All business innovations come from a bright idea or eureka moment. I would like to tell you my entrepreneurial story of how I came to develop our Christmas ecards business. Before I get to the meat of our ecards story I think that it’s important to provide a bit of background about me and my entrepreneurial brain.
I have always been fascinated by entrepreneurism. I am by no means materialistic but success is a key motivator. As a 12 year old I launched my first business washing cars in my local village. OK it was hardly a business worthy of notifying the tax office but I was already learning solid lessons about pricing, quality service and profitability. My academic career subsequently prospered in business related subject matter. I couldn’t motivate myself to learn periodic tables but had a genuine interest in the marketing mix. I am a huge believer in teenagers choosing to study subjects that interests them and success will follow their enjoyment. After graduating university with a business related degree (accounting – snooze) this is really the point when my entrepreneurial brain cells got to work. Entrepreneurs don’t have a gift to consistently successfully launching new business ideas they are just people who have ideas and are willing to ‘have a go’ but sadly not everyone is rewarded for their bravery to face up to the risks ahead. In my humble opinion no entrepreneur really fails.
Many entrepreneurs like myself are consistently thinking of ideas. I am very content with what I have got but it’s just who I am – a problem solver, a passion to make a product that appeals. Prior to launching eCO2 Greetings I had many business ideas that I came up with, went as far as writing business plans but then quite often found a good reason not to proceed. I am always amused by the Simpsons episode when homer turned to inventing such ideas as a pump action make up gun.
There is no such thing as a bad idea when brain storming products or business ideas, it can take a thousand ideas to hit a good one. Some of my ideas included:
1. Software to place household objects into a photograph of your home to allow you to envisage exactly how it would look.
2. Betting website to guarantee the best odds on the market – I needed $100m for this one.
3. Website to rate tradesmen
I am proud of all of my ideas and find it fascinating to see the diversity of what I come up with. eCO2 Greetings was actually born on the eve of my first child being born – as if I needed another thing in my life to challenge me. My wife and I had received a Christmas ecard from a family member which was a picture drawn by Microsoft Paint of their 3 family members and a message to state “This Christmas we chose not to send paper cards but donate the money saved to Oxfam”. What an inspirational thing to do. At the time I didn’t have much knowledge of ecards but this wonderful gesture delivered with clever simplicity triggered my entrepreneurial brain cells to start falling over themselves. My first port of call was to see if there are charity ecard websites – yes there were. We’re there any websites that offer personal ecards – yes, thousands of them but not very good ones. Personal ecards are typically free so I couldn’t see an obvious revenue model. Eureka moment – are there websites offering ecards for business? – yes but not many and not what I believed to be of good quality.
So that was the starting point of our epic journey to invent an e Christmas cards for business solution. With the solution went our idea to add an eco friendly feature to plant 10 trees with our ecards. The product was inspired by a simple ecard and despite our corporate ecards being much more impressive they retain the same simplicity in the creation process and deliver a simple and effective message to end users.