Mark Achler, former EIR at Redbox, graced the stage of the Chase Auditorium at last night’s Technori Pitch to share his secrets to success. Although he kept his tips simple, they are the key to turning Redbox into a local multi-million dollar success story. Here are his five tips:
1.) Have empathy
Achler says it’s important to listen to your customers and recognize that what they say they want is not always what they really want.
He says if they had asked their customers what they wanted from Redbox, they would have told him they wanted every movie ever made. However, Achler developed a better understanding of his customer wants and decided that they may say one thing, but what they really wanted was simplicity.
“I came to realize that if I wanted to be successful, actually the way to achieve the goals that I set out for myself was by listening and having empathy and putting myself in the other person’s shoes,” Achler says.
2.) Be clear, be simple
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pitched by an entrepreneur and they struggle with telling me their business. It is so critically important to keep it simple,” Achler says.
He suggests distilling your business down to the essence of what you do. When pitching Redbox, Achler says he keeps it simple with the proposition of renting videos out for a dollar a night.
3). Time and culture matter
One of the most important parts of a company, Achler says, is the culture.
“Companies that have corporate values and a culture that promotes those values actually deliver better shareholder results,” Achler says. “And I believe that with all of my heart.”
By putting these values in place, he says it helps employees understand why they should go to work every day or give a little extra effort. Achler says the first company he built could have been so much more if he built an environment that people woke up and were excited to go to work each morning.
4.) Customer acquisition counts
“This is everything…” Achler says.
Most entrepreneurs fail because they don’t put enough effort into customer acquisition.
“Do you want to know how to raise money” do you want to know what the secret is,” Achler asks. “It’s customer acquisition and proving that you know how to acquire customers.”
Acher says he was able to schedule a meeting with a company he wanted to work with by sending them a wooden box with a dollar and a note that read: “We bet you a dollar that we can save you millions. Will you please take a meeting with us?”
Achler says actions like this are a bit hoakie, but actually work in the end.
5.) Gain trust
Trust is important, whether it’s from your employees, customers or strategic partners. Achler says it is hard to earn trust, but easy to lose.
While working on Redbox, Achler said they tested two different prices for rentals: $1 or 99 cents. The $1 charge did better in testing than 99 cents. His theory as to why more patrons were willing to spend a penny more on Redbox rentals was because it felt more trustworthy, like there were no hidden costs or fees.
Now on to the night’s pitches:
Ordering products online is easy, but waiting around for your delivery can be a hassle. With WeDeliver you can place an online order from a local brick-and-mortar store, set a delivery time and track your shipment in real time.
WeDeliver Founder and CEO Jimmy Odom says the site allows a faster delivery time than Amazon or online stores.
“We want to give the brick-and-mortar stores a real competitive edge against e-tailers,” Odom said.
MiGym creates mobile applications for fitness companies and brands. Their apps allow club members to lookup class schedules, access their membership card and look for a nearby facility.
“Our app allows you to find convenient locations, find activities that you want to participate in and schedule it into your work life,” says Joe Nedumgottil, Tech Team Lead.
Maybe you lost your keys or a beloved family pet. Do not fret! Crowdfynd is here to save the day.
“Every single person is going to lose something this year that you value, and you’re not going to get a lot of that back,” says Jay Sebben, CEO and co-founder of Corwdfynd.
Crowdfynd allows “heros” to post items that they have found, and others to look for what they lost. In addition, Crowdfynd partners with animal shelters, cab companies, public transit companies, event venues and hotels to find the owners of lost items.
Biz Hive is the Trip Advisor for the small business marketing journey.
“I firmly believe that no business should suffer from marketing, especially small businesses,” says Dave Walker, Bizhive CEO and co-founder.
Walker created Bizhive after watching so many small businesses fail because the owners did not know how to market.
With Bizhive, small businesses can learn about new media marketing services, get advice, watch video tutorials and check price guides for how much they should be paying for marketing services.
Starter School helps aspiring entreprenures by teaching them all of the skills they need to launch their own product or business.
“The point of Starter School is to bring you end to end – not over three months, but over nine months – and teach you all the skills nevessary to code, design and ship a web application and then finally design a company around it to launch it to the world,” says Neal Sales-Griffin, Startup School co-founder.
Starter School is currently accepting applications for its fall session.