Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi, my name is Daniela Sawyer, and I'm the Founder & Business Development Strategist at Find People Fast. A Saas product helps pull out detailed information about any person, including their social media profiles, public records, address, pictures, property holdings, etc. In simpler words, it is a people search website that requires minimal data about an individual to deliver their accurate profile.
Our customers are from all backgrounds and age groups. Some use Find People Fast to run searches on candidates before hiring; others use it to find their extended lost relatives and friends, track their heritage, conduct a quick background check on dates, and whatnot. Keeping in mind the diversified user base, we have developed the service so that everyone could easily use it. I want the service to deliver the most accurate results with minimum hassle.
To accomplish this objective, we are taking one step at a time, establishing checkpoints after every stage of development, testing services for loopholes, and fixing them at the earliest. Though all of these procedures are time taking, intending to develop the most accurate, high-quality, user-friendly people search platform, the last thing we want to do is cut corners.
Our product is still a work in progress, but after the launch, we have received many positive reviews from our users, which shows that all the efforts and time are worthwhile. After much effort, we were able to cross an estimated revenue of $500,000 per month thanks to our team of 60 employees. This includes both remote and in-office workers. The large team helps in maintaining thousands of customer inquiries we receive every day.
Explain to us what made you start the business. What opportunity did you see?
I have been a regular user of people search platforms. I used to find them so helpful that I would often recommend such services to my friends and family members. But what drove me to start my own company is that one missing piece. There was one thing that I always felt was missing on existing websites was accuracy. One can also dredge out information about a particular person from government agencies, but that process is time-consuming. So I started researching people's search services. By that time, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to develop a product or figure out which one's the best for my use. But one thing for sure, my curiosity made me encounter and inspect all the popular services.
Sometimes ambition overpowers our rationality and being an entrepreneur; it's something we need to control the most.
After going through the pros & cons and jotting down flaws of all the services, I knew that there was a lot of scope of development for such services. I knew that the currently available tools lacked accuracy and I knew how big the market was. All I had to do was crack the perfect cord. After multiple brainstorming sessions, I discussed the idea with my close friends, and gladly, they were highly supportive. Building a network, talking to tech people, and learning the knacks of entrepreneurship took me some more time to realize that I wanted to proceed with this. Once I set my mind, everything started streamlining. It was all more exciting for me because it felt like I was finally putting my bachelor's degree in Business Administration to use.
Starting a business of my own was a big step. I did not want to take any chances. So, I made sure to research the feasibility and marketability of the idea beforehand. Like any other entrepreneur, the capital was an issue, but I believed in the venture's potential and was ready to give it a shot. Moreover, my family has played a very crucial role in helping me pursue the idea. Since I knew they had my back at all times, things were less overwhelming. I started with a small team of 5 employees which slowly grew to 15 and now we currently have around 60 employees working under us.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I launched the product approximately about eight months back. We all know how it is for most startups initially; plus, the pandemic was right over our heads. Well, let's say it was a bumpy start. I did not have enough capital to initiate expensive promotional campaigns and lagged at advertising. Then, my goal was to focus our efforts on customers who are coming in initially, build trust and ensure a steady source of revenue. We also worked to enhance our content marketing and started posting high-quality guest posts on various high-traffic websites. We worked on our website design and improved it in every possible way. Slowly, after 2-3 months we started seeing visitors and our product started to flourish, slowly our demand started rising, and we could secure a stable rate of returns, although it took us 6 months approx to reach positive ROI all of this was worth it.
Since our business functions digitally in its entirety, costs are a little less, and I can manage them with my savings. Now that we have successfully launched our website and built a customer base, I'm able to invest in advertisement campaigns too. What I've learned so far is the importance of networking in business. It opens many gates for new companies and helps in building brand identity sooner.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
First of all, it has to be our user-centric approach. From website design to service development and customer support, we have always prioritized our users' interests. Most startups build an intricate system in the spirit of competition, but the key is enhancing the consumer experience. Secondly, it's the quality of service that we provide. From the very start, I pressured the need for accuracy in our people search platform, and till now, we are working to improve that. When a user meets his requirement using our platform in one go, our goal is fulfilled.
Marketing has landed us significant traffic. Initially, we relied on social media marketing campaigns. Still, now I'm also exploring options like PRs as I have been building a network in the last couple of months. It has helped us in gaining media exposure (like this recent feature) and establishing a distinct brand identity.
Though we started with social media marketing as it is the simplest way to reach people in the current environment, I have found that ads do not always bring the desired results. For a business like ours, which has an assorted customer base, sometimes we don't even know whether our ad campaigns are reaching the right people or not. I have found traditional PR and content circulation methods more fruitful, as it is more detailed and lay out our vision and aims more comprehensively.
Along with all these efforts, I make sure that our potential and existing customers feel connected with our service. Email marketing has helped me in adding a personal touch to the campaigns and retaining customers. Trust me; people love that! I also encourage our users to provide feedback and changes they'd like us to implement in the service. This way, they know that we care about their experiences. I remember very recently a customer came to us and encouraged us to feature his testimonial on the website so that other visitors get to see it and use our services. We were already planning on doing this and as you can see there are quite a few testimonials already featured. We also changed the layout of our website as customers were facing difficulties and we wanted to provide a smooth experience.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Given that we started at a period of uncertainty, we are doing great. Our marketing campaigns have begun attracting many customers, and we have seen a significant traffic upsurge in the last two months. Most of the revenue generated is being used in facilitating promotional efforts, but we are profitable and indeed proceeding in a great direction.
Our next step is to expand our customer base and boost conversion rates. Since I'm testing waters with different marketing methods, it looks like we will be able to gain good visibility in the coming months. We are also planning to develop our website and include advanced features that would benefit our users.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Professionalism is something that has helped me in coming this far. I always try to improve my ways and reflect on previous decisions. One time I proceeded with the idea that wasn't ideal for our business according to the prevailing market circumstances and learned the cruciality of research before taking a step. After that, I have become more cautious about my decisions and tried to gather as much opinion as I can from experienced people to judge the feasibility of an idea. Sometimes ambition overpowers our rationality and being an entrepreneur; it's something we need to control the most.
The digital world also requires us to be abreast with trends. I make sure to leverage every occasion and curate our marketing campaigns accordingly. We must choose our marketing means wisely. What worked for others might not work for us, and most of the time, when you follow the same path, the brand fails to establish its own identity. I have learned that customers today are craving uniqueness. There could be more than one way a business could be distinctive from the existing ones but are we able to bring out the individuality effectively is the question we need to ask ourselves.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Well, currently, I'm using PR tools the most. I also use social media marketing tools to provide me insights into our campaigns. I use digital communication tools like zoom and Microsoft teams for internal business management as we function remotely, and none of this would have been possible without proper communication between team members. I'm a big fan of note-making apps. It helps me record ideas on the go and share them with my team in their original form.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a book I always read. It's a self-improvement book that encourages me to review my past decisions and shift my perceptions to find innovative solutions for complex problems. This book has helped me understand the importance of effective communication, teamwork, collaboration, and being proactive. I recommend it to everyone, not only for people in the business field but for anyone who often finds them questioning their decisions.
I also like to read the biography of famous entrepreneurs who made their way in the competitive business world. Such inspirational stories inspire positivity and remind me that I can achieve beautiful things, no matter how challenging situations get. Other than motivating books, I can read articles, blogs, digests, etc., about the latest technological advancements and blooming tech businesses.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Target one section of the audience at a time. I often see entrepreneurs spending endlessly on advertising campaigns without considering the demands of potential customers. Before going all in, a business needs to establish a strong foothold in its particular niche. It would ensure a steady source of revenue to fuel further processes.
Learn the art of scheduling. When starting a business, one needs to know what has to be done first and what would secure them a rigid base. Indulging in unnecessary meetings, promotional events, etc., will only be successful when you have your product idea executed and future steps well planned. New entrepreneurs need to focus on their products first and not jump steps to be in the race. Lastly, give yourself time. Yes, it could be stressful initially, especially when your efforts are not bringing immediate results. You may have a groundbreaking idea, better than anything else existing, but you must channelize your enthusiasm in the right direction. Build strategies, research your ways, and plan. As Shakespeare has quoted- "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast."
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Since we are looking forward to expanding our social presence, interested candidates can apply for positions like Social media marketer, in-house developer, website developer, etc. To apply you can send your details through this channel.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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