How Do You Keep Buyers and Sellers Inside Your Marketplace?
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Introducing our new podcast, Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer, which features business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side happy, wealthy, and growing. Feifer, Entrepreneur magazine’s editor in chief, pulls these stories out so other business can avoid the same hardships. Listen below.
Here at the magazine, I’m always getting pitched new companies calling themselves “the Uber of” this or that. The Uber of lawn care, the Uber of bespoke suits. And I have to admit, most of the time I’m skeptical that a company like this will survive. That’s because they’re all going to face a problem called “disintermediation” — or what I like to call the Handy Problem. Few of them seem to have a solution.
Handy is like the Uber of house cleaners. You sign up, and it’ll send someone to clean your home. My wife and I used the service a few years ago when we had a baby and no longer had time to clean our apartment ourselves. We were pretty happy with the result. A different cleaner would show up every time, and some were better than others, but they all basically got the job done. And then one day, a cleaner came, did a great job, and, before she left, she handed us her business card and said that if we hired her directly rather than through Handy, she’d give us a better price.
That’s a good business strategy for her, right? After all, when she’s booked through Handy, the company takes a cut of her fee. If she books directly with us, she doesn’t lose that cut and can give us a part of it and still make more money. It’s less expensive for us, and more money for her. And frankly, because we liked her work, we’d like to build a relationship directly with her. In this equation, neither side was incentivized to keep doing business with Handy. We canceled our membership with the company, and have been using this same cleaning woman for years.
Almost every company calling itself the Uber of something will face this problem. These companies are connectors — they create a large pool of people who are offering the same service, then attract customers looking for that service, and just put them together. But how do you stay relevant once the connection is made? How do you be the kind of company people keep wanting to use?
Jaron Gilinsky figured it out. He’s the Jaron founder and CEO of Storyhunter, a platform that connects media companies and giant brands to freelance video producers and journalists in 180 countries. How’d he do it? That’s what this episode of Problem Solvers about.
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