We’ve all heard of Airbnb and Uber, but did you know the sharing economy now encompasses baby gear too? That’s right! Say you’re visiting New York City but don’t have room in your luggage for a stroller, car seat, or Pak n Play. With goBaby’s app, you can just input the dates that you’re traveling and the type you need to see rental options and book it just like you would on AirBnB.
Natalie Kaminski is founder and CEO of goBaby, a fast-growing company that is already operating nationally, without needing to take on funding. We caught up with Natalie at the first-ever Salesforce SMB Basecamp event, held in New York last month. The event included a pitch contest, where fledgling businesses competed for a $10,000 cash prize and a placement on Inc.com. After hearing Natalie’s success story, it’s no surprise that she took home first prize.
I realized how hard it is to travel without essential items when we took a family trip to Chicago. I thought that I would rent a car and a car seat once we arrived, but getting hold of a seat proved difficult. All baby-gear services required advanced reservations. We ended up having to buy a car seat from a store and return it at the end of our trip. This made me wonder why there were no better options, especially now that we have all these other on-demand apps and services, such as Uber and Airbnb. Thus, the idea for goBaby was born!
There was a lot of great information there, but the most empowering thing for me was getting validation of my idea and a reward for the hard work my team has put into this product over the past year. I also learned that I can be a good presenter when I need to be. There was a technical glitch that left me without my well-prepared and rehearsed presentation, so I had to improvise a bit. It was fun.
I think that the most important is to believe in your own idea, but to also welcome critiques. There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance, and sometimes entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that they have it all covered when the don’t. When it comes to the pitch itself, you have to come prepared. You have to anticipate difficult questions and have the answers ready, or at very least demonstrate that you are in the process of searching for the answer. Be concise and present your idea right away—don’t waste half of your pitch time on gimmicks and humor. Just go out there and let people know what problem you are solving, how, and why.
First and foremost you have to be okay with failure. Of course you should do everything you can to avoid it, but deep inside you should be okay with your business not taking off. This will make it easier to take risks. Often times people are too cautious and miss on big opportunities because they are afraid to take risks and fail. You also need to listen to feedback. As the case with anything new, some people will love your idea and others will hate it. You should never ignore the latter, because their feedback can show you how to improve your product and win more customers.
We will continue our focus on the product. We want to offer our users on both ends of the marketplace a seamless, worry-free experience, so we have a lot of work ahead of us. We would like to be able to offer insurance, improve quality and safety control of the listed items, and offer on-demand delivery. We are also looking at how tools like Salesforce can help us with sales, analytics, and customer support as we grow.
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