In January 2011 I started a SaaS business called Snip Salon Software which, since its inception, has been a slow outward trickle of money. In the time since January 2011 I’ve gotten a few paying customers but I’m not yet covering hosting costs. I’m really close, but not there yet. According to my calculations I need two more customers to be profitable. (Side note: I at one point told my wife I needed one more to get profitable. As I so often am with so many things, I was wrong about that. It’s two.)
Anyway, I have three customers right now, all of whom are on board because I walked unannounced into their salons and said, “Hey, how about you use Snip.” I’ve spent a lot of time on online marketing and that is going fairly well, but 100% of my customers came from the brute force of canvassing and 0% of them came from online. (This in itself is arguably a problem, but according to Paul Graham my situation is normal and okay at this stage.)
So I know that if I just pound the pavement hard enough, I’ll get customers. I stopped doing canvassing in late 2012 because I wanted to shift to the more scalable method of utilizing online marketing, and I’m glad I did, but the road to online marketing success is longer and harder than I thought it would be. Meanwhile I’m bleeding money, knowing that if I were to just go out and do some sales, I could get more customers. The reason I didn’t do that is because I had one of those stupid things that ruins everything: a job. Luckily for me, my job ended on the last Friday of September (long story) and I’m now untethered and free. I’m planning to devote my first two weeks of self-employment to full-time canvassing.
In reality my first week of self-employment was dedicated to helping take care of my sick son (he’s better now), but that’s okay. I’ll start next week. I know from past experience that I can comfortably visit 10 salons per day, and most salons are closed Mondays, so that’s 4*10 = 40 salons per week, or 80 salons in two weeks. I’ve figured based on my past 3.5% conversion rate that I can reasonably expect to get 80*0.035 = 2.8 customers out of this deal. It’s of course not possible to get 0.8 of a customer, so 2.8 customers really means 2 customers. That’s fine, because that’s exactly how many I need to reach profitability.
I’ll be tweeting/blogging about my progress. Wish me luck!