We’ve officially been launched for about two weeks and it has been way busier than I could’ve expected but really great. I thought I would document some of the early-days efforts being made and things that have been happening over these past couple weeks. But first, have a look at the number of daily unique users coming to check out Anikio (on the right)! It’s exciting to have progress like this as we try to spread the word around Saskatoon about our efforts to make the process of renting a bit better.
There has been a lot of effort on my part, getting in touch with landlords, going to properties and shooting virtual tours and free photos, and so on, but I really do want to thank all the great friends, family, and new supporters that have been spreading the word to their own friends and families about what we’re trying to do here. That word of mouth has, at the end of the day, been what has really helped get us off the ground. Please keep it up and don’t hesitate to give any landlords or tenants you know my information – I will help them however I can!
Anyway, progress aside, here are some of the other cool things that have been happening these first two weeks:
Well, the first thing is I finally got my business cards printed and delivered – and I love them. It feels a little more official to have a business card now. I struggled a bit with what my title should be, though. Owner? CEO? Manager? Developer? President? His Royal Highness? You want to convey that you are responsible for the company without seemingly over-inflating your own importance. I mean, it’s not like I have a 300-person team that I’m organizing or managing. In the end I stuck with founder. Partly because I like the symmetry with “Find it.” Find it? Found ‘er!
My good friend, Darren Bielecki, created the design from his home in Kamsack. This might be a good time to talk about the logo as well. That started out as sketches that my fiancée, soon to be wife, Krystal sketched on loose-leaf when I first came up with the name a few months ago. The ‘A’ house was all her. Initially, the ‘O’ was going to be a key, but it was hard to make that look good and then it hit me that I could make it into a magnifying glass. And from those sketches and ideas, Darren created the digital version of the logos that you see all over the site today.
Of course I believe that having a site dedicated to the rental market is going to provide a better experience for all involved. The search filtering and listing of rental units by relevance to a tenant’s needs instead of by newest listing is, I think, a big step forward from what was being done before we came around. The next step is to make sure that the listings on Anikio offer the best possible experience for the landlords and tenants. With that in mind, I bought a 360-degree camera to shoot virtual tours of rental properties. Virtual tours let tenants get a better idea of how suitable a property is before they even reach out to the landlord, and on their own schedule. And they save time going to viewings only to discover that the space isn’t what they thought it was from the photos. This also saves the landlord (and potentially the current tenants) time by further qualifying tenants before spending time driving across town to show a suite. Of course a real-life viewing will always be needed, but the tenant should be much more serious by then.
All this is to say, I’ve shot 6 different virtual tours for various properties in the last week or so and had a lot of fun doing it and seeing the end results. (Here’s one of my favourites). Plus, I’ve got to meet some great landlords that really are looking at ways to make the overall experience better and have been very supportive. It’s quite a different thing, shooting 360 degrees, because there’s nowhere for the photographer to hide. You could make a game out of trying to guess my hiding spots or spotting a shadow here or there, or, in one case, a stack of business cards that I left on the counter. I also had to do some work to make my logo appear correctly in the 3D world by warping it as though being viewed through a fisheye lens.
Social Media Marketing
My cousin Constantin owns and operates Buy-Sell-Find New & Used Restaurant Equipment. He’s been growing that from nothing into an impressive operation over the past 2 years and was good enough to invite me in to listen to Chuck from Saskatoon UpClose talk about marketing strategies. I’m sure he’d cringe at all the text in this blog, but I’m a bit under the weather today and don’t want to subject the world to a video of that! Anyway, there’ve been a lot of good ideas and information from the first two sessions and I will have a couple more next week as well. We did shoot a few videos/snippets that I’ll start posting here as I get time to edit them – one thing’s for sure, I have more ideas than time or money to implement them!
So, that’s been a small sample of what these first couple weeks have been like. Thanks again for spreading the word! Everyone knows at least one landlord even if you don’t realize it!