by Mike Tinney
If you ask startup founders about their company’s journey, you’ll likely hear some common themes: pivots and learning. In our case, we started FIX 6 years ago, and nearly the only thing that remains of our plans from that time is our true north: to make healthy habits part of an entertainment experience. That ultimately lead us to develop A Step Ahead, and in turn, The Outbreak. Just as our product evolved, so now is our pricing.
We were about 12 months into the project when we decided to make corporate wellness our primary market. Up until then, we had been considering a consumer experience. We knew almost nothing about the corporate health and benefits space, aside from what I’d experienced as a consumer of those products when running other companies. In spite of that, we (admittedly blindly) entered the corporate wellness market and got a crash course in, well… everything.
The sales cycle for corporate benefits is 6-12 months long. Companies typically contract for multi-year benefit packages, and the vast majority of those get sourced through brokers or consultants (i.e. 3rd party experts who are retained to act on the employers behalf in the benefits space). As it turned out out, it was a tough sell to get companies to contract with a brand new startup without much of a track record. So we had to figure out another way to break into the market.
“The sales cycle for corporate benefits is 6-12 months long. Companies typically contract for multi-year benefit packages, and the vast majority of those get sourced through brokers or consultants.”
Enter the “Pay Only for Actual Participants, No Long Term Contract, Single Serving Challenge Model,” or “POAPNLTCSSCM” for short. Switching to a no-hassle model, where employers paid once and then only for employees who actually used our service, got us out of the broker-curated annual bid process. It took us out of an HR wellness budget and placed us firmly in the “Opportunity Purchase With Pocket Change” or “OPPC”. Now, the OPPC is a great way to get started and boot strap a new venture. It’s also a very easy way for new clients to try your company’s product out. It does have a key weakness though. Anyone have a guess as to what it is?
Yes, you, in the back, that’s right! There is no recurring revenue model in this sales methodology. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of repeat customers. It’s just hard to predict when they’re going to repeat. There’s no predictability to that model, and because of that, it’s hard to grow a company passed a certain point. But we have a plan.
Fast forward to the present and we’ve successfully broken into the industry. We have a client list that includes household Fortune 500 names and we’re no longer the brand new startup with no track record that no one wants to contract with. With our 2.0 platform up and running (and running very well, mind you), it’s rare that clients don’t repeat, so we’ve decided to offer a comparatively cheap “all inclusive unlimited challenge plan,” or “AIUCP.”
“Employers can now pay a low monthly fee, allowing their employees unlimited access to our product year round in the pricing structure they’re used to paying. They can run as many challenges as they want. Big company wide challenges, or a series of smaller department vs department challenges. Or both.”
Employers can now pay a low monthly fee, allowing their employees unlimited access to our product year round in the pricing structure they’re used to paying. They can run as many challenges as they want. Big company wide challenges, or a series of smaller department vs department challenges. Or both.
In order to make this work we had to solve two problems:
First, it has to be a good value, price-wise. So it is. You can have the unlimited pass for the cost of approximately 1.5 – 2 normal challenges for your company. Even more, clients lock into their per employee rate for life, with continuous service. Even if the market rate of our services increases, the client’s price stays the same.
Secondly, we have to be easy to quit. Most other services lock clients into long term contracts that auto-renew if the buyer misses the cancellation window. While our services do auto-renew, we’re letting clients cancel after month 9, for any reason. We know it’s on us to continue to develop compelling content and provide employees with an experience that inspires them to continue using it, so we’ll bear that risk and let our clients worry about running their companies.
So, while we had to break into the market with single serving experiences, we’re now going to offer our clients an easy way to consume our content, month after month, at no risk to themselves. If anyone out there can come up with an acronym for this that ends up as “WIN,” I’ll give you a free Outbreak Challenge!
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