Elevator Pitch is a new regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Pip Jamieson from The Loop on the challenges of expansion and why acting like a Weeble Wobble is helpful.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
The Loop is a career networking and portfolio-building site for creative professionals, like a multimedia version of LinkedIn. Creatives can promote themselves online by creating a free online profile; including portfolio, showreel and resume, and gain access to the best full time and freelance jobs across advertising, design, tv, film, animation and more. The aim of the site is to help connect creatives with one another and with industry, with the eventual aim of bagging them that dream collaborator, job or client.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Our business model is highly disruptive to the existing creative industries recruitment market, by disintermediating recruitment agents and widening the creative talent pool. We have a highly engaged community which has allowed us to attract over 7,100 clients — including Google, MTV, the ABC, Animal Logic, Apple and the Sydney Opera House — who use the platform to hire full-time and freelance talent. With limited resources internally we have what we call a Tier 1 strategy, in that our sales, marketing and business development efforts are focused around attracting the top creative talent and leading creative businesses. This includes, for example, partnerships with leading universities (many of which now include The Loop as part of their curriculum), creative events (including VIVID and Tedx) and recruitment service partnerships with the sexiest employers. By focusing limited resources on quality, not quantity, we find word of mouth and viral take up of lower tier creative professionals and business is far greater as they feel they're networking and recruiting from within a high standard of professionals.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
International expansion is The Loop's current biggest challenge. We're now Australia's leading professional networking site for creatives, with over 65 per cent of all creative professionals in the region active users of the platform; 70 per cent of whom return each day. We have a solid business model and an incredible team .Our immediate challenge is to scale to other regions as quickly as possible. To this end we just closed an investment round, with a UK office opening in May 2013.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
The sheer volume of emails I get each day is mind blowing so Mailbox is fast becoming my application of choice. Makes email management soooo much easier!
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Act like a Weeble Wobble in that "Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down"! Start-up life is gruelling with insane highs and insane lows. But when you get knocked down you have to bounce back, because in the end if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!
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