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The St. Louis area is turning into a hotspot for startups and there are many good reasons why.  With plenty of office space that can be had cheaply, low cost of living with established capital investment groups moving to the area, it’s becoming quite attractive for people who are looking to realize their dreams.

A St. Louis Startup Was Great To Work With – Teluga

Startups can be any type of business but when you hear startup now, many people think of the tech industry and success stories like LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, and more. These businesses typically have the challenge of building a product, creating the marketing behind it, and then making it sell.  As a business owner, I consider this to be a pretty significant undertaking.  Startups often need different parts to this puzzle and we have had the good fortune of working with a few local startups to facilitate these needs.

According to a study by ITEN, 70% of the tech startups here are founded by St. Louis natives.  One of our clients, Telugo, was founded by Jon Dobson who is part of that group. He came up with the idea of a loyalty points system similar to a “buy 10 get one free” punch card you get at stores. The benefit of Telugo is that customers have an easy way to manage the points they earn and retailers get insights into this loyalty. The store only needs the QR codes printed out to run the program, no tablets or devices are necessary.  As of now the system is free and is featured in about 60 local St. Louis businesses.

Jon came to us with a need of establishing a look and feel for the brand as well as create the marketing website. After this was finished we began work on the systems that would help run Telugo, including a backend management area for businesses to control their loyalty program, the iPhone and Android applications for the users, and then after that more administrative tools for greater control over the user base. This process included a lot of considerations along the way and this is certainly a consolidated list. Considering a startup? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What Do I Need To Get Started?

There are a million questions branching off of this one but one key thing to getting your startup launched quickly is scaling back your idea to its core functionality. You don’t need to launch with a million features and in fact, that can hurt you. There’s plenty of time to add features as your audience grows and keeping the feature count low can help when scaling your application or service.

How Should I Charge For My Service And When?

It’s all in what best fits your product and your market.  The freemium model works well for many startups because it offers a group of people the option of trying your product with adding service and support options at a cost.  You can make your product free for consumers but charge for businesses or the other way around.  Even keeping your product free and supporting it with ad revenue is a great option, but again, it has to be a good fit for who you are targeting and be appealing enough to gain a healthy user base.  Getting plenty of people using your product can help your appeal to investors.

What’s The Best Way To Get Exposure?

Free exposure is nice and takes as much as you can get. Telugo was unique because it took convincing business, usually in person, that they needed this service, and wooing them by offering it for free certainly helped.  Word-of-mouth is a great way to get your startup noticed and after businesses started picking up Telugo, people started looking for it, telling their friends, and most importantly, requesting it where they shopped.  If you are creating something helpful that people want, encourage them to tell their friends, incentives referrals, and engage your users on social media.  There are a million ways to get noticed but getting advocates will help tremendously.

Once you’ve conceptualized your dream, give us a call. We love working with startups around the city! We’ll work with you to help solidify your vision and turn it into a reality.

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Categories:  St. Louis Website Design

About the Author

Cullen Whitmore


Cullen is a master of process and is relentlessly monitoring the emerging development and engagement trends, UX best practices and platform capabilities. His passion is to architect and develop custom solutions and processes that empower our clients to grow their businesses.

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