Typically Untypical – a Startup Journey
Do you look for the nearest hairdressers, tradies, mechanics and window cleaners? I know I do (working on the completely anecdotal theory that particularly small owner-operator business people who live and work near you tend to deliver better service and often a better price). This quirk of consumerism was top of mind when Neil Butler of Untypical Thinking was explaining why he pivoted his GeeBiz app to a new platform called Nearest.
Having worked his way through a range of different techniques, Neil said he just wasn’t getting any traction with GeeBiz, even though interest in the idea of a local service directory was strong.
It’s a common story amongst startups. The first idea is often just the early ideation of where the business will go.
“I kind of gave up on Geelong in terms of the app. I still believed in the app, so I took it the Hunter in NSW and the Gold Coast. But I hit a roadblock when I found that Apple had put their foot down on [apps that change names with different locations].
“So, we came up with the concept of Nearest. It was really what we were trying to do from the beginning. When you look on your phone, the nearest businesses show up first and you usually select one of the first that appear. But you aren’t seeing all the closest businesses; usually it’s just those that can afford to pay the most to be the most visible.
“For us, it’s all about the idea of supporting the people who are closest to you. [To appear on the app] you have to be regionally located and the order of the listing is quite literally based on distance closest to you or your set location,” Neil said.