Revenue Growth Despite FCC Disaster

Well, I’m happy to report that DESPITE the fact our call center was forced to cease operations and we spent more time preparing to sell than actually selling in the past Quarter, we STILL increased our revenue!  Here’s a quick snapshot of the 2 Quarters of revenue we had in this, our first “real” year of selling:

2013-Q2-Q3-Revenue

Once again, the sales totals aren’t nearly enough to support our expenses (yep, we’re STILL operating at a substantial loss), but we’re going in the right direction when we take the eagle’s eye viewpoint!  So we posted an increase of 14.8% in the 3rd Quarter over the 2nd Quarter. Now if we could just add about 3 zero’s onto the right side of these number’s we’d REALLY be talking about an exciting year!  But instead, we’re dealing with a very tough problem.

As of this writing, I’m very optimistic that before the end of this 4th Quarter, we’re going to once again EXCEED the 3rd Quarter totals. But I think it’s going to be a wide margin of increase.  I’m shooting for something like a 400% or 800% increase over the 3rd Quarter numbers.  Now THAT would be exciting, right?

Here’s a look at the month-to-month volume since we started revenue at the end of April this year:

2013-MonthlyRevenue

Notice the nose-dive after an exciting start in the 2nd Quarter.  Why?  Because I discovered right at the end of June we weren’t NEARLY well prepared enough to support any kind of sales growth.  The reason?  Not enough trained support staff. Essentially ” I ” was the support staff.  There was just no way I could keep up with even a small amount of sales.  It was very time intensive to take care of new Lead Generation customers, and in the end, we had only ONE customer that was profitable for us.  (The only one doing a lot of business with us – a large insurance marketing organization in Calfifornia called Freeway Insurance.) But we added a total of 4 full time support staffers in July and August.  The first one moved back home to Indonesia at the beginning of September so he missed all the recent fireworks and excitement of closing down the call center.  But 2 of the other 3 are still on full time staff and the 3rd one is waiting to return after furlough.

Even with our new strategy of direct-selling our “Worldwide Contact Center”, we need a good support staff. In fact, I’m pretty sure the support reps are going to be vital to our growth.  We have to manually set up each and every new customer and test their account before they can use it (with the exception of VoiFone CARD customers – they can use their service the moment they pay for it).  We have made the setup process far more efficient than ever before in the past two weeks. By next week, it should take only 5 to 10 minutes to set up a new customer, including the  initial phone call to show them how to use the system.  The goal is to make it so one support rep can set up 5 to 10 new customers every hour.

It seems clear to me that we’re going to KEEP the call center. But it’s going to morph into a support center, not a sales center. That’s fine with me!  In fact, I know the staff is anxious to return to work and very excited about their new positions as support reps.  The technical side of what they’ll do is not very difficult so it shouldn’t be hard to train them.

Randy continues to express his firm conviction that there’s a huge market in the Philippines for the kind of service we have created.  I think it’s very ironic that we, as an American company, will likely generate the first REAL success for ourselves  out of a foreign country.  But that’s OK.  We’re designed as an International company, so I guess it’s altogether appropriate that we kick off our growth from a foreign land!

FCC Implementation Today – Wireless Consent Rule – Our Solution?

OK, today’s the day. The new Wireless Consent Rule went into effect today.  I have been sweating bullets since the last blog entry figuring out exactly what we’re going to do about it. This article describes our new direction.

The Solution

The legal research was completed and so was the analysis of “Voicemail Marketing.”  It’s a no-go.  It’s a non-starter. The numbers don’t add up for that type of marketing and there’s just too much risk, legally and business-wise. After careful consideration, research, consultation with counsel (Scott Coombs, Esquire) and much prayer, I decided on the following course of action:

  • Discontinue cold call lead generation with our call center.
  • Replace it with our own “Worldwide Contact Center”: Phone • SMS • Email • Chat services all wrapped into a single application.

So, two weeks ago last Monday I furloughed the call center staff and began the process to fully develop VoiFone and prepare ourselves to aggressively sell something we can already do (Phone • SMS • Email • Chat). To do this, we had to figure out exactly how to market and sell this new product (ie make it into an exciting and a viable service that LOTS of people would want).  The rest of this article brings you up to speed on how soon the new services will be fully implemented and our sales efforts will begin.

Preparation For Sales

Although we already had the entire infrastructure required to DO what I mentioned above, it was nowhere close to being ready to SELL. Especially to the consuming public. In fact, what I’m really doing is accelerating the pace of development and attempting to implement a large part of our over-all plan since inception . . . and do it RIGHT NOW rather than wait until sometime next year. Earlier this year we decided to use revenue from Lead Generation through the Philippines call center to generate the revenue and cash needed to complete development of the entire GlobalTmail™ concept. Raising more capital just seemed too difficult. This new FCC rule changes all that and destroyed most of the past 7 months of investment and work (and really, the entire year’s worth of work to date). Well, I’m determined to make the best of this bad situation and find something good from it.  I think I’ve already done that.  We’re in process right now of making it all work out for the best.

Complete The Development of VoiFone

The center piece of our new “product” is VoiFone. We’ve been working on it most of this year but haven’t put in much time and effort until the past 2 weeks. Now it suddenly became the highest priority item.  This is a soft phone designed to work on computers and smart phones.  It’s capable of making calls worldwide to most countries at deeply discounted rates.  It also does video calls, video chat, text chat and has a host of other features.

I instructed the developers to finish the browser version first because that’s the one that fits in with what we’ve already got developed “right now.” The Android and iPhone versions will roll out before the end of the year as well. But I’m insisting on having the browser-based VoiFone this month.  I have been assured it will happen.  We’ll see.

Click-to-Call

In the meantime, we’ll use of the C2C feature that’s already built into our CRM. It works flawlessly and makes calls worldwide. We have several people using it right now as beta testers. They’re also marketing people who are excited about selling our product and are busy recruiting several other people around the world to begin selling for us as soon as the compensation system is set up and operational.  We currently reach more than 200 countries for phone calls and text messaging.

Create VoiFone CARD

Another vital part of the product mix is our virtual phone card. In non-USA countries, phone cards are often the only way people can make phone calls. We’re going to issue our own for the Philippines and for the USA. But they’re “virtual cards” and not plastic or paper. Essentially, all we have to do is have an inbound toll free phone number and issue PIN’s to people who want to make calls. Our programmer has told us that he’ll have it ready to use next week.  We have already tested it and it works just fine.  In foreign countries, many people don’t have bank accounts or debit/credit cards so they wouldn’t be able to use our primary services anyway. But I have been assured by Randy, our Philippines Sales Manager, that the masses in his country would be very interested in buying and using our VoiFone CARD product. So we’re creating it and should be selling it before the end of October.

Develop SMS Billing Module

Coincidentally, we had just recently completed the SMS (text messaging) module that works through our CRM. This module has to be upgraded so it has a complete billing system plus ecommerce that allows customers to add funds to their SMS account, see a history of the text messages they send, track their usage, and add more funds when they get low.  This sounds simple but in reality it’s very complex. The task was assigned to our existing CRM developer, Biztechnosys, from India. They’re working on it daily right now.  We’re testing the SMS system daily. If any reader of this article wants to participate as a beta tester just let me know and we’ll activate an account for you and pay for your first text messages.

Create  MLM/Network Marketing Back End

Randy Albalate convinced me that the MLM/Network Marketing system would be the most effective way to sell this new product mix (VoiFone). I have hired another offshore company to develop the back-office and compensation plan calculation software to handle this.  After intensive research, I found a company willing to provide this entire system for a tiny fraction of the cost of most of their competitors. It’s supposed to be ready to use within a week. I’m not sure that’s true, but I’m corresponding and working with them daily. India just had a 2-day holiday at the same time as our Columbus day, so we didn’t really see any updates since last Friday (it was as 4-day weekend for them). Tomorrow or tonight I expect an update. They have plenty to do, but they have assured me that they’ll come in “on time and within the budget.”  I’m counting on that to be TRUE!  But I’m not going to hold my breath. I just hope they get it done before the end of the month.  Randy has already been out making presentations to his contacts in the MLM marketing community and also to potential commercial and residential customers in Philippines.  He tells me there’s LOTS of interest, so he’s as enthusiastic as I have ever seen him.  It’s gratifying to see that there’s a very real possibility of finishing this year with a bang instead of a fizzle!

Set Up International eCommerce

The eCommerce section will likely be the most difficult. It’s already worked out for our phone calls.  In other words, we have a system in place right now where our customer can log into their account, use a debit card, credit card or Paypal account, add funds, and get instant access to more calls.  This works “perfectly” right now!  But we have to build a system for the SMS module.  That’s in process. My developer reported yesterday that they have already been in contact with the SMS carrier and they’re working out the details.  I expect they’ll have the SMS billing system ready by the end of the month or first week of November.

The most difficult part of eCommerce is getting the MLM Compensation Plan to update the existing billing systems for calls and SMS while at the same time instantly updating all the commission and bonus accounts for sales people. We expect to attract thousands of sales people from all over the world who are looking for a better way to make money. Randy is expecting rapid growth right after we bring the MLM compensation plan online.

Upgrade Image & Publish New Website

We need  a new image to go along with the new product.  I hired a full time web developer who has just completed his first full week with us.  The first thing he did was provide a completely new logo design for GloblaTmail.  It’s great!  here it is:

GTMAUSA_NEWheader-signupLink

This the first logo people have seen where strangers can actually pronounce it correctly. I have to believe it’s a major upgrade to our image!  Here’s what he created for our VoiFone image…. cool!

VoiFone logo

I’m beginning to think this FCC disaster isn’t so much of a disaster as it’s the “right thing to do.”  I’m catching the excitement Randy has been talking about since I told him we’ll go ahead and pursue this with all our energy.  In fact for most of the past 18 months, this is a project lots of us wanted to start. We just couldn’t see how it could be our primary sales product until NOW.  Now we have no choice – and I’m becoming cautiously optimistic that we may have found something that’ll really catch fire.  Sure hope so!

Create Full SEO Marketing Campaign

We’re not going to rely on “JUST” the MLM and Network marketing crowd to make this project a hit.  There are millions of people all over the world looking for exactly what we now sell every day of the week. That’s the main reason I hired Nestor Tolentino. He’s a very talented web designer and SEO expert from the Philippines. In fact, he lives only about 30 Km from our Morong, Rizal call center.  So I expect I’ll meet him on my next trip to the Philippines.  Don’t know when that’s going to be yet, but if sales really take off I expect I’ll make a trip there to “support the troops.”

You can take a sneak preview of the new website right now.  Those who have seen it really like it!  And so do I.  It’s a great improvement over what we have right now.  But it’s not ready to use yet.  I think it’ll take most of the rest of this month before we can move it over to the main site (http://groupcaller.com) and make it available to everyone.  The new MLM Compensation Plan is supposed to have the same look and feel of this website, even though it’s being developed and hosted in India.  Users won’t see the difference.  It should be a seamless experience for them, and most people will think it’s all just part of one big website when in reality, this “website” is scattered throughout the world, on several different servers in different states of the USA, and in Philippines and India as well.  What a world we live in!

Working Night And Day

I don’t have much time to post articles in here because it’s taking all my waking time to transition us from primarily a call center operation to a Worldwide Contact Center.  It’s an exciting time in the company and I have never been as optimistic as I am right now!  Check back here next week and I should have an update on the progress.  My birthday is October 22, next Tuesday.  I’m telling all the developers what I want for my birthday – PROJECT COMPLETION!