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“We literally built our business model on a boat with a fishing rod in our hands and now we are reeling in the customers!”

KwikBoost designs, manufactures and markets mobile device charging stations, power tables, charging lockers, integratable power/charging solutions, and custom solutions built to improve how people work and learn. They focus on simple, beautiful and thoughtful products and services. Mixing good design with practicality, everyday problems are elegantly and efficiently solved. KwikBoost products enhance the technology that connects us to the people, activities and experiences we love. KwikBoost was founded in 2010 and is based in Dallas, TX.


BusinessInterviews.com: How did you come up with the concept behind KwikBoost? Can you share how the foundation of the business was planned while fishing out on a lake instead of brainstorming in an office?

Joe & Paul: Well the business has evolved quite a bit from our initial concept. It all started with a project we were involved with while working for our family business. One of their clients, TXU Energy, was looking for a unique sponsorship tool to place inside one of the areas they sponsored at the American Airlines Center here in Dallas, where the Mavericks and Stars play. We threw out the idea of a cell phone charging station for fans to use with a screen for their messaging and they loved it! Now keep in mind this was way back in 2009 when smartphone adoption was around 10­15% (now its around 70%). We would go to games and concerts and see the use these stations were getting and thought to ourselves if the adoption rate keeps spiking, which was inevitable, then charging stations need to be everywhere. We knew there was a business there, we just needed to figure out the model and that’s where fishing came in. At the time, we competed in high level bass fishing tournament trails. Bass fishing is an intense tournament sport, like golf in many ways, and when you compete on a tournament trail you fish different lakes that are all over the state. So leading up to a tournament, we would pre­fish the lakes, sometimes spending 50+ hours fishing a lake prior to the actual tournament. This means a lot of time out on the water and a lot of time to talk through ideas, business models, opportunities, etc. We would record our conversations and then come back and make notes on the key points, ideas, etc. We literally built our business model on a boat with a fishing rod in our hands and now we are reeling in the customers!

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the process of getting your foot in the door to major universities and hospitals? What advice would you give to someone when it comes to giving a great pitch?

Joe & Paul: It wasn’t easy and at first it was just the two of us and we didn’t even have a website. We sat in our conference room and cold called all of the largest universities in the country. We were thorough and persistent and pretty quickly started to get interest and then orders started coming in. Once we knew that college campuses liked the product, we spent the majority of our time focusing on them and really learned how to approach them, who to talk to and how to appeal to them. We pitched the product as a student service, something that was a necessity and would save students days and modernize the campus environment. We had designed the product to be practical and affordable, we kept it simple and customers liked that. All of our competitors were expensive and their products were big and clunky. We also did (and still do!) design work for free. One of the key features of our charging station is the customizable graphic. Customers can customize the billboard graphic to include logos, branding/messaging, anything they like. We quickly learned that if we could offer free design, customers appreciated that and submitted orders and paid faster. The graphic is such a cool feature, but not every customer has the ability or time to design artwork. We built that into our offering and it has paid off.

Eventually we hired a few sales reps to focus on the university market and started thinking about new markets, and felt like hospitals were another type of location where our products were a natural fit. We started with some of the hospitals in Dallas, because we could go visit their facilities and demo the product. We landed accounts with two of the major hospital systems in the DFW area and were off to the races. Now we have an inside team of reps dedicated to the healthcare market and an outside sales force of nearly 40 independent reps.

When it comes to delivering a great pitch there are several factors. First, keep it simple and short (not too short of course). Nobody wants to hear you drone on and on about your product or service. Hit the key points and features and then answer questions. Set the customer up to look smart when they present the idea to their team. You also have to sell yourself. Customers don’t buy from companies, they buy from people. Our customers are not just making an investment in a piece of equipment for their facility, they are making an investment in us. Understand that and design your pitch to communicate that effectively.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some untapped or underdeveloped markets that you’re looking forward to exploring?

Joe & Paul: We love niche markets. The great thing about niche markets is that you can’t find them until you have had enough success in a large market to start to identify the little niches and submarkets that make a ton of sense as well. We have stumbled into niche markets that have created significant revenue for us that you would never even think about unless you were out there, talking to people and learning about the changes and initiatives that take place within a larger market. We sell products and services that you can’t find online or in our standard brochure, because they are so targeted that you can only sell them effectively once you are on the phone or have already worked with a customer and understand their needs better. Many of our competitors rely solely on their online presence and website to sell for them and that is just not sustainable. You have to talk to people, learn about specific and unique customer needs and create offerings that make sense for the customer and your business.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on the significance of having a have a solid VAR channel?

Joe & Paul: When you start to have success with a product, you have a few choices, grow organically and likely stay relatively small, build a large salesforce that you manage, or work with other established companies to sell your products. Our products work really well with value added resellers. If you’re too cheap, they can’t make money with your products and if you’re too expensive, they can’t move your products. Our products are the best of both worlds, affordably priced to the end user, but made cost effectively where we can offer our VAR’s a great margin, which is what incentivizes them to push your product over someone elses. We work with several large and well established companies who are having not only success, but fun selling KwikBoost products. When you build these channels out effectively, pushing new products and services through them becomes easier and products move faster.

BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to a potential client who is contemplating adding a mobile charging space to their facility?

Joe & Paul: Understand your needs and work with the right company to support those needs. We pride ourselves on delivering quality, value and service. If a customer is just looking for the cheapest solution and doesn’t care about quality, value, and service, we probably aren’t the right fit for them. We recognize that our customers are making an investment when they purchase products from us and we have built an infrastructure to support them. Our customer satisfaction levels are through the roof and that is one of the key metrics we use to measure our business. So don’t just buy from the guy who shows up first on Google, do your homework, ask questions and really evaluate the companies you are choosing to do business with.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share some mobile technology trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?

Joe & Paul: There are a lot of really cool things out there. Our goal is to be a charging and power solutions provider regardless of the method that is mainstream at the time. Right now and for the next few years, cabled charging will continue to be very relevant. Wireless charging is a really neat concept, but in it’s current market form, it isn’t very efficient. What we are really looking forward to is true wireless charging, where your device picks up a signal, i.e. WiFi, and charges over the air. We are still a few years away from seeing this type of charging in public, but that is what will change the game. The ‘internet of things’ is a trend that I am personally interested in. The idea that everything will be connected and we will be able to control physical things in our homes, cars, offices, etc. from our mobile device is really cool!

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