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Personal Thoughts About Our Marketplace Launch

Every entrepreneur establishes a business for a reason. They spot an opportunity, a niche, or envision a future yet to unfold. For me, 1000Zebras was born out of these same reasons, notably the need for a new type of infrastructure for entrepreneurs and their businesses. We started our go-to-market journey earlier in the year after identifying a need for a digital marketplace for small B2B service providers in the U.S. that covers many categories and price points.

This month we’re launching our first version of that digital marketplace! Here’s a little about what that means to me and why we are building this business.

At heart, our team is a bunch of Operators. We wear many hats in my businesses, and our innate ability to navigate and manage businesses in an operational capacity naturally defines our professional DNA. This isn't just a role—it's a mindset, a way of dissecting challenges, steering leadership, and setting priorities.

The perpetual Operator's query is the rhetorical question: "How will we accomplish this?" For those like me, it's more than just a question—it's an exhilarating puzzle, ever-evolving and waiting to be solved.

Operations as a function may not have the glitz of rapid growth strategies. Its significance might only rise to the forefront during board meetings when challenges arise or seismic shifts are needed. But here's the unsung beauty of it: smooth operations often stay under the radar because they ensure everything is running seamlessly, allowing our energies to be channeled towards driving business growth.

It's with this perspective that we're sharpening our brand focus. We're proud to introduce ourselves as "The Operator’s Work Marketplace."

We're meticulously crafting a platform tailored for business operators—to initiate, expand, and seamlessly transition their businesses. Our goal? Simplifying the journey for Operators when they're confronted with the pressing question: “How will this get done?”

Here's a snapshot of how we're elevating the Operator experience:

• Streamlined Marketplace: Service providers can outline their offerings promptly, minimizing tedious meetings and potential distractions.

• Comprehensive Matchmaking: Dive into pre-vetted options for Benefits, Insurance, Banking, and even Funding without the usual legwork.

• Intuitive User Experience: Get straightforward answers to pressing questions, making decision-making faster and closure just a step away.

• Trusted Service Providers: Save time with our vetted providers who eliminate the lengthy interview and verification processes.

• Transparent Pricing: Gain insights with anonymized pricing, understanding what comparable outputs cost in the industry.

Now let’s talk stats and why this matters to the businesses and Operators on our platform.  First, 40% of an Operator’s time is spent on administrative and non-income bearing tasks. That’s two out of five days per week of opportunity cost! I don’t know many Operators who aspire for that to be the case, but I can personally say that feels true. I want 2/5 of my week back, especially during growth stages where everything is urgent. Second, 50% of respondents from our recent poll told us their preferred marketplace experience allows them to search and find Offerings created by service providers. We are the only domestic marketplace that provides that experience.  Third, and if you’ve ever used Upwork or Fiverr you know what I’m talking about, there’s choice on the largest marketplaces, but you still have to do a lot of work to ensure a good outcome on that platform. Not to mention, most American service providers do not participate in those marketplaces because the price points are too low relative to the work it takes to win a lot of proposals. It’s a huge gap in the market that we are going to fill starting this month.  

So here’s what’s next! 🗓️ September 2023 Timeline: Launch Month!

• Week 1 (this week): Final rounds of Testing. We've worked closely with our pilot users to fine-tune the user experience and iron out any kinks. We will begin populating our service providers this week so we have a breadth of coverage when we launch to the public in beta next week.

• Week 2: Public Beta Launch: 1000Zebras goes live to the public in beta! The site will only be available to registered users (eventually it will be open to the public). Be sure to register and check out the companies and Offerings listed on the marketplace! We'll keep adding more each week.

• Week 3: Referral Program Launch. Prepare for an incentivized program that rewards you for bringing friends on board! We'll be kicking off with several incubators, accelerators, and VCs in the Cincinnati and Chicago areas, then we will expand once we have a good idea of how our partners are using the program with their portfolio.

• Week 4: Speaking and Getting Out There! Once the marketplace is live, we intend to promote it in person at various events and speaking gigs. Our focus will be on helping companies extend their runway using work marketplaces like 1000Zebras. A huge part of our product is helping Operators understand their options at various price points, so we'll be explaining how to do that live and in person at the end of the month and into October. See you out there!

📢 We Want to Hear from You! Engagement doesn't stop at launching a product; it's an ongoing process. Your insights and feedback will be the driving force behind our future updates and improvements. So please, don't hesitate to share your thoughts and experiences with us!