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November 10, 2021


Hey, there - how you doin’?

The holidays are hectic for everyone - but especially for business leaders like yourself. So, we just want to take a moment and check in on how you're doing. How you're really doing.

Friends gif - Joey "How You Doin'"

If you have a few minutes, we'd love to ask you a few questions. And we put them in a survey so you can answer at your leisure. 

But fair warning: we'll be highlighting a handful of businesses who respond by this Friday (so get your answers in early for a chance at some free PR). 

Thanks in advance for sharing - we can't wait to hear all about your small business holiday experience!

PS - We're giving away $100 worth of swag to 3 random people who fill out the survey. Please note: you must fill out the full survey to qualify.


Goodbye corporate world, hello $750M barbershop app

Before Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant founded Squire Technologies in 2015, they worked in the corporate world. LaRon was a lawyer at a prestigious firm. And Salvant worked in finance. But they knew they wanted to start a business together. 

And when the two men noticed the rise in popularity of online restaurant booking systems like OpenTable, they saw an opportunity. They’d bring the convenience of online reservations to barbershops. So, LaRon and Salvant started Squire, a booking app exclusively for barbershops.

Squire co-founders in a barbershop
The co-founders of Squire Technologies (Source: Forbes)

Neither of them had ever worked in a barbershop before. In fact, neither had ever run a small business. But they wanted to understand their customer base and how these shops operated. 

So, just as their app was getting off the ground, the two men used $20k of their total $60k self-investment to buy a failing barbershop in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market. They worked the front desk, swept the floors, and talked to customers. The only thing they couldn’t do was cut hair (New York requires licenses for barbers).

LaRon and Salvant soon realized that barbershops needed more than just an online appointment booking service. The two learned that the business is more than just sitting customers in a chair for a haircut by running a barbershop themselves. 

For example, shops don’t just hire barbers - they rent chairs out, and each barber sets their own hours and prices. Managing different barbers also involves different cuts of revenue from each one. And having tips in cash and credit just adds to the complexity of a typical barbershop business.

The men realized their app needed to assist barbershop owners with these issues, not add a new complication to cut away. So, they expanded Squire’s services beyond bookings.

Identity gif - barber peaking over customer's head

Today, 2,800+ barbershops in the US, UK, and Canada use Squire for booking and payment services. Plus, the app deals with receipt handling for individual barbers, tip payments, and chair rentals. All for a subscription fee of $100 to $250 per month, depending on what services barbershops want to include.

Last year, the company made about $4M in revenue - and that’s after they waived subscription payments during the pandemic when most barbershops temporarily closed down. 

Today, the company is currently on track to reach $12M in revenue. And this past July, Squire Technologies raised $60M at a $750M valuation.

Now, LaRon and Salvant are hard at work to continue improving Squire. That means partnering with more barbershops and adding more service offerings to the app. For the two men, the proof of their success won’t just be about revenue. It’s about how many barbershops they can help.

👉 Check out Squire’s story.


How Loom made async work comms “a thing”

Months ago, the world nodded in agreement when Stanford researchers acknowledged that "Zoom Fatigue" was a real thing. And only 17% of people prefer having virtual meetings over, say, sending an email or syncing on Slack. 

But only 7% of a message is derived from words, while the rest is from the speaker's tone and body language. Meaning, a lot of the nuances get lost when teams opt for email or Slack instead.

Drake meme - Loom over Zoom

That's where Loom comes in. During the pandemic, Loom has gained traction as everybody's favorite video and screen recorder. And today, it's valued at $1.53B with 14M+ users.

The tool's biggest claim to fame is its popularization of asynchronous ("async" for short) video. AKA pre-recorded video messages that make sharing ideas with people who aren't online easy. 

Async videos have become one of the most popular ways for hybrid teams to communicate. In fact, more than 50% of business folks currently use async videos to talk to their team. 

And since 2016, over 100M+ Loom videos have been created and shared. Meaning, Loom is giving new meaning to "did this have to be a meeting?"

That's because Loom easily documents the entire conversation, so teams can refer back to key points. And in a world filled with push notifications and virtual distractions, async video increase productivity. That's because a half-hour meeting can be replaced by a 3-minute video without leaving out any important details. 

But Loom isn't the only async communication tool coming for Zoom. In September 2021, Slack launched its new Clips feature (basically a copycat of Loom). And in the same month, Dropbox added async video features to its platform.

But it's not surprising that competition is popping up. Especially because as most employees refuse to come to the office full-time, asynchronous communication is likely here to stay.

So, next time someone tries getting you on an impromptu Zoom call, ask for a Loom instead. It might just save you time and keep you from feeling "Zoom'd out."

PS - While this isn't an ad, we’ll mention that we love Loom and use it every day here at Trainual! (We even offer a free Loom integration - just saying.)


How to add Quora to your marketing strategy

What sounds like a better marketing strategy: interrupting someone scrolling social media with your ads? Or talking to someone who is actively searching for the solution that your company solves?

Spongebob Squarepants gif - Patrick and Spongebob thinking

If you’re like us, it’s the latter! (Okay, we actually do both.) But the people already looking for your solution are the warmest leads because you know they need a product or service like yours ASAP. And most people will turn to Quora to find that solution.

If you’re unfamiliar with Quora, it’s a Q+A website where people can ask questions on any topic and receive answers from other people. And there are 300M+ monthly active users on the platform, making it a great place to market your business. 

In fact, we answered a handful of questions on there and got 500k+ platform views in 3 months. Here’s how you can get the same results:

  1. Set your profile up for success. Specifically, make sure it accurately displays your credibility to answer the questions you’re targeting. This can mean simply making your CEO the face of your company and adding their accomplishments to the bio.
  2. Ditch the pitch and focus on value. Meaning, don’t make your answers a total sales pitch. Instead, educate the question asker on the best way to solve their problem on their own first. Then, make a soft pitch for your product (AKA the easier solution) at the end.
  3. Get your team to upvote the answers. Like Reddit, the answers with the most upvotes get the most eyeballs. So, after you post your answers, ask your team to upvote your answers to bump them to the top of the page.

👉 See what Qs you should answer.


This week's highlight reel

  • Peloton plummets. After a worldwide gym hiatus during COVID, Planet Fitness memberships have almost reached their pre-COVID peak as people start going back. Meanwhile, Peloton stocks dropped a whopping 35% last Friday.
  • “Identity theft is not a joke, Jim.” You can now add TV and movie audio (like famous quotes and theme music) to your Snapchats. This makes it easy to create some good-humored content and connect with your followers.
  • One is the loneliest number. Papa, a service that pairs seniors with a buddy, raised $150M to give companionship and support to the 28% of seniors who live alone. The best part? It’s being reimbursed by insurers.
  • Look out, LinkedIn. Fiverr acquired Stroke Talent for $95M to launch freelance management services. This happened less than a week after LinkedIn rolled out competing freelance management services globally.

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