Welcome to another edition of the unusual entrepreneur interviews and today we have with us Mike Morris, the founder of Triplefy – an online platform for small business to create and instantly sell Daily Deals and Gift Cards.
Interview Questions Part One
ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Awakening the Spirit of business
1. Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your business? What do you do?, how do you do it?, why do you do it and who do you do it for?
Hi, my name is Mike Morris and I graduated from the University of Rhode Island and the University of Connecticut. I am a programmer turned entrepreneur, and I am the founder of Triplefy, an online platform for small business to create and instantly sell Daily Deals and Gift Cards & also Recdesk, a recreational software useful to parks and recreational departments and communities. To simply put, I love building online tools to help other succeed in business.
2. How would you describe your entrepreneurial journey into the world of business? Where there any key incidents or life changing events that inspired your decision to become an entrepreneur?
No, there were no major incidents; I just want to help others and be part of their success. I wanted the freedom to enjoy life with my friends and family, entrepreneurship will allow me to do just that.
3. When you started out in business, what specific idea, purpose or vision was your key driving force?
The most important thing that I wanted to do was to help small businesses to build and grow within their communities. I created Triplefy because I wanted to give them a way to promote their business, reward loyal customers and become a profitable business. We strongly believe in helping small businesses and local economies grow.
4. What is your take on the general notion that entrepreneurs should build a business around what they naturally love to do?
I think it’s extremely important to build a business around what you already love to do. It takes a long time to be successful at anything, so by building something that you love, your chances of being successful is a lot better. When you absolutely love what you do then it becomes just a habit it doesn’t feel like you’re working. When you’re at this stage there is no doubt you can build a successful business.
5. What is your personal life mission as an entrepreneur? That is; what contributions do you want to make with your life or what would you like to be remembered for as an entrepreneur through the businesses you create when you die?
Great question, I think about it all the time. I simply want to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the world. I want people to say that my work has helped better their live and businesses. I am a strong believer in growing small businesses. I believe small businesses are the heart of the community. With that said, I would love to be remembered as someone who helped small businesses to become successful.
6. What would you describe as the purpose of entrepreneurship? That is; what role do entrepreneurs play in the world?
Entrepreneurship is the freedom to follow your own path. I believe entrepreneurs play a very important role in the world today. We are innovators; we are making people’s lives better and easier by providing easy solutions to hard problems. Entrepreneurs are able to create jobs and better the world around us.
Interview Questions Part Two
STRATEGY – The unusual execution of business best practices
7. How do you identify business opportunities and what metrics do you use to measure their viability?
It’s very simple, I look for problems, I listen to my customers; learn what issues they are having, and then I move on to fix those issues. Business opportunities are everywhere you just have to look and listen to people. Learn about their problems and then provide them with an easy solution. It is as simple as that.
8. Do you have mentors, business coach or external consultants that you work closely with to grow yourself and your business? If yes, to what extent would you describe their impact on your business? If no, are there any particular reasons?
We’re based in New Haven, CT and I am part of the work space community call Launch Haven. It is a great community of entrepreneurs helping each other succeeds. In terms of mentors I don’t have one per se, but I do have access to a large community of people to help me. It does have a huge impact on my business. The fact that I have a group of entrepreneurs that I can go to whenever I am having an issue is very helpful.
9. How do you strategically use your time as an entrepreneur? What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs use their time for?
I recommend every entrepreneur to always spend some time reading. Most of the things that I learned came from reading. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just 15 minute a day could really help you grow and understand the basics. Reading works great for me whenever I am feeling a bit un-motivated.
10. How do you generate profitable customers for your business? What unusual approaches do you adopt for marketing your products/services?
When it comes to Triplefy we mostly target recent Groupon & Living Social users. Businesses that have used those services seem to understand a lot quicker what our service can do for them. Some of the marketing tactics that we do includes social media, online forums and content marketing. Those seems to work best for us right now.
11. Many entrepreneurs complain about not succeeding in business due to lack of adequate funding, what is your take on this matter and how do you cope with funding issues in your business?
In my opinion most companies fail because they have no customers. It has nothing to do with funding. That fact is if you’re able to get enough people interested in the product then funding will be no issue. I bootstrap for both Tripelfy and RecDesk. I did not look for any outside funding. Getting investors for your new business can both be a positive and negative. I strongly recommend everyone to bootstrap to get started. But if you absolutely have to get outside funding, then look for investors who are bringing more than just money. Look for people who will bring experience and become a strategic partner.
12. When starting out a new business, who are the likely possible partners or professional service providers you would recommend every entrepreneur work with?
I would recommend working with someone who is just as passionate as you are. Look for someone who can bring something different to the mix. For example, if you’re background is in marketing then maybe look for a partner who is much more technical then you are, like a programmer or web designer. These things can be pretty expensive so having one your team is a win.
13. The pricing of products/services is always an issue for entrepreneurs, what unusual approach do you take when it comes to pricing?
When it comes to pricing products/services entrepreneurs often make the mistake of under valuing their services. So if you’re unsure of what kind of prices you should set. I would first look at what the competition is offering then decide whether it will be more profitable for me to go higher or cheaper. The best thing to do is to start high then lower the prices if I need to. Because let’s face it, it will much harder for you to increase the prices than to lower it. And also don’t forget to take your expenses into account as well when deciding.
Interview Questions Part Three
MISCELLANEOUS – Resourceful Recommendations, tools, books, and ideas for unusual entrepreneurs
14. Since you became an entrepreneur – someone who solves problems for people profitably; what has been your most outstanding accomplishments in the context of business?
We were selected twice in a row as one of the top tech companies to watch in 2011 and 2012 by Connecticut Technology Council. This was a great honor to be among some of the most innovative and successful tech companies here in CT.
Another accomplishment is the fact that we are now supporting small businesses in more 3 countries including Australia, Canada and the UK. We recently launched a French translated version store front for some the users in Canada, and that’s been working out pretty great.
15. What would you describe as your major setbacks and what lessons did you pick from them?
One particular setback that I can think of was the fact that we wanted to be everything to everyone. We didn’t niche our service enough to be able to target the right customers. We lost a lot time trying to attract the wrong kind of customers. We quickly learned that we can’t satisfy everyone so we re-targeted a smaller audience to have a bigger impact.
The most important thing that I learned is that in business, things don’t ever go according to plan. In other words you should always have a backup plan In case things don’t work out.
16. Where there any particular questions you expected me to ask that is beneficial to entrepreneurs and I didn’t? Kindly share with us such questions and their relevant answers here.
I must say these were all great questions. If I could leave your audience with one piece of advice that would be to pursue what you like. We have so little time in this world so we should spend it doing what we like. Build memories, because in the end that’s pretty much all we have. If you’re thinking about starting your own company, stop thinking and just do it already. Opportunities are everywhere; you just have to be ready when for it when it comes.
I would also encourage anyone who already own a business and looking to offer Gift Cards and Deals to their customers to check http://triplefy.com. We are always here to help you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or @triplefy on twitter.
Thank you for having me it was an honor to share my journey with you.
What more would you like to know about the Unusual Mike Morris? You can ask him further questions below in the comment section and I will be sure that you will get an answer directly from him.
Also, what did you learn from this unusual entrepreneur? What lessons, what philosophy of his strike you the most?
Mike has shared his unusual story with you, now is time to hear from you. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say J