The 48 hour business pt. 2

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

the 48 hr business.  (a weekend diversion from the madness that is Sabi Sushi. )

note, incase you missed it – here’s part I of the 48 hr business mission. For those who don’t want to read the whole thing – here’s a shortcut to the  final product – The Fatband

The rules were set, mission in place – time to get to work. Within minutes ideas were flying.

I don’t know what it is, but if you put Shaan and I in a room together for more than 5 minutes we’ll have about 25 ideas about ideas that we see no flaws in. (I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing).

The first hour was somewhat of a cluster. Half-baked ideas covered our whiteboards, none standing out from the pack. We decided to take a step back and outline exactly what it is we wanted from this project:

1. Play to our strengths – design (Trevor) and sales (Shaan), and ideally using a product or service that we already understand.

2. Automated– the business, once started, should be able to run autonomously or in the hands of 1-2 employees/interns. Creating the product or generating sales leads can’t eat up any significant amount of time once we were passed the 48hr mark.

3. Be Fun – if you need an explanation for this, you’re probably super lame. Leave the blog.

4. Make it Rain (a.k.a Pay Rent) – The goal was simple. This project had to make enough to pay rent each month, anything on top of that was just gravy….but who doesn’t like gravy.

We ran through a few possible ideas, custom designed t-shirts, video slideshows to make virtual house tours better….before we realized we had the idea right on our wrist. Our “DO WHAT YOU DO” bracelets which had garnered so much attention. People had been asking to have/buy them right off our wrists for months, so we’d given over 200 away just for Sabi “marketing” (read,  flirting).

photo courtesy of Mei Ratz

5 reasons Fatbands are great:

1. People want to wear them. (its not merchandise for your business if even your employees hate wearing them)

2. Bang for your buck – you can get them for as low as $0.75 per unit, which is microscopic compared to t-shirts, hats etc…

3. No inventory  – we design all bands on photoshop, and only order the ones people like. Preserves cashflow, minimizes waste.

4. Has the potential to destroy the terrible fad that is sillybandz

Now that we had our product, we got started. Here are the key “lessons learned” from Day 1.

be a user: Since we had just purchased these thick, silicone wristbands for Sabi, we knew what the user buying experience was like. This helped us find the following opportunities:

Naming your business: When we were trying to buy the wristbands, we had no idea how to find them. We’d seen them in the I ❤ Boobies breast cancer campaign, but that was pretty much it. This helped us realize all the keywords people use to search for these (wristband, thick, 1 inch, silicone, livestrong, etc..) and an interesting opportunity. We could create a genericized trademark! Like Kleenex, Jacuzzi, and so many before us, we had a chance to create our brand while simultaneously giving people a generic name for the object! Ergo, Fatbands was born.

draw by hand, re-draw by computer: It took us several tries to get the layout how we wanted it, and most of those were done via photoshop. The advantage to using photoshop is that you can take a sketchy idea and dress it up to look good. The downside is that the building/revising process takes forever. Sketch roughly on paper first, dress it up later*.

*We call this the girlfriend principle. If she looks good when she first wakes up in the morning (whiteboard), then she’s sure as hell going to look good dressed up. If you only see her dressed up (photoshop designs), you might wake-up in the morning next to something you regret.

Side note, Our analogies, while mildly offensive, are undeniably effective, and for every outraged educated female blog reader, we have a male, sitting in his boxers, reading our blog while watching Southpark re-runs. That analogy was for you, you boxer-wearing slob of a man.

Undercut competitors with style, not price: Many of our competitors had better prices, and a vast selections of bands, sizes, styles etc…I’m sure they started with good intentions, but over-time they become bloated as they can’t say no to new products. This is the McDonalds vs. In-n-Out debate. McDonalds has 34 combinations of burgers/sandwiches alone (not to mention salads, meals, dollar menu, kids menu, drinks, McCafe, the notorious Chicken Maharaja Mac in my motherland of India).

Fresh Off the Bun

Meanwhile – In-n-Out challenged McDonalds “burger supremacy” (and won over an army of loyalists) by simplifying and being GREAT at a few things, rather than good at many. We tried to do the same thing to our wristband competitors::

Them:                                                                                              Us




F*&% Website Dev. – To those html and CSS veterans out there, I support you and honor you. In the world of entrepreneurship, our programmers are our troops. I can’t imagine going through what you go through. Dealing with different browser compatibilities, writing php scripts, only hearing complaints, never compliments…things that are so easy for you, were so difficult for me. I’m surprised there’s not a greater number of nerds suffering from PTSD.

ps. How did I do? 

— The Results —

The hour-by-hour breakdown of our activity

48 hours, 10 hrs of sleep, 5 mental breakdowns, 2 customer orders (50th birthday party, and a aspiring photographer promoting her business)…and 1 month’s rent as profit! Things have gone well since we launched, recieving a few more orders from small businesses here in Colorado. We’ve also got a couple of long-shots out there (London 2012 Olympics, Denver Broncos – as seen on the website)
Overall, the pressure of time forced us to learn, adapt, and quickly prioritize what’s important and what’s not.  Try it yourself, pick a weekend, and go for it! And of course, let us know how it goes, and if you need that 1st customer – we’ve felt that pain before and will probably be there with our credit card ready.

Shaan and Trev


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