Tell us about yourself and what your company does, & how long you've been working on it.
We assist companies in finding the perfect name for their business and help domain portfolio holders maximize their returns on their investments. We also offer brand protection, appraisal, acquisitions, and super-premium brokerage.
What inspired you to start your own company - tell us the story?
I always wanted to start my own business. I remember reading books about writing business plans and launching your own business twenty years ago when I graduated from college. Then getting into the domain business, I had the opportunity to work alongside many entrepreneurs and businesses launching new products. That is not only exciting, but it is inspiring. I love building new products, services, processes, and technology. Making mistakes learning from them and optimizing whatever you are working on. I did that when I Co-Founded Igloo (which sold to BrandIT) and then again with Uniregistry, which recently sold to Godaddy. This time, with Saw.com, WE can apply OUR past experiences as a team and continue to make a great product WE are all already proud of.
How did you decide on your company name and logo?
The advice we give to our clients is to own a short, easy to remember, easy to spell domain name. We believe in our own advice and are taking advantage of it. As for the logo, our Co-Founder, Amanda Waltz, and myself spoke to many families and friends with varying levels of business/life experience. We decided to get away from the saw blade look and go for more of a retail feel. When mixed with our company colors specifically orange, it worked well. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. All of these adjectives fit the people we cater to.
How long did it take from having the idea to your first customers?
It took a few months of hard work behind the scenes. From concept to implementation.
Who were your first customers?
We had a very quiet and soft initial launch. We did not want to open our doors and not be able to accommodate the potential customers we were trying to attract. We had an official launch in about mid-December when Amanda Waltz and I announced our partnership and the business. We did that on one of our perfect friend's blogs, DnJournal. The way we did it attracted a lot of new opportunities to the business right off the bat. It has been a great ride ever since. If you are interested in seeing the post have a look here: http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2019/december.htm
I think this was an important day for our company because it allowed us to verbalize to our industry, and potential future customers exactly what we were trying to accomplish.
What's been a good way of growing your customer base and sales? Can you share a few success stories with us?
As a new business there are a lot of great opportunities that will come across your desk on a regular basis. There are many that seem great, but are not worth your time. One needs to focus on what the core business is, and do everything they can to focus on bringing in new opportunities every day. Those opportunities build over time. They might not happen today, but they will happen. One example is having the opportunity to represent the Future Media Architects Portfolio of names that hold such assets as Ai.com, Media.com, Archive.com, FM.com the list goes on. There are many domain brokers in the world, but they have entrusted us with their portfolio. We have delivered fantastic results they are very happy with. Another example is acquiring the brand, YAK.com, for a new Slack/Zoom application. Brooke Hernandez was successful in bringing buyer and seller together when another brokerage failed to do so in the past.
Can you share some insights that your customers often overlook?
Some of the customers we work with do not always understand the value of what a great domain can bring to their business. It this digital world it is as important as the location of a retail store. Do you want customers to come back? Do you want them to trust the experience? Want them to tell their friends? It all starts with the right domain name.
What did you wish you knew before you started your company? What advice do you have for first-time entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur seems glamorous and you read about the business people who have founded a company and have taken it to amazing heights...That is the goal of every entrepreneur, but you better love what you are getting yourself into. When one starts their own business this is not a job. It is a lifestyle. I find myself handling technology issues, the books, strategy, sales, writing the list goes on. While doing all of this one needs to keep their eye on the prize and that is revenue. Do not get distracted. Stay focused on the core business.
What are trends in your industry that you are excited about?
The opportunities are endless. Domains are the foundation of the majority of new and old businesses. I do not see that changing anytime soon. With this horrible situation we find ourselves shifting more and more online. Companies are realizing that having a great domain is paramount to their success, and many individuals or small business owners are moving online because of this.
What are you looking forward to in the next week/month/quarter or year and what are your aspirations for your company?
I love launching new products, processes and technology. We have many tools that will become available to our salespeople in the near future along with the launch of our blog and a marketplace to showcase the inventory we have for sale.
Any particular books or podcasts you can recommend?
I was asked this question in a recent interview and I am going to give the same answer since I feel so strongly about it:
During a very interesting evening in NYC I had the pleasure to go to a hockey game with the founder of Ancestry.com, the President of the NJ Devils and Chester Elton the author of “Leading with Gratitude.” It is a new book, but I wish I had this earlier in my career. The title speaks for itself. During that hockey game I was lucky enough to hear about the book. Chester told me that the number one reason people leave their jobs in the United States is they do not feel appreciated. Appreciation/Gratitude is just as important as compensation. There are many eye-opening portions of this book that I came across, but here is one quote I will leave you with:
“Developing genuine gratitude involves carefully observing what employees are doing, walking in their shoes, developing greater empathy and sincerely trying to understand the challenges they face. It is about seeing good things happening then expressing appreciation for the right behaviors. On the flip side, manages who lack gratitude suffer, first and foremost, from a problem of cognition – a failure to perceive how hard their people are trying to do good work – and, if they are encountering problems what they are. These ungrateful leaders suffer from information deficit. When we ask them why they are not getting better results they generally have a hard time answering. “
What’s been your biggest challenge in life thus far and how did you overcome it?
I have faced many challenges in my life early on and up until today. There are some that stick out more than others. One of the hardest decisions I ever made was to resign my position from Uniregistry. I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I got to build a domain brokerage with arguably the biggest, most well known domain investor of all time. In my seven years at Uniregistry we went from four to forty sales people and completed hundreds of millions of dollars of sales. I walked away from it. My dream. When I walked away I also walked away from my home, my friends, and left the Cayman Islands. When I left we (my wife, family and I) decided to bet on my ability to launch this business and start back home outside of Boston. Looking back we made the right decision.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Wherever my friends, family, great food, great weather and wonderful music is.