Last Updated on November 19, 2020
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About Evian Gutman
I am the Founder and CEO of two start-ups. The first, Ringcommend, is Australia’s leading marketplace for engagement rings. The second, Padlifter, is the world’s largest marketplace of short-term rental service providers.
Prior to that I was a management consultant as well as Head of Digital Marketing for a global business consulting firm. My work experience spans North America, Oceania and the Middle East.
I hold a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of International Studies degrees, as well as Graduate Certificates in Public Policy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Outside of work, I am an avid runner and enjoy competing in middle-distance races. I also enjoy scuba-diving in exotic locations, which is supported by my passion for traveling throughout the developing world.
I currently reside in Australia where I also assist small businesses with growth strategies.
Like many good ideas, Ringcommend was created to solve a problem that didn’t yet have a solution.
When I proposed to my (now) wife, I thought the task of finding an engagement ring would be relatively simple and straightforward.
I was wrong.
I spent two months looking into my different options. I spoke to fourteen different jewellers. I looked at over fifty different rings.
I ended up purchasing a ring that was way out of my budget. I learnt that I could have got the same ring for $2,500 cheaper only a few weeks later.
I knew there had to be a better way… so I created Ringcommend.
I became relentlessly fixated with making sure that other hopeless romantics just like me were
saved from the headaches and hassles that I went through. I became unwaveringly determined to provide guys in my shoes with a high-end engagement ring at rock-bottom prices.
I teamed-up with Waldo Perez – an industry veteran with nearly half a century of
multi-generational jewellery experience. Over the last decade alone, Waldo has delivered more than 500 engagement rings to happy customers.
Ringcommend have now become the one-stop-shop for finding the perfect engagement ring at a fraction of its retail price, and in less time than it takes to make a coffee.
- 1 How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?
- 2 How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?
- 3 What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?
- 4 What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?
- 5 What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?
- 6 What Are Your Favorite Books?
- 7 Anything You’d Like To Plug?
How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?
Like many startups, our first few customers came from word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family. However sitting alongside this we had both a short-term and long-term digital marketing strategy.
The short-term strategy focused primarily on SEM to achieve some ‘quick-wins’.
The long-term strategy focused primarily on SEO and link-building to create sustainable marketing goals long into the future.
Over time, the fusion of these two strategies backed up with increasing familiarity of our brand has created a virtuous cycle that led to exponential growth of our sales.
In less than 12 months we have tripled our enquiries conversion rate and doubled our sales conversion rate.
How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?
We invest heavily in word-of-mouth referrals as the cornerstone of our marketing and sales effort. To do this, we place a strong emphasis on reviews, ratings and social proof.
Customers naturally place greater trust in the thoughts and opinions of their contemporaries, and if someone has had a positive experience with our business, we encourage those individuals to share that around.
We’ve formalized this with a Refer-a-Friend program, which incentivizes both a giver and receiver of the referral to share the love and make a purchase.
The beauty of referral marketing supported by a likable and trustworthy brand, is that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that continues to grow off its own steam as time goes on.
What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?
Carve out a niche.
Despite what mass media would lead us to believe, you don’t need to be the creator of the iPhone, or Facebook or the electric car to have something unique to offer the world.
Some ideas simply do what’s always been done but cheaper or better. Some ideas come along and try tackle an existing problem from a slightly different angle. And yes, some ideas are brand new and revolutionary in what they have to offer the world.
Wherever your idea sits on this spectrum is far less important than why YOU and YOUR BUSINESS are uniquely positioned to offer your customers something they simply can’t get from anyone else.
What that something is will be entirely up to you.
Are you better? Faster? Cheaper? Friendlier? More available? The possibilities are endless. What matters is why customers should choose you over others.
Understand your competition and what makes you different, but focus on what makes YOU great—not them.
What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?
The best products, prices and processes amount to nothing if they aren’t backed up by the best people. You need to surround yourself with a team made up of kind, capable and tenacious individuals that are a pleasure for your customers to deal with, and embody the values you want your business to represent.
What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy for what they called his “misfortune.”
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
(CREDIT: New Ventures West: https://www.newventureswest.com/real-lesson-taoist-farmer-story)
The best thing that happened to me on my founder’s journey was not having my early startups succeed. I learned invaluable lessons from these experiences that I thought were adversities at the time, but turned out to have fueled the success of future entrepreneurial endeavors that did succeed.
What Are Your Favorite Books?
My favourite book is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. For anyone that hasn’t read it, it may just be the single best use of one hour of your time. It is an insightful, inspiring and instructive book about striving for self-perfection and eliminating the obstacles that stand in your way.
Anything You’d Like To Plug?
Ringcommend (https://ringcommend.com.au) helps hopeless romantics find top-end engagement rings at wholesale prices. With incredible savings, a massive selection, and rapid turnaround times—Ringcommend are your one-stop-shop for finding your perfect engagement ring without breaking the bank.
- From A Small Farm Village In China To Successful Entrepreneur With Jing He
- Building 6 Million Dollar Companies With Stephen Halasnik
- Building A Site With Over 1M Job Postings With Doane Baber
Book summaries, notes, interviews, and more!
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