How Pivoting Took Our Company From 4 Figures To 7 Figures A Year

Everywhere you turn these days in the startup / business community you hear about pivoting your business, it has become one of the most overused buzz words of the past couple years. However as overused as it is, it can play a pretty important part of your companies toolkit. Pivoting is what eventually brought DialMyCalls to fruition after years of running a wake up call service I had started back in the year 2000 which was aptly named WakeUpLand. Here's a quick story about how our little pivot was an entire game changer.

AND SO IT BEGINS

It all started when I created WakeUpLand out of my dorm room as a side project to better my web design skills. At the time there were no other wake up call services online, so it seemed like an interesting niche to target. After a couple weeks of getting the site up and launching it an order actually came in, at the time that $0.99 order blew my mind. Orders came in every couple days and I had many tired zombie-like days after waking up at 4am to make sure everyone received their wake up calls - I had not thought about the fact that I would be the one making all of these calls.

After a couple weeks of running on little to no sleep I ended up reaching out to a company that did wake up calls via toll-free number. We were able to negotiate a small deal and for the next few years I was able to load up my wake up calls into their system and they would automatically send them out. It was a great little side business netting anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand bucks a month, and basically ran on auto-pilot - not a bad deal for a few weeks worth of work!

THE RISE OF VOICE OVER IP

A few years later VOIP was becoming much more popular and I started looking at the possibility of sending our own calls rather than going through the wake up provider I had partnered with. The provider was taking 50% of my sales and if I switched to VOIP I'd be looking at a fraction of the cost, meaning a way better profit margin. I reached out to a developer who was a friend of a friend and pitched him the idea of sending the calls using VOIP. After a few months we were actually able to send out our own calls through our own platform, it was amazing, and instantly increased the bottom line of the company. WakeUpLand was rocking and rolling, but this is when a little epiphany hit me smack in the face...

THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT

A customer emailed in asking if we could send a call out to his church about an upcoming event. I politely answered "no", but then a couple days later, after thinking about it, I asked myself, "why can't we?" We had just created our own calling platform capable of sending calls at reasonable rates, the game had completely changed right in front of our eyes. I reached out to Chris the developer and the wheels starting turning. We were dead set on creating the best voice broadcasting platform we could come up with.

I finally met up with Chris, the programmer, at a hotel in Orlando, Florida - the room we rented for a weekend became our base of operation. Countless hours were spent sketching up ideas and storyboarding the entire website, trying to figure out how to make a somewhat complicated process as user friendly and easy as possible. Picture easels, poster boards, papers, empty cans of Redbull, and stuff taped everywhere - I wish I had taken a picture of the creative madness that took place that weekend.

I went to work creating the front end of the site and the user interface, he worked on the backend and phone dialer - it was a good 5-6 months before we had anything useable. It took a lot of back and forth with consultants and experts to fine tune everything to work how we wanted. We spent a ridiculous amount of time working on the Answering Machine Detection in order to have the most accurate AMD out there. After we were happy with the results we slowly launched with the name DialMyCalls.com in early 2008, the rest you can say is history. To this day we still have some of our customers who signed up that first week using the system, I love logging into the admin and seeing our old double and triple digit account numbers sending out broadcasts.

EMBRACE YOUR PIVOTAL MOMENT

Since its initial inception as a wake up call service website that was created in my college dorm room, DialMyCalls has become one of the leading voice and text message broadcasting providers available. We have had over 50,000 users sign up, including churches, universities, fortune 100 companies, and everything in between, to send their alerts through us. We have an amazing team of ten people who kick butt every day, two offices, and 7 figures in revenue. I'd say as overused as the word pivot is these days, it's something to definitely keep in your back pocket. Don't be afraid to try new things with your company whether it's brand new and you're throwing ideas around or a 5 year old side business just making a few extra bucks.



Voice Broadcasting To Voicemails Is Now Easier Than Ever!

Voice Broadcasting Live Answer & Voicemail Recordings

DialMyCalls is excited to announce a brand new feature that has been requested by you, our loyal customers – separate messages for live answer calls and voicemails.

We rely heavily on customer feedback when it comes to improving our service and our new feature that allows two separate recordings is a direct result of your suggestions! Customers of DialMyCalls can now create a recording that will play on a live answer and then create a second recording that will be played if an answering machine is detected. Customize your voice broadcasts more than ever by selecting two separate recordings.

Traditional Voice Broadcasting Method:

Choosing this method will allow you to select one recording that will play if our AccurateAMD™ detects a live answer or an answering machine - this is how our service worked prior to the introduction of our new feature which allows separate recordings to be selected.

New Method With Separate Live Answer & Voicemail Recordings:

  • Live Answer Recording: Create a personalized recording that you can have our system only play when your voice broadcast is answered by a live person and not an answering machine.
Voice Broadcasting Live Answer Recording
  • Voicemail Recording: In addition to the recording you made for a live answer, you can also create a second recording for voicemails. When you send out your voice broadcast and our AccurateAMD™ answering machine detection system detects that an answering machine has picked up, your "Voicemail Recording" will then play.
Voice Broadcasting Voicemail Recording

On step 6 of the setup a call process, you will be able to preview both of your recordings to make sure that the proper one has been selected for the live answer as well as the answering machine. Be sure to double-check your recordings prior to sending out the broadcasts - you don't want to send out the wrong recording to all of your recipients!

Voice Broadcasting Confirmation

If you have any questions regarding our new voice broadcasting feature, please contact us!



Involve Your Community To Help Run A Successful Electric Utility Company

Electric Utility Company Tips

If you are in charge of a company that is supplying electrical power, then your responsibilities are immense. Not only are you making sure the homes and businesses in your community have a continual supply of necessary power, you are overseeing where that power is being produced and the impact it has on the environment.

Power management requires a great deal of organization and a reliable means of quick communication to control the effect it has on the planet.

At the heart of the electric company are the people it serves. You most likely have numerous entities to consider. Homes and businesses of course rely on you, but so do institutions such as schools and local hospitals. To create an electrical company that better serves the community you have to first make a concerted effort to know who your community consists of.

To do this, focus some energy on creating a solid means of open communication. Right now, it most likely exists as not much more than distributing monthly bills. Yet what if you made the community and institutions more involved in your service, what kind of impact would that have on the production and distribution of electricity and its effect on the environment?

Start with a mass notification system that gives you a number of communication functions. DialMyCalls for example allows for mass email and SMS text messaging as well as voice messages for community members that choose to opt-in to receive alerts from you. You can effectively use all of these to promote involvement with the community, and keep them updated on what is happening in your company.

For example, summer time heat puts a large strain on your service which can lead to brown outs or even black outs. During those hot days, send your customers an automated reminder message to turn down their air conditioners and watch their other power usage. This will save your company money and time in having to repair overloaded transformers from power surges. The message is sent as an SMS text message or voice broadcast, where the customer is instantly reminded of the impact their power use is having on its production.

Another way in which mass communication works is when you do have a scheduled repair that may interrupt power. Just by logging into your DialMyCalls account and sending a quick message, thousands of your customers will be prepared in advance. Consider the man hours you will save by not needing extra staff to answer inquiries about the loss of power.

This will also work with unexpected outages. If you set your contact list by the zones you serve, you can let a dark area know the status of the black out and approximately how long it will take to fix, with just one message. You will be amazed by the positive feedback you get when you are able to keep your customers in the know about the state of their electrical power.

One last thing to consider is creating a comprehensive website that not only lets customers pay their bills, but one that talks to them about the importance of conservation. There is growing concern for our environment which you can address with tips and ideas on how your customers can help make a positive difference.

As you get to know your community and communicate with them regularly, you are going to find that your other responsibilities are lessened by their involvement in helping to conserve energy.



Tips on Making Your Knights of Columbus Council a Raving Success

Knights of Columbus Tips

For over 120 years, the Knights of Columbus organization you are a member of has been uniting Catholic men around the nation and the world. Now in charge of your own council of the biggest organization of its kind, you are charged with increasing membership, fundraising and organizing meetings.

As a fraternal service organization, the Knights of Columbus have a long standing history of benevolence in their communities and advocacy for Catholic rights. You can better serve these long standing missions by adopting the following tips to better your council:

Make Yourself Known

One of your biggest barriers towards a higher membership rate is as simple as letting like-minded individuals know you are here. Utilize the local churches in your area and make a post in their Sunday bulletins. Ask to speak briefly at the end of mass, or have the priest speak on your behalf. The more men who are aware of your existence, the better your chances of increasing your numbers.

Create Open Lines of Communication

As your council grows, you may feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of your members. You have an obligation to keep them informed of upcoming meetings and fundraisers, if you wish for your council to be a productive part of the organization.

Set up an account with a mass notification system such as DialMyCalls. You can store all of your opted in contacts in their secure online database, making it easy to contact 2 or 200 at a time. Here you can send a text message reminder for an upcoming meeting, or details about a fundraising event. Voice messaging is also an option, allowing you talk to a large group of members at one time if you need to share vital information about your council.

Fundraising

As you know, the Knights of Columbus is one of the more generous organizations when it comes to donating money to charitable causes. From 1997 to 2007, the organization that you are a part of raised over one billion dollars for charity. They also donated almost 70 million man hours in various voluntary services.

To live up to this legacy, your council needs a strong focus on its own fundraising efforts. Brainstorm ideas on how to raise money, than use your mass notification service to send out a telephone poll to your members. They will receive a call and be asked to choose by pressing a phone key, which of the options you list most appeals to them. Track the results through your account, and be better prepared at your next meeting to make fundraising plans based on popularity.

You can be creative with raising money for the Knights of Columbus by organizing a softball league playoff, charitable golfing event or auction of your member's special skills. The key to being successful is communication between you and your members to bring in as many people to your events as possible.

There are 14,000 Knights of Columbus councils around the world. Make yours stand out above all the rest by recruiting high numbers of new members, active participation and highly successful fundraising efforts. All of this can be accomplished with ease when you have a highly effective form of group communication.



10 Tips for Being a Top Seller of Cookies for Your Girl Scout Troop

Tips For Selling Girl Scout Cookies

Selling Girl Scout Cookies is a time honored tradition that young girls have been taking a part in for decades. With a unique selection of delicious treats that are only available for a limited time, these should be an easy sell. Yet competition is high, and girl scouts and their troops need to be creative if they want to grab the attention of the cookie lovers in their area.

Try these 10 tips to make your cookie sales soar:

  1. Repeat Business: Look over last year's sales sheets and give an early call to your best customers.
  2. Get off the Block: Residential neighborhoods are saturated with door to door cookie sellers. Take your selling skills to local business districts and malls. There is great opportunity to make bulk sales with local small businesses, where you have multiple employees to make your sales pitch to.
  3. Speaking of Sales Pitch: You should have a few different approaches depending on the circumstance and practice them to perfection using a mirror at home.
  4. Talk up the Benefits: Let potential buyers know where the money is going. Talk about upcoming trips and events or how being a Girl Scout has benefited you.
  5. Network: Use an automated notification service, such as DialMyCalls, to let everyone know Girl Scout Cookies are now on sale. Family members and close friends should all get a message about your cookie selling efforts and a request to help by pitching them to their friends and co-workers.
  6. The Cookie Stand: Setting up cookie stands in front of busy businesses, inside of parks and at local sporting events is a great way to increase sales. Use DialMyCalls to let your opted in network know where you will be. Make your stand attractive with bright signs and free samples of cookies. You could even offer a small cup of lemonade to your customers.
  7. Talk up the Cookies in a Fresh Way: Most people are already going to know about the delicious crisp flavor of thin mints, but they might not know about the Girls Scouts efforts to reduce waste by reducing the packaging in Lemonades and Thanks-A-Lot cookies.
  8. Wear Your Uniform: Always show pride in being a Girl Scout and what that stands for by wearing your uniform during your cookie selling activities.
  9. Set a Goal: Having a set goal in front of you is incredible motivation. Be realistic in your goal setting to avoid disappointment, but once you have it set, mark your progress daily. This helps you to maintain your focus through out the cookie selling weeks.
  10. Plan Ahead for Next Year: Freeze boxes of cookies for next year. This will make you the only early door to door seller who can offer up samples as part of the sales pitch.

The most important things to remember of course are to stay safe and have fun. Always make sure that an adult is supervising you when making door to door or store to store stops and at your cookie both.

Show your love for the Girl Scouts not only by selling the famous cookies, but by smiling as you do it. Be polite and thank everyone, even those who didn't buy. With a sunny disposition and these 10 tips under your Girl Scout sash, you are going to be the cookie salesperson that other scouts look up to.

*Note: Please make sure that you abide by the rules of your local Girl Scout Council when selling cookies as they do vary by location. The ideas in this article are just suggestions to help sell Girl Scout Cookies and in no way depict how you MUST sell your cookies.



DialMyCalls Now Offers Longer Text Messages and Better Text To Speech Recordings

We have recently upgraded two of our most popular features, text messaging and text-to-speech recordings.

Customers of DialMyCalls that are currently using version 2.0 can login and immediately utilize the two new upgrades. Your feedback is extremely helpful and has makes it possible for us to constantly make improvements to our mass notification system.

When utilizing text message broadcasting in the past, customers had to try and fit their important message into 117 characters - the days of trying to cut out important details from your texts are gone! Customers will now be able to send out text messages that are up to 157 characters in length as we feel that is a more appropriate length.

Long Text Message Broadcasts

In addition to longer text messages, we have also upgraded to a new and improved text-to-speech recording tool. The old tool, while it worked, was not the quality that we were looking for which is why we decided to ditch it. Our new and improved recording tool has improved male and female voices as well as the ability to record a message in Spanish as well as English. Please keep in mind that if you choose the "Spanish" option that the message has to be typed out in Spanish.

New Text-To-Speech Recordings

Offering a top-notch mass notification system for our customers is our number one priority. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our service and your feedback is always appreciated. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact us!

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