Gulp" and a "Bold Action").
I hope this is helpful to you!
Hello Rajeev. Starting up any business can be daunting, however, it sounds as though you have most of the bases covered.
BidArch appears to be very similar in concept to the transportation/trucking industries "Load Board" concept. I started a company called Freight Access which took the limited ability of a load board to far greater value for the stakeholders.
Look at several trucking load boards to see their interface to see a much more robust enterprise and rating system than you currently show on BidArch. Load Boards generate revenue from Advertising as well as brokerage splits, referral fees or even membership fees.
Additional marketing suggestions would include membership in Architect/Engineer/Designer forums, associations and local chapters to gain visibility and trust.
What additional value can you offer other than a snapshot of the limited profile you have generated in your lists. For example, can you: Add a ranking element, a social element like this forum where they could establish relationship and value with one another.
One additional element depending on your revenue model would be to attract affiliates who already have relationships that may be much easier to coordinate and mange within BidArch.
I sincerely hope this helped and I apologize if I created more questions than answers. Best of luck with BidArch, very nice concept. Let me know how it is going and if I may be of further service.
Study "Lean Startup" philosophy. Start here:
Hello Rajeev, looks like you are in the consulting business. The answers to the question of what, who and how might need to be answered on a case to case basis that you face.
Got a few suggestions:
1) Since you already have a pool of people. Would make sense to showcase what all project he/she has done in the past. As picture speak louder than words. Classify these projects like commercial / residential properties etc...
2) Grade the people who are in the pool. The helps to create a tariff card for your end customers. In the consulting business, it is not one persons contribution but a combination of all. Encourage others in your team also other professional to contribute. If possible reward them as well. A well oiled engine with fuel to run is a smooth engine.
3) Location based marketing. Ideally in India there are specific location that have a specific type of construction and the local engineers are the best suited for them. The business approach may be on an international scale, but the selling always happens at a local level.
4) Most of the project in India start of with a loan. If there is a possibility to advertise there, it would help. But this needs to be pull based marketing. I mean, if the banker recommends you it might ring the bell for sure.
Hope these are useful also Best of Luck.
You "might" want to find some one who will do social media integration maybe offer them some shares.If you find the right person they might be able to offer their services for future equity participation like pay-equity. Otherwise you want a quick start today and heading down the wrong path might cost you more than the fees if you decide to go it alone.
You write a lot about your "solution" and much less so about your customer. With limited resources, I'd really focus in on the customer that you desire. Write a use case and a personna for that target customer. Find ways to test your assumptions about that customer.
As an example, I built a brand new home less than 2 years ago in a gated community. Would I have been a customer for you? What is the value proposition that you would have offered me?
Hey guys. Very interesting concept. We are finding more and more that the "marketplace" approach to services creates a more even playing field, especially when it comes to creating a platform for leveling a local playing field and providing a better and more streamlined search platform.
What I would do is think about the best way to develop the platform to be so user friendly, that service providers and consumers absolutely love it. This will increase shareability (free marketing). Invest your limited dollars here and make sure you work with a developer/company that creates the functionality on a platform that is both open source, and scalable. I recommend WordPress.
Next, contact local people shopping for the service providers you hope to attract as users and ask them what they want. Take their feedback and mix that with some already tried and true platforms like peopleperhour.com and odesk.com. Obviously with yours just hitting the ground, you wont have such a complex system, but you can take their feedback and build a foundation platform.
After this is built, get in front of some service providers. Let them know that generating new leads is hard and you have created an easier way to connect with potential clients. You want them to use it and provide feedback. Find out what will make their life easier. Now you have consumers and providers on the same platform.
Try to think hyper-local first. Don't try to conquer the world in one go. Connect with the local community and create buzz around your product in both user arenas. search across craigslist, facebook, twitter for keywords to identify potential providers and consumers. Just send them a friendly not about what the company is all about and how they could benefit. Keep it as a "by the way" message so you don't come across as a salesman. At this point you are just trying to get automated traffic, not necessarily SELL the product. Nurture the buzz and awareness of your product until it starts to gain some traction.
At this point you can look at implementing new features and possibly playing with a pricing strategy. Who will you charge? There are multiple ways to play the pricing and charging game. Getting it just right is the key.
Hope all this helps. Good luck.
Doing this requires a lot of strategies depending on the people involved. We would love to work for you. Walter
Well you have started a service for which I or general public wont be searching as people will search for architects or interior desigers. So you have to create a buzz in regard to this. Use social media sites like Facebook and Google PLus to create awarness about your service. Use Adwords.
Regarding getting Architects and Interior Designers on board, do cold calling followed by email to register.
For a website like yours will take time as you will need both engineers, interiror designers and archtiects on board and at the same time the general people asking for rates and posting their job details.
Before launching get good number of Engineers and ID and Arch enrolled on your website and assure them regarding your marketing strategies of your website so that they will enroll.
After launching visit websites where people look for search services like blogs and forums. Apart from this I would suggest you to focus on 4-5 cities at a time and then expand.
Hope this helps.
Ok here are 10 questions you should ask yourself:
Hope it helps.
Make it a great day!
Fewer resources are a problem. Follow through may be more important than pricing. Offer exceptional service. Look at the Nine P's of Marketing (http://nineps.com) and offer a better product/overall services. Faster services. More support. Better Pricing. More partnerships and alliances. Better presentation. If you have less capital you need to really execute. Could limit reach. Good luck. Trying to help.
The interesting thing about strategy is that there is no one "best way" to do anything. I've consulted on strategy with organizations on 3 continents, and I find that strategy creation is best accomplished using your internal team. Start with your vision, then values, then your action plan. If all of your team is completely "bought in" and fully aligned on your strategy, you will likely succeed. According to Michael Porter, arguable the world's leading expert on strategy, a poorly designed strategy that everyone believes in will be successfully executed much more frequently than an awesome strategy that not all of your team agrees with. So gather your team together, hash out everyone's best ideas, find the ones that make the most sense, and then go for it. If you are all rowing in the same direction and are completely committed to each other, you will succeed. And don't be afraid to pivot if the market demands. Just make sure your entire team agrees before you make a huge shift.
Job post & bid systems are not new. They are also challenging when the jobs include considerable definition and complexity - in other words - RISK.
In the US, people either leave much of the recommendations and coordination to general contractors or full service architectural firms.
What is unclear from you website is what "extra" you bring to the table for the people looking for bids/contractors.
This sounds like a really good idea and because it does, it will strike others the very same way. The first thing I would do is invite customers to check out how easy it is to navigate your forms. Then I would invite contractors to investigate the number of people looking for their services. It might be best to have them sign some sort of agreement that they will not circumvent your company and go directly with the customers they find there. It may also be advisable to let the customers know that they have an avenue for complaint if the contractors does not perform as expected and prices does not stay reasonable.
These are big and complex questions that tell me one thing. You need one or more experienced advisers or mentors with gray hair on your team. That person will save you research, time stress and likely give you a fighting chance in the brutal world of start-up market entry. Your idea is sound and simply put is "AngiesList for DIY Home Builders". There are complicated issues here and some will need trial and error and some iteration - like reaching local critical mass. Most web companies reach critical mass nationally or world-wide because they can instantly service all areas. You will need a marketing strategy to get over that hump in local markets. Building the application without this already known is a mistake but correctable. The technology is not that tuff. Cracking the marketing and sales formula will be the major challenge. If you do not have a strong marketing person with online experience you need one. Problem is if you are a technical founder you will never know a good one when you see one. Another red flag to get a mentor. I know it is self-serving because I am one, however, I would also recommend the CEO Boot Camp DVD course at www.StartupPlanet.com. You clearly need the big picture, vision and business model design tools it has. It is available at Amazon.com too.
For BIDARCH, but this is basically the same model for a start up with no customer and no cash flow. First, I would recommend you to make a precise list of potential type of customers interested by your platform.
Secondly, you must defined the regions you are ready to serve. Start local then get abroad. When you have the type of customer list, get the address and name of contact. (Bank, insurance, architect, builder, etc....).
After that, think about the simplest and cheapest way to contact them personally. Those guys know the market and talk. You must convince them first.
Start by the institutional, then up to the individual one.
Next, think about how to contact them globally by type of client, i.e. fair, show rooms, add, youtube…etc…Don’t spend money in advertise campaign before your get your first client. Then, once you have a base of client, you will be able to communicate on fact you have accomplished.
Rajeev - It's very important that you get your business modal designed and tested on paper before you spend any money. People have a tendency to over spend during the design phase and by the time they are ready to go live they don't have anything left.
We have recently launched an online business. My advice to you is that you should do as much as possible on your own to really understand your business. Next step is to outsource what can be outsourced.
The third thing join a platform that can give you wings to go global. Check out my website and communicate with them for ideas.
Sell and market like crazy. Make social media your best friend and use it until it screams Uncle!
Best wishes for your new venture BidArch. From your description and your website it’s clear that you are connecting professionals with potential employers. Let me highlight some points from the website end first. Your website has a lot of content in your homepage.
I would suggest you to crisp the content and showcase the major benefit of using your website. I would also suggest you to create videos for your concept. Video gives more conversion then text marketing materials. You can use websites like Fiverr to create a video for your idea.
What is the USP of your website and business? What is the additional thing you are offering to your users (both employers and professionals)? Why should a professional sign in your website? Why should an employer sign in your website? You need to find the answers to these questions first and then market your website.
Adding to what other professionals have expertly suggested, Wwat I would suggest to start with is to focus target market. Dig you database for those who are really looking forward to access such services. There might be many of them visiting your site through search engines, but others who could be potential customers/visitors should get a pop-up box showing BidArch existence. Your potential customers could be those filed for loan grants, purchased sites and plots, new approvals sanctioned by the government for welfare constructions etc. Imperative to repeat the saying, that it would matter a lot what benefit is your site offering to these visitors on customized needs basis. you have to make role-plays, for institutional and individual buyers, so that questions can come up to create more user-friendly web offerings.