Often times, innovation is about taking an existing product or idea and tweaking it, or improving it. It’s how technology advances, and it’s how we, as human beings, evolve.
Today’s guest, Herby Fabius, is the co-founder of Triplefy, an online service that allows businesses to sell their own “deals” (similar to Groupon) without the substantial cost and potential inconvenience having to go through a third-party company. The basic idea behind the “deal” or discount isn’t original – and it wasn’t original when Groupon or Living Social created their businesses. But the way the idea is implemented – that’s different – and it’s where a business like Triplefy can innovate.
In this interview, Herby talks briefly about the success and failure he’s faced, but he also goes more in depth on the lessons learned from starting and growing Triplefy. Hint: They’re universal, and can probably be applied to any new business.
Check it out and see for yourself.
Herby, I understand that you’re a co-founder of Triplefy (an online solution for businesses who want to sells deals, gift cards, and tickets without going through third-party sites like Groupon/Living Social). Taking a look through the site, it seems like a really cool business idea.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey. What is your background like? How did you get involved with starting Triplefy, and what are your primary responsibilities?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I was afraid to fail. I just didn’t know how or where to start. After college, not being able to find a job right away, I thought this was the best time to start and run my own start-up. So I started researching online. From that I learned that everything kind of revolves around building a community. Not having any technical backgrounds, I did the only thing that I could – I started a blog (BillionSuccess.com)
This blog became my vehicle to learn and connect with other successful entrepreneurs. I started interviewing entrepreneurs and fell in love with it. Since then I’ve connect with some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs around today.
At the same time, I was really involved in my local startup community in New Haven, CT where I met my partner Mike Morris, a successful software programmer turned entrepreneur. We connected at a start-up event (Launch Haven), he told me about the concept for Triplefy, and I knew I had to be part of it.
I recently shared my story with Sushant on TrepTalks – you can learn more about me there.
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) with your online business? How is Triplefy doing so far?
For my start-up blog, my greatest successes are definitely meeting and connecting with successful entrepreneurs. Making friends with some of today’s top influencers, learning from their stories, as well as getting the opportunity to share my own are all very small WINS that I work for.
Triplefy is still in the early growing stages. We’ve had some big name users and a few high five moments to celebrate. But anytime we get a new user we consider that a success. So far, we’ve spent very little on advertising and marketing, so most of our users have been through organic Google searches, cold calls, and emails.
Every successful entrepreneur encounters some kind of failure along the way. What was your biggest failure leading up to where you are today, and what did you learn from it?
I’ve made a lot bad business decisions and had a lot of setbacks, but just like any other persistent entrepreneur will tell you, there is no such thing as failure – only setbacks. Failures are just experiences. You will have SETBACKS! There is no way around it.
I can tell you all the mistakes that I’ve made but it still wouldn’t make any difference. Just because something worked for me or didn’t, doesn’t mean you’ll have the same result.
My advice: Just start something. Start failing today because there is a lot to learn.
Seeing that you are involved with marketing and customer development, I have to ask: What have been your strategies for “getting the word out” about Triplefy and bringing in traffic? What’s been the most effective so far?
Right now we’re not getting a lot of traffic, but the ones that we do get are very much targeted. Like any other businesses we use social media, and content marketing to grow our brand. So far, it’s been easier to get new users by focusing on our competitors’ customers. We approach them and share our solution to their problem, and then we’ll go from there.
Here’s something to keep in mind is: getting new customers is great, but if you’re also losing old customers then you’re wasting your time. You first have to figure out how to keep the one you have before focusing on getting new ones.
I’m interested in how you get new users by focusing on competitors’ customers. How do you find them and approach them?
Anytime you’re selling an online tool/service, there’s a bit of a learning curve for the customer. We learned early on that businesses who have use similar services are easier to approach and they’re more likely to understand it.
I started out by targeting businesses who used Groupon and LivingSocial and reached out to them (cold emails). This tactic wasn’t as successful as we thought it was going to be, but it was easier on us not having to educate each user.
Now that we’re focused on a niche market, we realized that people who sign up organically through Google searches are 10 times more likely to stay with us than those of a sales call or email. So we’re focusing a bit more on growing traffic that way.
What are 2-3 of the most important things you learned when starting up Triplefy? Or, in other words: What advice do you have for someone who has an idea and is just getting started turning it into an online business?
If you’re just getting started, keep these three things in mind:
First: Your idea means nothing. We all have ideas, I personally have a million of them, most of which I forgot and just blew off. You should really be focusing on building the right team. Finding an idea is the easy part. However, finding the right partner and getting people interested in your vision is of most important.
Second: When you do have a product, launch as soon as you can. Don’t wait to let the world know about what you’ve been working on. When you do launch, the next step is to listen and make improvements as you go.
Third: DO NOT lower your prices in hopes that it will get you more customers. If people find your products helpful and you’re solving problems, they will pay for it. So again… don’t lower prices; simply find ways to ADD more value. (Speaking from experience)
Looking generally at becoming an entrepreneur: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Start something. Differentiate yourself and most of all don’t worry about others’ opinions. [Click here to tweet this]
What are your favorite online resources?
I am currently using Hootsuite to satisfy all my social media needs. I love it. It seems to be getting better and better with every new feature.
I use also Podio project management software to stay on top of all outstanding projects, and work closely with my partners.
And last but not least, Fiverr to complete other tasks.
Finally, where can people find you online?
I am always up to connect with entrepreneurs so please feel free to add or connect with me on:
Thanks for your time today, Herby!
What are your thoughts about this interview with Herby? Leave a comment below!
(Also, if you enjoyed this interview, like us on Facebook, and stay in touch with every new interview we publish. Thanks! 🙂 )