As player-turned-board-member of an amateur rugby club, I know first-hand how challenging it can be for sports groups to generate cash.
Now, as the co-founder of an e-commerce platform launched earlier this year, I’m out to try and change that.
Tech start-up Kitvendr enables community sports clubs to sell their own branded apparel on a ‘made-to-order’ basis with no upfront costs.
Clubs that sign up receive their own bespoke online store and product range, from which customers can directly order items of branded clothing with the club earning commission from every sale.
Kitvendr has experienced a period of rapid growth, investing in new production machinery and moving into larger premises just three months after launching.
Among the first clients have been British Ice Hockey – part of a national sports media group – alongside a string of Scottish rugby and rugby sevens clubs, and community sports groups.
It’s been a busy and exciting time, and a chance to make new discoveries and learning points. Here’s some of the valuable points I’ve picked up on.
Find a good CTO (Chief Technology Officer)
This is not my first tech business but one lesson I have learned from previous ventures is that having a co-founder with the expertise to build and continually develop your product is essential. Especially with more complex applications.
Have a clear idea of your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Many tech businesses have a tendency to continually refine and develop the application before launch. It can be difficult to know when it is 'ready' for the market. There is always a balance to be struck but having a minimum viable product defined at the outset ensures that you don't add features that your customers neither want nor need. When you develop further features, feedback from your early adopters can then inform future developments.
Have a brand strategy and respect it
In a nutshell, branding is what others perceive of your business from its design and messaging. It’s easy to pay lip service to branding but when you look at most successful tech start-ups, as important as it is to have a good application that people want to use, it's often the businesses that really nail down their brand strategy that succeed where others do not. Think things through and be consistent; everything you publish reflects back on your business.
Delegate where you can
Something I am guilty of is wanting to do everything myself. As a start-up it is almost inevitable that you will be pulled in all directions, but it is important to understand that this is not a productive way to operate if you want to be successful.
Be prepared for setbacks
Since we began developing our platform we have made numerous wrong decisions and had several set-backs. Although it has been frustrating it’s important to realise it’s just part of the process. Learn from it and move on!
Kitvendr supplies high quality caps, beanie hats, scarves, t-shirts and bobble hats and hoodies branded to a club’s own specifications. Clubs choose what merchandise they want and can be set up on the platform within seven days. For more information, visit www.kitvendr.com.
Written by Rangi Jericevich, co-founder of Kitvendr
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