By Stewart Townsend on Oct 29, 2008
zzizzl films – a startup’s journey
Starting a new online business is a real challenge. At the same time it is also liberating. It enables small companies and individuals to connect to a worldwide audience, in ways never possible before.
“Startup” is a word that has different meanings, depending on who is saying it. There are VC funded startups, angel funded startups and bootstrapped startups. All say they have no money – but we know which one really means it.
Bootstrapped companies are started because someone or a group of individuals have a passion and a vision about something – it could be a gap in the market, a product, a tool, a service - but know the energy they will have to expend to get any angel or VC funding is the same as or even more than getting their business off the ground.
With the current economic climate, things are going to get tougher for everybody. One of the biggest challenges for startups is getting noticed and attracting new visitors to their site. There is so much noise and activity online, with consumers being bombarded left, right and centre, it is a real challenge to get noticed. Yet without customers and users, companies will disappear. You soon realise that you need to find a way to get the word out there that you exist – beyond your own network of connections.
Suddenly the pain and challenge of getting your site live – yes, we could be talking 2-3 years to get to this point - is transformed to how do I get noticed. Without the luxury of a PR firm by your side, entrepreneurs have to become PR, marketing and run a business all at the same time.
At zzizzl.com we have created a way to encourage new customers to spread the word. When anyone joins zzizzl, they can invite their friends through their personal ‘spread the word’ page, by sending an email with a personal invite code. When their friends join and buy credits for films on their first purchase, we give them 5 credits as a thank you gift. If two friends do this, they have 10 credits for a free film. We have also added a free film download on the home page, so anyone can test out the zzizzl experience. We know that our very survival is in those who come and support, join, spread the word and buy the films and videos on our site, which they can download and watch on any portable player.
Times are changing here in the UK and it is not such a lonely place for an entrepreneur. There are some great groups here in London, where you can meet other startups and entrepreneurs who understand your journey, your pain, your joy and your passion, who want to help by connecting you with others who can help and assist. Why? What do they want from you? Nothing!! They want to see you grow, as you want to see them grow and when they see this honesty, drive, determination and passion seeping through your veins, they want to help. It’s not ‘what can you do for me’, it has become ‘what can I do for you’!! Entrepreneurialism is no longer a dirty word in the UK. More great talent is being attracted to London and the UK from around the world, but you know what is really interesting – there was already great talent here. We are now connecting and creating this support eco-system. We are fast learning that to help someone else is to help ourselves at the same time. This can be as little as an introduction, which can transform someone’s business or life.
Why focus on the doom and gloom when we can keep our heads up and be optimistic. With our last day always potentially round the corner, we should not worry about tomorrow, but focus on the present and live each day as if it is our last. By living truly in the present, everything is possible.
About zzizzl films
zzizzl is portable entertainment that fits in your pocket. zzizzl showcases talented filmmakers, independent bands and media creators to a worldwide audience and shares the profits 50/50 with the rights holder. For less than the price of a latte people can download short films and videos, transfer to their phone or media player and watch anytime anywhere. zzizzl is focused on established and emerging talent and is where creativity meets commerce.