Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Christy Laurence, founder of Instagram money-making app Plann.
In 128 words or less, explain your business or idea.
Plann is an app that currently helps over 35,000 people around the world grow their Instagram.
There are so many talented people who needed help when it came to selling themselves, or their businesses online, and I felt Instagram was the perfect place I could start to make a difference.
Using beautifully simple design, Plann helps people understand Instagram strategy and gives them all the tools to make the best decisions to grow their business, and create content in seconds.
Features inside Plann include an innovative Drag & Drop gallery to visually curate an Instagram feed in seconds, professional Image Editing filters, hashtag management and Instagram Analytics (for you AND competitors!) that can tell you your best time to post AND top rated colour schemes.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Financially I have bootstrapped Plann the whole way, so all of my marketing strategies have been very scrappy and focused directly on the end users, with the aim of creating a ‘ground swell’ approach.
My pre-launch marketing efforts welcomed 1000 paying users within the first week which helped me finance my next development sprint and invest in professional imagery to really position my branding.
Originally the app was a ‘once-off purchase’ and was able to entice the early adaptors and innovators (who understand the crazy amount of value they were getting) which helped me finance ongoing development. Once I started to move into the ‘early minority’ stage of users, I changed the business model to monthly revenue to create a stronger business that can now sustain itself.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
When you’re bootstrapping I’ve learned money becomes a lot more valuable, every time you take out the credit card you’re thinking about the ROI on every single cent!
The biggest challenge is testing and optimising where to invest limited money, smoke test everything, then double down on what’s bringing in revenue, not downloads.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
The level of product design, thoughtfulness of features, and user experience sets Plann apart from any other Instagram Scheduler on the market.
With 4 International awards within 6 months of launching, it’s not going unnoticed.
I spend a painstaking amount of time speaking to users, Instagrammers and understanding their exact pain insights and use my industrial design skills to solve it in a very beautifully simple way. Every feature is well thought out and there’s not one thing that has been crammed in just so we could say we have 1000 more features than others.
Additionally, there are many scheduling tools on the market who just provide a tool, but none of them teach the Social Media Strategy of what and how they’re meant to be using it to really grow a business.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
Haha! Plann and Instagram, obviously!
I've got some other loves that I use daily for speaking to my team and for productivity (e.g. Slack, Trello,) but Plann is my baby.
As an avid iPhone Photographer, a few months ago I would have mentioned one of the 10+ image editing tools I had stored, but it allowed me to learn what I loved and didn’t love and then build it into Plann, it really is becoming a one-stop-shop!
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
The secret to reaching your goal is what you do inside your daily habits. Align what you do every single day to your goal, and you’ll always reach it.
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