Launching A Business With Cold Calling With Shane Neman of EZ Texting & Neman Ventures

Launching A Business With Cold Calling With Shane Neman of EZ Texting & Neman Ventures

Last Updated on September 8, 2021

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About Shane Neman

Throughout my academic and professional career I’ve always focused on solving problems through software and technology. I was fascinated early on by the application of computers to biology and medicine which led me to pursue a degree in Computer Science and Pre-Med at New York University. Following a summer internship at the NASA biology labs at JFK Space Center, I enrolled at NYU Medical School. With the Internet boom of the late 90’s unfolding around me I couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon and working for an Internet startup. I left Medical school and took a position as lead developer of NYC-based Convey, one of the first blogging systems for publishers – long before the word “blog” even existed. Shortly thereafter I gathered a number of my close high school and college buddies to start our own Internet venture. Offyx was born and was a web portal designed to deliver applications through the cloud using Citrix technology. It was our attempt to leverage computing and eliminate the need for IT staff for SMBs. It would turn out that Offyx was too early to market, but the experience taught me what I needed to know to move forward with confidence to my next venture. In a pre-Facebook, MySpace and EventBrite era I founded JoonBug: a suite of software solutions that married all aspects of the offline events world with the digital world. I spent the next eight years building the company to $25 million-plus in annual revenues and over 75 employees. We were first to market with technologies such as online photo purchasing and social sharing, exhaustive event databases, location-specific email newsletters, and e-ticketing systems. We also delved into large-scale event production, executing over 300 events annually, with over 100,000 total attendees.

About EZ Texting & Neman Ventures

EZ Texting is a SaaS company that delivers the fastest, easiest and most reliable way to connect. It has served over 160,000 customers and is the #1 SMS platform for business users, setting the standard for business texting. Our messaging solutions allow businesses to quickly and effectively reach and engage their mobile audiences. With employees around the world, EZ Texting is continuously recognized as a Best Place to Work, as well as a top product for small and mid-market businesses. I started it in 2005 because I was looking for a solution to send text messages to customers of another business that I owned and no matter how much I google it and spent days searching I couldn’t find an easy to use and out of the box software solution to do so. There were some companies like Constant Contact and Mailchimp that had similar platforms that worked for email, but nobody was doing it for SMS! Even though it didn’t exist I knew there had a to be a solution even though I

How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?

I started in 2005 so it was the hold school method of picking up the phone and calling as many businesses that I could in one day and setting up demo’s of our software with them. I had realized through a lot of trial and error that if I was able to get a business owner to demo it, then the odds of them to signing up and the deal closing was over 80%! So I had to figure out the most efficient way to setup as many demos as possible and that included refining my sales pitch down to a one sentence email intro that caught the attention of the business owner. It took about a month but after trying some variations of my opening line for cold calls and emails, I found the perfect pitch. Once that happened I was able to hit my stride and within a few months we had our first 100 customers. From then we realized the most efficient way of getting customers would be through SEO, SEM and digital advertising where customers were able to go through a self-directed signup process and free trial the product. That’s a whole art in itself that has to be constantly refined. However, speaking to customers and getting a feel for what they wanted was key to figuring out how to market our software.

How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?

EZ Texting uses several marketing techniques that include digital ads, search engine marketing, social media advertising, and search engine optimization to acquire new customers who can signup for a free trial. But that’s only part of the battle. EZ Texting strives to make it’s software so easy and delightful to use by business owners that they look forward to using. It also doesn’t hurt that SMS is considered the most effective customer communications channel with over 90% of text messages opened and read recipients. EZ Texting also has a world class support and customer success team that helps it’s customers succeed. As a business owner you can pickup the phone and instantly talk to an EZ Texting community manager or you can chat online or email with them.

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?

For the past few years the majority of my time has been dedicated to thinking about risk and how to control or leverage it to the maximum extent possible. In my early years as an entrepreneur I was mostly assessing risk using my gut and also not realizing to take into consideration that there are many things that I don’t know that I don’t know! However now (after several years of intense studying, reading, watching and obsessing about this subject, my approach to assessing and thinking about risk has significantly changed.

What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?

Sure here are 2 things I wish someone had told me before I started and applies to any business venture – not just tech startups: 1. Don’t Take Anything Personally I stole this one from the book “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz. It’s one of the four principles that the book is founded on that help you lead a more enjoyable and happy life. I read it for the first time about 8 years ago and it had such a profound impact on my psyche, that I make it a point to re-read it every year when the new year rolls around. When I was a young entrepreneur, I would take everything that was said to me to heart. It didn’t matter who was saying it, but if it was any sort of criticism, I would spend hours perpetually over-analyzing and thinking about it and oftentimes lose a whole night of sleep. For example, when I started EZ Texting in 2005, a lot of my friends and colleagues would tell me that my idea was crap and that SMS was old technology and I should be focusing on things like in-app messaging or a messaging app. I even had one of my own family members laugh at me after showing them the beta version of the software I created and I told her I was going to charge 5 cents per text message for businesses to use it. She chuckled and said I should go and focus on big money instead of pennies if I wanted to become successful. Even though I didn’t end up listening to any of them, I did spend a lot of time and energy doubting myself and worrying about what others thought of me and my business. It took a lot of practice, experience, and a magical book like the “Four Agreements” to help me overcome that struggle. In the end, they were all wrong! SMS usage continues to grow at a rate of 20% a year and has the largest read and open rates that far exceed any other communications channel currently available. 2. It’s Risky Business For the past few years, the majority of my time has been dedicated to thinking about risk and how to control or leverage it to the maximum extent possible. When I was just starting out, I was assessing risk using my gut and not taking into consideration that there are many things that I don’t know that I don’t know! That led to a lot of bad decision making. However now (after several years of intense studying, reading, watching, and obsessing about this subject), my approach to assessing and thinking about risk has significantly changed. Now that I am older (44) and run my own Venture fund called Neman Ventures, I am naturally much more careful and risk averse unless I can find an asymmetrical business deal where the upside risk is much more than the downside risk. Through studying others that are gifted at gauging risk and my own experiences, it’s become more and more obvious to me that the only way to manage risk (and more importantly be successful at it), is the ability to do several things well including: – Remove your emotions from the equation (this has been the hardest challenge for me to overcome and I am still struggling with it!). In many instances learning to control your emotions is even more important than being smart and working hard. – Be alright with saying “No” to most opportunities if they don’t meet your risk profile/tolerance – no matter how exciting and full of potential it might be. Remember the quote: “The more you know, the less you diversify.” I’d rather have a handful of winners in a small concentrated but well thought out and risk profiled portfolio than a huge unmanageable portfolio of investments or deals that would likely not even give me the same returns. – Don’t be fooled by the outcomes of your decisions. Don’t become overconfident just because you made a good investment or decision, since it might have more to do with luck than your ability. On the other hand, don’t become too hesitant to take another risk on a deal where the odds are in your favor just because you were burned on a similar deal before. – Always leave chips on the table to be able to recover if you are wrong – i.e. Don’t go totally “ALL IN” – ever!

What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?

Sure here are 2 things I wish someone had told me before I started and applies to any business venture – not just tech startups: 1. Don’t Take Anything Personally I stole this one from the book “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz. It’s one of the four principles that the book is founded on that help you lead a more enjoyable and happy life. I read it for the first time about 8 years ago and it had such a profound impact on my psyche, that I make it a point to re-read it every year when the new year rolls around. When I was a young entrepreneur, I would take everything that was said to me to heart. It didn’t matter who was saying it, but if it was any sort of criticism, I would spend hours perpetually over-analyzing and thinking about it and oftentimes lose a whole night of sleep. For example, when I started EZ Texting in 2005, a lot of my friends and colleagues would tell me that my idea was crap and that SMS was old technology and I should be focusing on things like in-app messaging or a messaging app. I even had one of my own family members laugh at me after showing them the beta version of the software I created and I told her I was going to charge 5 cents per text message for businesses to use it. She chuckled and said I should go and focus on big money instead of pennies if I wanted to become successful. Even though I didn’t end up listening to any of them, I did spend a lot of time and energy doubting myself and worrying about what others thought of me and my business. It took a lot of practice, experience, and a magical book like the “Four Agreements” to help me overcome that struggle. In the end, they were all wrong! SMS usage continues to grow at a rate of 20% a year and has the largest read and open rates that far exceed any other communications channel currently available. 2. It’s Risky Business For the past few years, the majority of my time has been dedicated to thinking about risk and how to control or leverage it to the maximum extent possible. When I was just starting out, I was assessing risk using my gut and not taking into consideration that there are many things that I don’t know that I don’t know! That led to a lot of bad decision making. However now (after several years of intense studying, reading, watching, and obsessing about this subject), my approach to assessing and thinking about risk has significantly changed. Now that I am older (44) and run my own Venture fund called Neman Ventures, I am naturally much more careful and risk averse unless I can find an asymmetrical business deal where the upside risk is much more than the downside risk. Through studying others that are gifted at gauging risk and my own experiences, it’s become more and more obvious to me that the only way to manage risk (and more importantly be successful at it), is the ability to do several things well including: – Remove your emotions from the equation (this has been the hardest challenge for me to overcome and I am still struggling with it!). In many instances learning to control your emotions is even more important than being smart and working hard. – Be alright with saying “No” to most opportunities if they don’t meet your risk profile/tolerance – no matter how exciting and full of potential it might be. Remember the quote: “The more you know, the less you diversify.” I’d rather have a handful of winners in a small concentrated but well thought out and risk profiled portfolio than a huge unmanageable portfolio of investments or deals that would likely not even give me the same returns. – Don’t be fooled by the outcomes of your decisions. Don’t become overconfident just because you made a good investment or decision, since it might have more to do with luck than your ability. On the other hand, don’t become too hesitant to take another risk on a deal where the odds are in your favor just because you were burned on a similar deal before. – Always leave chips on the table to be able to recover if you are wrong – i.e. Don’t go totally “ALL IN” – ever!

What Are Your Favorite Books?

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz Open by Andre Agassi Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

Anything You’d Like To Plug?

Yes I’ve started a new venture called 411Rx.com which is the first ever Chatbot for prescription coupons. There is a web version of the chatbot but what is very interesting is that it is the first RCS based chat bot that will be available through the built-in text messaging app on all android phones in the USA. We have already launched on T-Mobile and will be launching on AT&T, Verizon and Tracfone during the course of 2021.

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