The idea and the main focus lies in reaching our target audience in all possible directions, educating them, bringing them value in multiple creative ways through various forms, modes of communications, and messages. Again, we are not trying to be pushy here or too sales-focused. Our intention is pretty clear, and we want to continue to stick to that.
Identifying and communicating to our target audience, making the message clearer, and bringing them value to help solve their cricketing problems.
However, we are just exploring multiple channels and mediums to get them and get to them up close and personal and in other words, channelizing our efforts to the fullest with an ultimate goal to reach the perfect target audience. This strategy probably is going to serve as the blueprint for future cricket-based startups developing products and services to help grow business through actual business development.
Another critical step in the process is strategic partnerships. Identifying the right strategic partners is one thing, and engaging them with the right business model is another thing. Obviously, there’s no perfect business model, but a model mutually benefits both the parties with the partners having the same vision of making cricketing greatness accessible to everyone will make it sustainable. More importantly, the idea is also to grow the business through B2B model with strategic sales and marketing partners in the cricket space mainly on the back of the fact that these brands also directly engage and interact with the target audience we are after. There are several ways to engage with these brands on a commercial level which include affiliate marketing strategies on revenue sharing, commission structure, dealer margins structure, retention fees in the form of convertible debt, shares and stocks.
In the process of reaching cricketers through various platforms, we identified that various cricket associations, boards, and organizations utilize the technology offering provided by these brands as a part their cricketer’s database management system, grassroots cricket development, live scoring platforms, live match streaming and email newsletters for notifications, and much more. Since these brands already work very closely with some of the big cricket bodies around the world, it makes sense for us to engage with them to gain access to the officially registered cricketers by the organizations, associations, and boards. Since these entities are also brands by themselves, they are a strong market force as well across all platforms, including social media, email newsletter, app, website, and more. The marketing message carefully crafted and distributed through these channels backed by association, boards, and organizations will go a long way in reaching the target audience.
ASSOCIATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS & BOARDS
This activity is just an extension from the last action and engagement with strategic partners who directly work with boards and organizations. Working with strategic partners gets us into the backdoor of the boards and organizations, which later gets us involved with the cricket administration and decision making. In the long run, organizational association and relationship is an integral part of the process because these boards dictate the cricketing landscape and run the operations in the best interest of the cricketers. Since they are the most prominent stakeholders in this space, it’s important to keep involved and get approvals, certification, recommendations, and affiliations to their grassroots cricket development initiatives.
They also have the best cricketing and business minds to run cricket around the world. Associating with the international cricket council (ICC) will give us access to some of the brilliant minds and in fact, understand the entire setup, operations, and what it takes to run cricket administration profitably on a global scale. It also presents an opportunity to get insights into the latest in cricket, trends, patterns, consumer behavior, and other characteristics traits which can be used to understand the market psychology for cricket products and services. So there are many benefits to be involved in the cricket administration process to truly understand the future of cricket and steps to be implemented in aiding cricket growth and popularization in emerging markets.
BUILDING GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION NETWORK
We’ve often talked about the challenges and friction it creates with selling our product online, online sales are high, but it’s just not a scalable business model. Mainly,
1. It’s still a high ticketed item on the internet to buy it. FACT: Only 7.5% of the total sales comes through e-commerce sales in the US. But cricket still being a very price sensitive market, it’s going to be tough. An average cricketer is more likely to buy a new product from the store by talking to the storekeeper in-person versus buying it online over the phone. It’s just how the cricket market is established, although it’s conservative, it’s still the effective way to sell cricket products in the stores.
2. People need to really “feel” before they buy it, which can’t be created over the internet. For example, cricket bats are very custom and personalized because there are many things like grains on wood, size, weight, dimensions, balance, thickness, and more. Similarly, for protective gears, one needs to wear before they are convinced. Our bowling machine /ball thrower too is very experience and performance-based. One needs to get a feel for this thing to understand it working, functionalities, specifications and the way it fits into the current scheme of cricket training methods, ROI of buying one, transportation, logistics, technicalities like speed, safety, bounce, dimensions, swing /curve, and more.
Creating accessibility and making it easy for people to buy it is one thing, but on the other hand, it’s also essential to look into the logistics-supply chain management of the product. These dealers understand the seasonality and inventory management, which allows them to have the flexibility to bundle up the bowling machine offering along with other products and sell it to customer. Just like influencers and news features, these dealers, retailers, and storekeepers also play a crucial role in propagating the information about the product through their information channels. The retailers are also vested and have their skin in the game through their investment to stock the units. It’s essential to work with dealers across the globe to effectively reach the product into people’s hands through a medium that our end consumers are comfortable.
Now that we understand that the chances and the conversion rate of people buying at their nearest sports retailer where they typically purchase cricket stuff would be high, we need to build a global distribution network. With the Indiegogo pre-order campaign, we are looking to create enough traction and scale to provide evidence to the cricket equipment manufacturing brands who control the existing stockists, distributors, and dealers. So we need to also engage with the top cricket equipment brands to gain access to their distribution network and build on top of it through co-branding and brand licensing business models. Some of the big cricket equipment manufacturing brands with their authorized dealer network also work with boards, organizations, and associations to supply cricket equipment like the balls wickets, and other ground infrastructure equipment to run the cricket matches. So they have an arrangement and agreement with the boards usually for a long-term for cricket supplies which then opens up the door for us to work with councils to supply cricket bowling machines to the venues. The above scenario is just an example, but there are so many ways we could go about it.
SALES AND REVENUE
The process and the preparation is the victory no doubt, but we are also realistic with ourselves. Off course, we have a minimum funding goal we are working towards, just enough to secure the number the sales we would have otherwise made if not for the preparations for the Indiegogo campaign. Meaning, if we did not focus and channelize our efforts into the campaign, we would have probably made ‘X’ sales. Now that we are only focussing on the preparations for the launch and not much on the sales activity, we still want to make ‘X’ sales and recover the sales throughout the campaign. That’s our minimum goal, making sure we are covered. It’s not wise and advisable to lose money from these efforts. It’s the same analogy as scoring runs in cricket, nothing else matters. At the end of the day runs on the scoresheet is the ROI. You can have the most exceptional technique, skill, preparation, experience coming into the game. However, if you don’t score runs and contribute to the team’s victory, rest doesn’t matter. Business too is one long game of runs/scores, and we need to make it count. Need to make sales and generate revenue to keep the business operations running and efforts worthwhile. We’ve done our math, and we’ve our financial goal to reach by the end of the year to recover our initial upfront investment, make enough for the payroll, have enough balance between reinvesting back into the business. Cash is the oxygen of the company, so we need to generate oxygen to stay alive in the game.
DESIGN UPGRADATION FOR VOLUME PRODUCTION
Just like the content generation and presenting the best movie to the audience, this is also our best chance to put out the best version of our product. The pre-order campaign preparations also force us to make enough design changes, upgradations, and revisions in the product for two reasons 1. We want to make the best version for our customers, so not only the production efficiency improves, but the customer service and support experience improve and reflects through the product 2. We also want the best and the optimized version for ourselves to manage the workload by upgrading the design, design for manufacturability(DFM), design for assembly(DFA), design for logistics(DFL) and the overall efficiency to be able to control the quality, maintain the standards and still deliver the same experience.
Since we are looking to sell hundreds of units throughout the campaign, we need to make preparations for bulk production. There’s a different level of planning, implementation, and execution that goes into bulk manufacturing. We need to, at some point, graduate from batch production to bulk production, and this allows us to go through the process. It’s going to be a good exercise and activity for us to learn to manage the volumes and numbers. It’s a level up and the best time to embrace the workload that we take on lifting and pushing ourselves from the world of small business to big. It’s exciting because it takes a different approach and man-management skills to manage the workforce that’s available to pull off volume production, coordinating, supervising, and overlooking the entire process. So we are up for the challenge.
INDUSTRIAL CONNECTIONS, NETWORKING AND THE FUTURE
It might sound repetitive, but it is the reality. It only goes to show how excited we are about the process and our approach, intent, and attitude towards this campaign. We are looking at a lot of positive, and the possibilities are endless. It’s just the beginning of something big. It’s the people, and it’s all about the people. I can’t emphasize enough on this fact of how much and what it means to us to meet with people, interact with them, share our thoughts and ideas, get their feedback and insights, discuss the future of cricket, technology, sports landscape and many places we could go. There’s nothing more satisfying than building a meaningful relationship with the prospective business partners. More so because we are all on this same vision and cross each other at various paths, it’s incredible to meet and collaborate with people on this journey. It’s even fulfilling when people in the industry recognize, identify, and appreciate the work. It’s the mutual support and encouragement that drives us all.
Throughout the course of this campaign preparations, we are lined up to meet with many people in the industry, mainly the decision-makers, the operators, business development officers, and the administrators and more. If not for the campaign preparations, we wouldn’t have been able to schedule meetings with the founders, executive officers, directors of some the leading companies, brands, and boards. We would have only had the opportunity to meet with people whom we are interested in work may be at a conference, exhibition or a networking event for a brief moment, but to have a dedicated one on one meeting is productive. These actions allow us to build the rapport and chance to present our vision and make them a part of the process too in their capacities. It’s a great way to build personal relationships, opportunity to grow individually, take the business to the next level by creating unexpected business opportunities. It could just be one connect away from the following important business deal which could take off with a new line of product, or a new app or a service. It could help us layout and draw the freebowler road map now that we understand the dimensions and coordinates of this space.
More Global Launch Updates On https://freebowler.com/products/freebowler-superthrower