Today we’re announcing Project Reach, a part-social, part-blog, part-documentary, part-Kickstarter-style, journey of prototype testing and product development.
More Time and More Money
Project Reach is all about working with you, our customers, to build a new generation of small business communication tools designed to give you more time and more money to help your business succeed. Together, over the coming months, we’ll develop ideas, features, tests, prototypes, betas, and eventually an upgraded tier of service, that we’ll call Sideline Pro, which will help small business people like you save time, provide better customer service, and grow their businesses.
Why Are We Doing This?
At Sideline, we love talking to customers and looking at data to learn how we can improve our service. As part of Sideline’s recent website redesign, we went all over the country to interview and film our customers. During that project, we got inspired. We spent a day with each customer’s business. We talked about their lives, their companies, and their dreams for the future. We asked questions and got to know what problems their businesses faced. Then we started to understand what Sideline could do to help.
Solving a Common Problem
One key insight came from Taylor, the first customer we met. Taylor operated an on-demand barber shop out of a beautifully renovated truck. (Think food truck, not pick-up truck.) She made one thing crystal clear: small business owners and solopreneurs are busy. And as obvious as it seems, every customer we met faced the same villain: time. Many were even using Sideline in ways we didn’t expect or intend, all to help them save time.
We looked at the data. We learned calls to these businesses went unanswered 60% of the time (if not more). At no fault of their own, the lack of time in the day meant the majority of potential customers got left hanging—all because working with current customers makes it difficult to secure new ones. And when major tasks like answering lead calls aren’t being completed, that means small tasks like taking notes about a customer or sending follow-up messages, certainly aren’t either.
Once we realized that small business owners’ biggest nemesis is time, we set our sights on solving that problem by simplifying and automating the repetitive, time-consuming tasks that often take up so much time. In doing so, we believe we will be able to help small businesses, in turn, make more money.
When you run a small business, whatever the industry, the saying, “time is money,” isn’t a cliché. Every missed call can be money lost. And every productive minute can be money earned. So a major goal for us is to give you more time back in your day. We’re working on features that automate and simplify repetitive, time-consuming tasks like adding new contacts or sending follow-up texts with store hours and address (more on that later).
Provide Better Customer Service
With more time, you can provide even better customer service. When you can provide better service, you’ll make more money. It’s as simple as that. As the Small Business Association says, “Great customer service is your biggest differentiator.” With tools that automate and simplify customer service tasks such as sending customers reminder texts about their upcoming needs, and much more, you’ll be able to actually provide the level of service that will set you apart.
Grow Your Business
We want Sideline to work so well you actually need to open the app less and simultaneously increase your revenue. How? By using the information that’s already in your phone to get you more repeat business through automation tools that work in the background to (also more on that later). If we can help you get more repeat customers (without any extra work on your part), it can be transformative for your bottom line.
For a real estate agent, one additional house sold can be over $10,000 in revenue. For a hair stylist, getting repeat business can mean the stability of month-to-month income. According to the book Marketing Metrics, existing clients convert 60% – 70% better compared to new prospects. Bain and Company say that boosting retention by 5% can raise profits by 75%. To us, helping any small business owner achieve their idea of success is a worthy undertaking.
About the Sideline Pro Beta
We hope you’ll follow along throughout our Project Reach development journey or even contribute your thoughts, ideas, and help us build a product that solves your problems. What’s in it for you? We predict you’ll get more new and repeat customers. With more customers, we predict you’ll be more successful. Sign up below to help prove these theories right.
The beta version of these new tools will only be available on iOS initially. But don’t worry Android users, we’re working on developing this for you also and we’ll keep you updated on our progress. The new features will be free to test out while they are still in beta. Once we’ve perfected the product, we will offer them as a premium tier of service within the Sideline app, at which point you’ll be asked if you would like to choose to upgrade to keep using the new features.