Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Tylenol of Currency Exchange

I finally figured out what our appeal is to our customer segment - we're the Tylenol of currency exchange.

The simplicity of PeerFX lets our users breathe a sigh of relief. With our focus on spot trades and 3 click booking process compared against the large menu of services provided by other forex services and financial institutions - right away our users know what they can get from our service - spot currency exchange.

Sometimes I wonder whether financial institutions and other services make it extremely hard for a user to understand what choices they have. The worse thing about this is that even though we are actively trying to understand all the combos and choices we're given, 80% of regular people would NOT want to take the time to understand it.

Pitfall: Customization doesn't always mean bombarding your users with choices.

You can customize your service to one group and market the heck out of it to THAT group. Instead of them making the choices, you make a choice for them (of course given that you've done the customer research and you know they will BUY your choice).

Nowadays most people don't want to take a lot of time to make a choice; and with things like financial services, they often rely on people whom they believe to be more knowledgeable (ie. supposedly...YOU) to help them make the decision. Most people just don't seem to trust their own judgment when it comes to financial service selections.

This is why I find marketing so interesting, it's different in every industry, market segment, location, etc. Alright, back to work.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PeerFX New Sign Ups!

So I finally feel we're at a point where we can market the service to our original list of Beta (testing group) users. We had quite an extensive list of people signed up, but felt that we wanted to keep the testing group small so we can go through the operational process and ensure everything is secure and that the process works before opening up the service to the general public.

So we sent out the newsletter and got more signups in the past 2 days than in the past 2 months combined. I'm on cloud 9. Thank you all supporters. Can't believe that you have kept us on your radar after 1.5 years. You are all amazing!

Things are finally falling into place after years of hard work :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Partner System

We have about a week and a half left of August to prep for the September partner system rollout. Super excited about it. The system lets us sign up multiple partners for a revenue share program. We figured that we should give people an incentive to help us out right? So we give them a new revenue stream that they could easily exploit by directing their users to our website and having them sign up :)

We pay commissions based on the transaction volume pushed through our system by the people you referred to us.

If you're an online website with customers that need currency exchange services OR if you're a salesperson that thrives in competitive environments, where compensation is based solely on commission, we want to hear from YOU!

This feature will be released in early September, so drop us a line in the comments section or at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just because you didn't cash my cheque doesn't mean I didn't pay you

I get this account statement from one of my credit cards today along with a letter saying that I didn't make any payments for my last statement.

I momentarily thought that I was the one that had forgotten to mail in the cheque with all the other admin stuff swamping my I went to check on my record of payments from the beginning of the month. Thank goodness I found the cheque stub attached to the statement from last month.

OK. So this means I did mail in a cheque.

The next step I went online to my online banking to check whether they had cashed it. They had.


The letter was dated on the same day that they cashed my cheque. WELL. Is it my fault that YOU received my cheque and YOUR accounting department forgot to cash it? I'm sure it didn't take 7 full business days to get mailed to you. AND you had to hold it for a couple days more until you deposited it.

Because of your lack of operational efficiency I had to read that accusative letter stating that I had not made a payment.

Things need to change for credit cards. I'm getting around to it. Right after PeerFX. haha.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

SO...I'm Not So Crazy After All

Read an article called "You Aren't Crazy...You're an Entrepreneur" by Pamela Slim. LOVE how the bracketed term right next to her name says (Escape from Cubicle Nation) - friends that know me know I'm ALL ABOUT THIS. hahaha.

So here's an excerpt:
Once you get over the initial rush of your launch, certain that everything is going to go according to plan, you run into some snags. Your website developer disappears with your site half done. A sure-thing client cancels his project. Your Mom wants her dining room back and you have to start to pay for office space.

The only thing that hasn't happened yet is my mom still lets me use the dining room (YAY mom!)

Last December our developer disappeared.

A sure-thing client disappears before completing sign up - YUP. People forget about sending in their ID documents after signing up online.

So there have been some snags, but if I had the chance to do it all over again, I really wouldn't do it any differently. These things DID give me heart attacks when it happened, not going to lie. BUT, the heart attacks get less and less severe when you realize that "OH, so this stuff is supposed to happen...on a daily basis." Then you start fearing for your health if you had a heart attack every time something like this happened. You learn to deal with it and eventually eat stress for breakfast. AH-HA! That's the life cycle for an entrepreneur running a business!

Reading through the article, apparently I'm in square 3:
Square Three: The Hero’s Saga

Description: You whittle down your big list of business ideas to one that appears to be viable. You launch the business. Everything goes wrong. People criticize you. You question your sanity.

Mantra: This is much worse than I expected, and that’s okay

Recommendation: Don’t get flustered. Expect that things will go wrong. Do not beat yourself up when they do. Focus on tweaking, learning from mistakes, and moving forward. Surround yourself with smart people and good support.

Well things aren't going horribly wrong. In fact, better than I expected. At least we have customers at this point (a big smooch to all of you - THANK YOU). We also have haters. Which is good. The theory is, if the brand/service isn't crazy enough to get lovers AND haters, people are going to neutral about it. We all know what happens to these "neutral" products/services, they are in the middle of nowhere.

I am tweaking, learning from mistakes and surrounding myself with smart people and support. Employees, contractors, lawyers, advisors, somehow everybody is starting to feel like they all belong to the PeerFX family (cheesy I know, but you really need that in a startup).

Lastly, I love the fact that square 3 is Hero's Saga. I'm a Hero! (Yes, that's my ego coming in right there)

You can read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why Should I Trust You With My Money?

Julien suggested that I respond to some burning customer questions through our blog, since we update this pretty frequently and I'm sure most customers Google us before signing up for an account so they would probably come across this anyway.

The question of the day is:
I've asked several people about you and they're hesitant about using your service. I think it's a great idea but the big thing is how can I trust you with my money?

Because we work to ensure that you know where your money is at all times. You can actually CALL us instead of clicking on a live chat button.

Because we've chased for over half a year to secure a big 5 bank to handle your money. We didn't take the easy route and go with an online bank - you know you can walk into a BMO branch today and know that your money is being handled by them through their online electronic system.

Because we make sure that our footprint is plastered all over the internet; our presentation is posted on YouTube, so you know who we are, you can attach a face to the people providing the service, a name to the people handling your transaction, and know that other customers have trusted us with their life savings and business income.

Trust and Credibility is built through three key channels for us: 1) Partners 2) Transaction Volume (past business results/history) and 3) trustworthy security channels (integrating with banking system etc.)

For example, how would you feel if I told you:
1) We are partnering with the largest business organization in the world to provide foreign exchange services for their website


2) We've transacted over $400 million through our system


3) We're integrated with the banking system and your money is monitored through the entire transaction process so you know where your money is at all times

YUP - undoubtedly this is what all customers would look for...but please bear in mind these key things you are looking for are found with large, established businesses.

Let me share with you how much it costs to integrate with a bank. They require that you pass all their "risk assessment evaluations". Now this includes having the assets that they could take as collateral, surpassing transaction thresholds on a daily basis and also assessing when they could recoup their costs of integration (psst! That amount is around $1 million bucks! YAY!)

So we're definitely not just avoiding security measures or making our process more streamlined, it's because it's all we can do within our power right now, and everyday we're taking the largest steps we can to improve in all the areas that will increase the level of trust for our potential customers.

We hope that we can post testimonials from our customers soon so that potential customers can see what we have done and what the experience has been like for our current customers.

Thanks again for sending us these questions, because without them we cannot respond to the issues that are keeping you (our potential customers) from signing up!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

$1 Million in Net Income

Ambitious? Yes. Crazy? Maybe. This is what I want to do by year end.

But "I can believe anything given it's quite incredible." - Oscar Wilde

I love business. I love getting business. I love seeing transactions being booked on our website. If I get enough programmers onto our team I would probably start linking the admin function of showing new transactions direct to my Blackberry, so I can keep seeing our transaction volumes go up, up, and UP!

They say that people who publicly discloses their goals are more likely to achieve them. So now that I've shared it with all of our blog have to hold me to my word. In the past month we've seen our transaction volumes grow by a considerable amount, and
we. beat. projections.
in the last month (according to Guy Kawasaki these three words are the most powerful ones you can utter in a board meeting...haha).

We aim to do it again, by doubling our online sales and opening a new stream of sales with our direct sales team - if you're interested in earning some extra income on the side, shoot us an email at to apply for the commissioned salesperson position.

I'm all for the theory of growing the pie together and sharing it with others. If we all make more money in the end. Why not?