One of the most common frustrations of brands is that online re-sellers are violating their MAP policy. MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Price, which is the lowest price that a seller agrees to display on a product for sale. This can degrade a product, making it difficult for brands to make a profit and protect their brand pricing strategy.
For a brand that has multiple products on multiple channels, it could take all day, every day to check for MAP violations. This is especially true for marketplaces where there are many sellers for one product. That’s where the eCommerce product monitoring company FrigginYeah!, LLC comes in.
FrigginYeah! soft-launched in June 2018 going from 2 clients to 10 in record time. Owner Tom Williams knew he needed low-cost capital to fuel future growth. Here’s how he built his company and his plans to expand.
When describing his company, Williams takes a lighthearted approach. "We're not the Ferrari or the Hyundai in the business,” he laughs. “We're like the BMW.”
Williams is not a new entrepreneur. Before starting Friggin Yeah! he served as the COO of a small venture backed startup company and later as a consultant. His specialty was providing high-level “web scraping” services for clients. Web scraping is a technique employed to extract large amounts of data from websites.
“As a consultant, I started out placing anyone that came to me with web scraping firms,” he says. “I built a network of over 20 firms and knew who was best at what service. During that time, I was interested in the verticals that were the most underserved. That’s how I decided where to build a business.”
Williams also noted that many firms were, quite simply, terrible. After a bad experience with a firm, one of his clients came to him and said that if he built a system, they would become his first customer.
“I fired the firm they were working with and told the brand I would build a platform for them in 90 days.” Williams quickly went from a one-man-show to hiring 25 people.
His team built an eCommerce product monitoring platform from the ground up to help brands turn data into action. Their price monitoring software helps brands increase revenue, reduce costs and quality check eCommerce product listings.
“We’re essentially the brand’s police force by searching through a tremendous amount of data to show where their product is being sold under the minimum advertised price,” Williams reports.
In the beginning, Williams was able to bootstrap the business himself.
“The capital requirements for a new business are huge. I went from consulting to having 40 servers and multiple employees. It’s scary to be responsible for customers, paychecks and vendors.”
Williams knew that low-cost funds could help him continue to build out his business. He came across SmartBiz Loans and started an application for a low-cost $200,000 SBA loan. His SBA loan was funded in about three weeks.
SmartBiz Loan Consultant Chris Carlson worked closely with Williams on his application.
"Tom was great to work with and everything you would expect from someone who helps other businesses maximize their potential. He was organized, understood the documentation involved with this kind of request, and knew his business inside and out. It was easy to see why FrigginYeah! has been growing steadily since their launch."
With funds from the SBA loan, Williams is looking to expand his team. Previously depending on word-of-mouth to attract new customers, he’s hired a Business Development Representative to open new channels.
“We’ve been reactive and that was working initially. Now we can be proactive. We’ll able to target companies and start a campaign to bring them on board.” Currently FrigginYeah! has 10 customers and the current target goal is to bring 50 on board.
Williams is also using funds from the SBA loan to increase his Search Engine Marketing and pay-per-click online campaigns.
“My SEM team just increased the budget for Google AdWords and we’re identifying new channels to find customers,” he says.
Growing a business quickly comes with challenges.
“You have the idea of flexibility because you can do things you wouldn’t normally be able to do time wise,” he says. “On the flip side you lose flexibility. At 10 pm last night I was sending out invoices. When you start a business you don’t realize how much of that support structure you have at an established business. I haven’t just worn many hats, I’ve worn all the hats.”
Finally, how did the unique business name originate? “It’s simply how people respond when they start getting valuable data around their brands products,” he says.
Best of luck to FrigginYeah! as they continue to grow!