Tell us about your business?
QuizzaMe creates memorable events (http://www.quizzame.com/). Pens and paper are so last year, using technology exclusive to QuizzaMe and wireless buzzers used to answer questions, we deliver an interactive show like no other. We use a range of interactive and fun questions that test a variety of player skills, not just how much general knowledge players can remember. With built-audio, picture, video and special QuizzaMe questions, we are the only completely interactive Quiz Show in Australia. We work with our clients to deliver memorable events, and can 100% fully customise a show to include client specific content in all formats (audio, video, image etc). We love taking the hassle of organising an event and help source venues, suggest prizes and work with clients to tailor the event to their needs, so that when the event starts all involved just need to relax and enjoy the show.
QuizzaMe has successfully dominated the overseas market for over 10 years and is now launching in Australia.
Why did you start up your business?
My first role on a microphone in a hosting capacity was over 14 years ago, and I have always enjoyed entertaining this way. I have hosted corporate, fund raising and pub trivia for many years, and have always had a passion for it. An overseas representative for QuizzaMe was going around to various trivia nights to see what talent was out there, and he obviously saw my passion coming through the microphone. Several meetings later I was set up as the Australian representative for QuizzaMe.
There was an exciting opportunity to take a familiar concept of trivia and present it in a dynamic, fun and exciting new format. I was looking at starting my own trivia company anyway, and saw this as a niche product in a fairly established market place. Some of commercial and logistic capabilities of the product are unlike any other system currently available in Australia (scoring is done in real time, be it 50 or 500 players) and with such a unique selling point, it was an exciting opportunity not to be missed.
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting your business?
Having an existing system and format was great to start with, but adapting it to suit an Australian audience was very challenging at first. We tried several different timings; question set up and formats before establishing a game flow that works. The next major hurdle was building a new client base and hiring staff. At first the take up was slow, but as each client comes onboard it builds credibility and helps to expand the brand exposure. The staff I have found so far have all been excellent, apart from one staff member that was not meeting some set requirements/expectations. This helped identify some training gaps and highlighted the importance of ensuring I have clear guidelines and procedures set up.
Developing an accurate price model has also been challenging, as although we offer a unique product, the market has been slow to identify this difference and we are still being compared to exiting product offerings. We are looking to establish ourselves as a premium product that offers a unique experience.
What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting their own business?
Do something that you are passionate about. You will be spending more time on your business that you think, and you will find it hard to have a conversation without bringing it up. Nothing is more convincing than a business owner who radiates their passion for their business and this will help in all areas of the business. This will also help reduce procrastination as if you love what you do, you will look forward to doing it and not put it off!
Get the right tools for your business and find what works for you. Making small changes to things you currently do will also greatly help. Examples for me are swapping the comedy podcasts for small business ones (Small Business, Big Marketing is my favourite), reading business books rather than playing games on my phone in down time, and being realistic about what I hope to achieve. Currently all money made is invested back into the business so having a supporting wife, family and friends is crucial. Learning how to use social media is very important– it’s where people are already and it’s (mostly) free. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help or referrals. I try not to be “one of those” nagging friends, but there is no harm is putting it out there and asking the question.
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?
I had just started a very well paying role and two weeks in was learning some new procedures and processes. I was planning to be working full time on the business in 6 months and realised that I would rather invest that time in the business now that launch into a completely new role. I was also working long hours after getting up early to travel into the city, then return home to work on the business for many hours and repeat.....
Since leaving my full time corporate role I have successfully had the time to market to, follow up and secure several new clients. I have also had time to work on getting a lot of the basics right, including writing new questions, setting up the home office in a productive way and work on processes and procedures. I love having more time to spend with my wife and family and my general well being and happiness is at an all time high, and I love going to work every day (albeit a couple of rooms over!)
How did your family and friends react?
My dad met me for lunch in the city one day, and I had made the decision that morning that I wanted to leave my full time role. He is quite conservative and pragmatic, and at first was shocked at proposed idea. However, by the time I had outlined all the work I could be doing on the business and the potential for growth that would only happen if I had the time to invest in the business, he was almost insisting that I follow my dreams.
I am honoured to have such a wonderful and supportive wife who also could see the potential in the business. Most of my friends were very happy and most were not surprised, as I had been talking about going full time for a while, although most were shocked it had happened so quickly.
How has your life changed?
My life is amazing! I have never been so productive and driven, and being able to achieve so much in such a short time. It has given me back more hours in the week (not having to travel to and from work) and now I work longer hours AND still get to spend more time with my wife and family. I’ve also been able to start other hobbies that I never had time for including working on my house and garden, and starting Brazilian Jujitsu. I’ve always been an optimistic big thinker and now I have the chance to make some of these big ideas a reality. Being your own boss means that you are responsible for all the work but also can set all the rules!
What is the vision for your business going forward?
I am planning on launching the business on a national scale, and have a lot of niche areas that only my unique product can operate in. I am also planning on working with schools and community groups to deliver educational training and awareness through a fun and engaging format, and one that can be used by those in primary school, something that has never been successfully achieved before. I am also looking at helping a range of charity organisations raise funds through a new and exciting fund raising model, and continue to create memorable events and help people discover the entertainment rEvolution.
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your start-up?
Sometimes you have to treat it like any other job you have been previously paid to do. There will be times that you are tired, stressed or can’t be bothered, and there will be duties that you don’t like, but as you have done previously, get up, get ready for work and get stuck into it. Build a network, find others that might be in a similar position and meet up on a regular basis. I have formed a small group with two of my friends that have also recently started small businesses and the chance to sit around and bounce ideas off other people that are not directly plugged into your business is amazing.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and look at outsourcing if you can. There are people that will most likely do some jobs to a high standard for a reasonable fee. For example I got all my questions professionally edited and reviewed for a VERY reasonable price using an online crowd sourcing site. There are also websites, groups on Facebook etc where you can post questions and get excellent advice very quickly.
Remember that each challenge is merely a bump in the road, and until you face things head on you will not know what you are truly capable of and will continue to amaze yourself at your achievements.
Above all else, remember that passion! It’s what got you to where you are today, and what will continue to get you to where you want to be tomorrow.