As a bootstrapped company with a passion for innovation, solving problems with creativity is what UniteGPS does best. Take our mapping software, for example. When we launched in 2014, what was the first logical thing for us to acquire? Maps. Naturally, we contacted the people at Google who expected $40,000 per year to access their solution.
On one hand, we could invest $40,000 with an off-the-shelf Google solution. On the other, we could use those funds to develop specific features that actual customers were requesting while using creativity to solve the rest.
The decision was easy because we weren’t willing to pay that much to Google. As a logical alternative, we at UniteGPS started evaluating over 25 other potential solutions. Since Google controls 92% of the market for search, though, that dominance has extended to their mapping solution to the extent that it occupies the mind space of practically every user worldwide.
Solving Problems with Creativity: Mapping
Over the years, UniteGPS has seen this dominance in RFPs that unnecessarily call for the overpriced “Google Maps” solution when there are equally effective alternatives, such as Mapbox. Soon enough, our evaluation revealed many worthy mapping solutions available for a fraction of the cost of Google Maps.
In fact, Google’s dominance of the map sphere seems to be a function of advertising rather than product superiority. Similar to the way Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch differentiate themselves from equally good substitute products.
The point is: we solved the need for maps at less than 5% of Google’s $40,000 price tag. Ultimately, these savings lowered our overhead compared to most competitors who opted to solve the mapping problem with expedience and cash.
Solving Problems with Creativity: Design Example
Early in our company evolution, we also needed professional design and branding. At first, we connected with a graphic designer aspiring to be the next Andy Warhol. He developed scribble sketches that were expensive, time-consuming, and did not fit.
Meanwhile, the former Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi said that we were wasting our resources and directed us to the crowdfunding platform, Design Crowd. Per his suggestion, we made a Design Crowd account, and in fifteen minutes, acquired a deck that explained our company’s mission and design guidelines built around our logo.
Since Design Crowd shares the brief with competing designers, the silver lining here is that we leveraged valuable input from hundreds of participants. In turn, this gave us great confidence that we were making the right decision with the final selection of our logo.
In the end, the contest costed around $300, which was cheaper and 10 times faster than the previous designer’s work. By the way, we also linked-up with Hatchwise to develop a professional PowerPoint presentation with equally impressive results.
Solving Problems with Creativity: Solution Design & Testing Example
When it comes to ideas to improve software, there is no shortage of UniteGPS customers providing insightful feedback. After all, they are streamlining operations thanks to our solutions. Who better to suggest the next incremental improvement than them?
Not only do customers provide wonderful input but are also willing to review and test prototypes. This way, everything is contingent upon their final seal of approval. Depending upon the level of development effort required, we provide new features we develop to every client for little to no cost. The value of customer in-kind contributions is tremendous.
Some of our clients are transit agencies and school districts, so we also understand that some might be more familiar with manual systems. No need to worry if you aren’t super tech savvy or easily frustrated by technology. The UniteGPS team promotes a culture of patience and understand that extends to clients. Better yet, we’re completely willing to get into the weeds when things require extra training or explanation.
Listening, Patience, Understanding, Continual Improvement
In summary, UniteGPS is a tried and true company working in the real world, planning solution enhancements in genuine partnership with our clients. Cost-conscious investments when developing solutions will always be our top priority.
Listening to customers and incorporating their suggestions is our most important ingredient to success. Thanks to their feedback, we have been able to make Crosswalk K-12 and Town Transit all the more valuable. Whether by always answering the phone, knowing customers by name, or solving rather than exacerbating problems, clients receive personalized assistance when choosing UniteGPS.
-CEO Christopher Bunnell
“Bootstrapping in business means starting a business without external help or capital. Such startups fund the development of their company through internal cash flow and are cautious with their expenses. Generally at the start of a venture, a small amount of money gets set aside for bootstrap process.”What is bootstrapping?