Startups - The Good, The Bad, The Unpredictable
I recently had a talk with someone close to me that was equal parts enlightening and infuriating. The topic: my job at a startup company. We talked about the current state of the company, about benefits and retirement and what my plans for the future were. After the call, I was angry and sad that someone I respected so much had such little faith in something that I believe in so strongly. After the hurt wore off, I began to realize the conversation didn't start with malicious intent, rather began due to lack of information. I started to wonder how many other people have incorrect views about startup companies - simply because they don't understand them.
I've said it before and I’ll say it again, the startup life is not for the faint of heart. It's also not for people who like consistency or guarantee or routine. Sound scary? It is. But, it's also thrilling and satisfying and a journey like no other.
FlipperSplash is a true startup company. We started with nothing more than an idea and a CEO who would stop at nothing to turn it into a reality. That was almost four years ago and WOW have we been through a lot since then. We started with the name FlipperSmack and a desktop-based application running on WordPress. Fast forward a few years of turmoil and here we are with a new name and a fully functional mobile application that has already exceeded our expectations. Sounds great, right? It is, but just because we have what we wanted, doesn't mean we are instantly successful - in fact, it doesn't even mean we are making any money.
Let me hit you with a couple startup facts and stats real quick ...
- It took Steve Jobs two decades to become a dot-com billionaire. Established in 1976, Apple wasn't even on the map until Macintosh launched in 1984 and then continued to struggle until the introduction of iMac and consumer products in the 1990's.
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin started working on Google in 1996, but didn't go public until 2004. When they finally did go public, it was with a market capitalization of $23 Billion.
- Mark Zuckerberg started "The Facebook" in his college dorm in 2003 and in 2005 showed a net loss of nearly $3.63 Million. Now in 2018? Facebook has over 400 Million users worldwide.
- Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 and didn't project profits until 1999 - 5 years after its start.
Now I know what you're wondering, why on earth does it take so long to get things moving for a startup?! Quite simply, because they are completely new ideas. Things that have not existed before.
FlipperSplash, as with most tech startups, had a goal to create just that - something that didn't exist. For us, it's a mobile app that works as a search engine and management platform for Brands and Influencers to connect and build lasting relationships. It's a freakin' great idea and we know it, the problem is getting everyone else to know it. Our goal is to help small, localized businesses get into the Influencer Marketing game - something they haven't been savvy to before due to its lack of affordability. As you can imagine, we can't quite waltz into a small business and say "Hey ya'll! We have this BRAND NEW product that does something you've probably NEVER done before and we want you to give us money to use it!". Turns out people aren’t super receptive to that form of marketing. So, to recap, we had the idea, then we got the product - the next step is the case studies. For us, these are a crucial part of development.
By definition, a case study is a record of research given to the development of a particular person, group or situation over time. For those of you who don't speak Merriam-Webster, what we mean by case study is a document that shows what our app did for a business. We take businesses in each industry, teach them how to use the app and then record their results. This way, instead of walking into a business with something no one has heard of, we can walk in with real results from real businesses. You can preach all day about what you are capable of, but until you can prove it, let's be real, it doesn't mean much. Building case studies has been great! We get to finally see our app at work and we get to see small businesses that we love watch their business grow through the power of Influencer Marketing! The downside? We work for free while building case studies. All we ask for from case study participants is trust in our ability to make things happen and, soon, that will be what helps us get over that hurdle and become more than just the little engine that could.
So that, my friends, is why FlipperSplash has started with small ripples in a small pond before starting to make waves. We are so grateful for the businesses here in Northeast Florida that have trusted us to help grow their business through Influencer Marketing. What’s next, you ask? It’s time for us to launch in a new city! Our MIAMI launch is in the works and we hope to have some details announced within the next week! Be sure to check out our Events tab and Instagram page for all the details! This is going to be a series of events you don’t want to miss!