Archive for March, 2011
For quite some time I racked my brain to try and figure out how I can take advantage of our local market. To this point I have tried:
- Walking into local private practices and introducing myself and providing a discount on their first order with us.
- Walking through hospitals putting up magnets & fliers.
- We will be sponsoring a local (put on by U of Minnesota) fundraising event benefiting the Smile Network in April (I will write more about this in the near future).
- Just general networking and telling people (I sponsor our rec league basketball team).
- Putting us on Google’s local results map.
To this point none of these things have worked, at all (I have high hopes for the fundraiser). But, like everything else we do, none of these things cost very much and if I hadn’t tried them I wouldn’t know. Here is the newest idea.
One of our suppliers also publishes a new “scrubs magazine.” They will sell us as many of these as we want for .01/each and they come out quarterly. The magazine has stories and tips about and for health care professionals. It has had a pretty good response from what I have heard. I have also heard that in a hospital a magazine like this gets into at least 4 sets of hands.
I am going to buy 500 of these things for a grand total of $5.00, then I am going to have stickers with our logo and website made (think the round white stickers that people put everywhere). I am also going to make a bunch of 1/3 page 10% off coupons. I am then going to stick our logo on the front of each magazine (just covering up the UPC code). On the inside cover I am going to use the removable sticky stuff to stick on 3 10% off coupons (It will be obvious each coupon can only be used 1 time/person). I am then going to drop the magazines off at 500 private practices and hospitals to see what happens.
I figure it won’t cost much and who knows, maybe it will work.
I will let you know.
When we laid the original groundwork and design for scrubadoo.com we paid a whopping $1,500. That’s it. At the time it felt like a ton of money. As it turns out, I think we got an amazing deal. The general layout and design of the site has changed very little from the beginning.
Since that time we have spent what currently seems like a ridiculous amount of money on back end development to automate and make the site more user friendly. My largest headache continues to be my inability to find a developer, or development team, that is reasonably priced and knocks things out in a reasonable time-frame. Since our initial development, my experience with programmers has been a series of short-lived free-lancers that work on the site for a month or two and then flake out. I recently upgraded to a larger, much more expensive, company with the hopes that our development needs would be taken care of by them into the foreseeable future. While we still are very much in bootstrapping mode I thought if we could establish a real partnership here it would be very valuable into the future, even if it was more expensive than other options I could have found.
Before I go any further let me say one thing:
1. I trust this new company fully. I truly believe they will do good work and are very honest. This was true before I hired them and holds true today.
While the work they have done actually works (which is more than I can say for some of the previous people I have worked with) I think they are used to working with companies much larger than us that are far less worried about budget. We signed on for two back-end projects which we were quoted at 35-40 hours for. Two weeks later we have 9/10′s of one project done and the other yet to be started and we have been billed for 37 hours of work (keep in mind these hours cost about twice as much as what I am used to paying). (On another note the work they have completed was an update of a system that cost me $500 to build originally…).
That really sucks.
Unfortunately we are not yet printing money here at scrubadoo (although I did take a $1,000 paycheck for the first time ever in January so I could afford to pay my student loans) so it is really difficult to deal with an overage of twice what I have paid myself in the entire first two years of scrubadoo’s existence.
Here are the decisions I need to make/think about:
1. Do I stay with this company and slow down my development process (due to capitol restraints) or do I continue to try the free-lance route.
2. Will we ever get out of the bootstrap mode? This was truly my first foray into what I would consider a solution for an established company. It is expensive. It saves me the headache of worrying about the job being done properly, however now I have a new headache of how am I going to pay them.
3. Should we ever get out of the bootstrap mode? Or is this state of mind something that will always be beneficial to the company.
Anyhow, I received the invoice for the first 37 hours of work at about 5:30 today….what a shitty start to the weekend.