Disrupting an industry is a positive when you solve real-life problems. It’s not so positive when you create more problems than solutions and negatively impact people’s quality of life. Amazon and Walmart are two great examples of companies that financial institutions and governments have allowed to grow to such levels that they challenge the existence of small businesses. When I started RelyCircle, the focus was on small businesses and the existing practices in the market that they are bound by.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Minesh Chandarana.
Minesh Chandarana is the co-founder and CEO of RelyCircle, a new social media referral platform and app for home service providers, healthcare providers, and other consumer-facing small businesses. It is incentivizing word-of-mouth referrals by offering cash rewards to customers while letting companies grow their business without any upfront costs.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Every day, billions of dollars change hands and countless decisions are made on the basis of our likes, our friends and families, our relationships, and our conversations. Our personal data is stored, traded, and sold to generate about $128 billion in advertising revenue each year! I saw an opportunity to capture this target market with a completely new business model that is socially responsible and gives full control to small businesses and their customers.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
RelyCircle is a social network for small businesses to freely connect with their existing customers and to gain new customers via referrals. And best of all, there are zero upfront costs.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I started off by acquiring a review platform from a software developer to understand how the backend works. I thought I could simply change it into what I needed. I soon realized that the conversion of ideas and processes into code is not something you want to learn overnight. I then hired the lead developer who helped build RelyCircle.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
More than a mentor, the most help has been from my wife, Meera. She has been patient and supportive and has dealt with my frustrations and mood swings, comforting me in times of failure and always telling me that she firmly believes in RelyCircle and to never stop.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Disrupting an industry is a positive when you solve real-life problems. It’s not so positive when you create more problems than solutions and negatively impact people’s quality of life. Amazon and Walmart are two great examples of companies that financial institutions and governments have allowed to grow to such levels that they challenge the existence of small businesses. When I started RelyCircle, the focus was on small businesses and the existing practices in the market that they are bound by. For example, the home service lead generation business is controlled by companies like HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, and few others. They share the common and abusive practice of obtaining and selling leads at a high cost and to multiple businesses at the same time. This in turn creates competition among their own clients. The digital pay-per-click, while a great tool to connect with new customers, is auction-based, the cost of which leaves behind many small and new businesses. We have created a process that lets businesses freely connect with their existing customers, get free referrals and gain sales without paying a penny upfront.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We are partnering with local communities and organizations like chambers of commerce in order to reach out and sign up their business members on RelyCircle. We have also created a fundraising program for these chambers and other similar business communities so they can share portions of the revenue RelyCircle earns from their members using the RelyCircle Business app.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My grandfather once told me when I was 11: “What one fool can do, another can also do.” This had an enormous impact on me and filled me with great confidence. I am working to pass this same inspiration along to my own children.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am a strong believer in the small business model. I believe that small businesses bring a lot to their communities and to family culture. RelyCircle is my movement to provide small businesses with a better way to do social marketing. In dollar terms, we are targeting the $126 billion digital adverting spend that could be in the hands of consumers and their communities.
How can our readers follow you online?
RelyCircle is in the App Store and Google Play, and online at https://relycircle.com/. You can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/relycircle/, on Twitter at @RelyCircle, and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/relycircle-inc./. And you can always email us at [email protected]
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!