Kosta Gara has a passion for creating, managing and growing companies from the ground up. His latest entrepreneurial venture is Vionic – a Facebook deal and promotion platform.
Vionic’s signature product “Deal Maker” enables brands to generate real-time revenue and increase ‘likes’ on Facebook through fan-exclusive deals, coupons and more.
BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you think that the daily deals model is broken? How have you been using this problem to your advantage?
Kosta: Current Daily Deal models are designed to cater to consumers, rather than SMBs. Since popular daily deal companies typically take around 50% of earnings from an already 50% marked down offer, SMBs are left with very little profit.. Results usually end in massive uncontrolled foot traffic, positioning the SMB to manage an overwhelming influx for a substantial loss in revenue.
With this in mind, it was in 2012 that I realized the daily deal model is in fact broken and all these companies are focusing 100% on consumers, rather than the actual business owners who are seeking their help.
Because SMBs are the backbone of the country’s economy, it was imperative in my eyes to ensure that daily deals have longevity with the business owner in mind. This is when the lights went on for us and we developed what’s known today as Deal Maker; an innovative, first-of-its-kind platform designed to empower SMBs to market effectively on their own terms, while providing valuable deals to their consumers.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share how you differentiate yourself from other merchant software providers?
Kosta: At this point, we’re the only company that offers a D-I-Y platform that sits inside of Facebook, allowing SMBs to reach out to consumers where they’re already spending most of their time. Another popular differentiator is that while other daily deal companies have you waiting weeks on end for a check, we offer instant payments. As soon as a user makes a purchase, funds are immediately deposited into the business owner’s account.
Our patent pending software is unique as it puts full control in the SMB’s hands, from determining the terms of the deal to dictating the discount percentage, duration, quantity and fine print, which has never been done before in this industry.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to a business that is planning their very first flash sale? What important key aspects should they keep in mind?
Kosta: One of the most important challenges that many SMBs face today is inconsistent sales, which results in the inability to forecast necessary labor and inventory. We recommend SMBs to run daily deals during slow periods, which vary based on the business.
For example, at a traditional spa, peak days are Friday and Saturday, whereas slow days are more toward the beginning of the week. Running a deal during slow periods will help boost sales where they are lacking. To continue with the same example, our suggestion for a spa owner would be to increase the sense of urgency for interested consumers by limiting the amount of deals available and the duration it is offered. The deal should be valid during the spa’s slow times and as well be upwards of a 50% discount.
BusinessInterviews.com: What would you say to someone who is interested in positioning themselves as a thought leader?
Kosta: My philosophy on being a thought leader is perhaps different than most. Being a thought leader is a very important role and it is not something you become overnight. You must have the experience, skills and willingness to endure a long journey in order to become a real thought leader. If anyone is contemplating on whether or not they should become one, it needs to be a consistent third-party suggestion, not self-realization.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share some tips when it comes to keeping the momentum going when it comes to brand awareness?
Kosta: Our platform actually brings added value to SMB owners, as they can utilize additional components of our software to market their business. For example, by using our sweepstakes or photo contest features, SMBs can engage with their Facebook audience and build customer loyalty, while at the same time reinforcing brand awareness. In this day and age, consumers are bombarded with thousands of brands on a day-to-day basis and it is imperative that each business owner finds a way to stand out with their existing and potential customers.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some social media trends that you’re excited about our think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Kosta: I whole-heartedly believe the future is social media and I don’t just necessarily mean Facebook, but social media as a whole. One of the hottest trends I’m seeing is how its ecosystem is expanding and empowering new companies to innovate technologies that enable people to interact using social media components. It’s very exciting!
What I am really intrigued by is the potential marriage of beacon technology with social media platforms, where consumers are instantly notified of deals and promotions based on their geo-location and their actions are broadcasted on social media informing their friends of that deal.
Social Media + Daily Deals + Beacon Technology = Future