Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Downtown - We're Baaaaaaack!

Fast Pitch! recently re-located our headquarters back to downtown Sarasota, FL after spending the past year in a temporary location futher South. Although we are sad to leave some good friends behind at the old office (we had some good times)... we're excited to be back downtown.

Why did we re-locate? A few reasons:
  1. The new location puts us right in the middle of the 'action'. If you've never been to Sarasota... I encourage you to visit. It's far and away the best city in Florida and arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country. Beaches, restaurants, wealth... and an overall cosmopolitan feel set it apart. We're already feeling the energy. Get ready for Fast Pitch! 3.0...
  2. Centrally located. All of us live in different parts of the region (North Manatee County, South Sarasota County, etc...). Being able to converge on downtown is ideal.
  3. We're growing. The new office gives us more space which has allowed us to hire new sales & marketing executives.

To showcase the new move, I've opened up a Flickr account (see right). Adding a diary of Fast Pitch! photos is long overdue. The first series of photos is dedicated to the new office. I've also included a couple of pictures of where we'll most likely be during the hours of 12PM - 1PM EST. Like I said, the restaurants here are great!



Bill

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What Goes Around Comes Back Around

Fast Pitch! is once again offering networking events nationwide! We've officially come full circle.

As you may or may not know, Fast Pitch! began in 2003 as a 'speed networking' event company. We were one of the first, if not THE first to offer the concept of speed dating for business (it's probably safe to say we were the first company to offer these types of events nationwide on a regular basis). At one point, we were offering these unique events in 50 different cities around the U.S. on a monthly basis.

We began as an event company for two reasons:

1). Speed Networking Demand. Professionals all around the world were (and still are) looking for a better way to network. The excitement around what we offered allowed us to easily market the events, charge a premium, and create a 'buzz' around our brand. The success of these events gave us the momentum we needed to get to where we are today.

2). Word-of-Mouth. With limited finances, we knew that launching (and marketing) an online networking platform from scratch was going to be difficult (many have tried and many have failed). With nearly 10,000 people having participated in Fast Pitch! events across the U.S., we were able to establish an online footprint almost overnight (August 2006). In fact, our userbase doubled during that first month as many of the original event attendees quickly spread the word about our shift into the online world.

It was a two-year plan that was well orchestrated... required much patience... and consequently worked! We're one of the top 5 business networking platforms in the world (thanks to you!).
After taking the past 1 1/2 years off from facilitating events to grow our online presence, we've finally reached a point where we're comfortable with re-visiting the event component of our business model. Similar to how we began in 2003, we're rolling them out slowly and locally. The first series of events recently took place in Florida (Miami, Orlando, Tampa) with subsequent events already scheduled for Washington D.C., North Carolina, Connecticut and New York (eerily similar to the path we took nearly 4 years ago). We expect over 500 people to take part in these initial events.
Our goal is to provide even more value-add to our members by combining the best of what's available online (Fast Pitch!) with an outlet to network offline.

Organizing and marketing these new events should be easier. Our large database of online members provide us with the audience we need to market to (nearly 90% of our members say they network in-person regularly). Additionally, our Titanium Members are excited about leveraging the Fast Pitch! brand to attract an audience in their region.

To learn more about Fast Pitch! events, take a moment and peruse our 'Events' section.

Network Online. Network Offline. Do Both!

Good Luck!


Bill

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

888-327-8025

That's our customer service number.

If you're like me, you've gone through the awful experience of trying to locate phone numbers for many of the services you subscribe to. What 's even worse is when you do actually locate a number, the menu system to reach a support representative is a maze of options that often lead to nowhere. Finally, once you do reach a live person, the person on the other end of the call makes it difficult for you to resolve your problem.

Why is that? I'm not exactly sure, but I have a theory:

Most companies purposely make you frustrated in the hopes that you will give up and eventually forget about your problem... particularly if you are attempting to cancel a service or receive a refund. PC World's Tom Spring wrote a great article about this a few years ago.

Just for kicks, I attempted to locate the phone numbers for some of our closest competitors.

7 (out of 8) of our closest competitors
DO NOT provide a company phone number anywhere on their website!

Can we really call them 'social networks' if they themselves are not making the slightest attempt to be 'social' with you?

Fast Pitch! is obviously different. As many of you who have ever called us know, we take customer service seriously. Our team is trained to go the extra mile and learn about your company and how our platform can best help you to drive new business. Whether you are having difficulty setting up your blog, posting press or understanding the value of Fast Pitch! membership, our team is here to help.

This is not to say that we are by any means perfect. Juggling hundreds of calls on any given day can be taxing on our staff. Occasionally you might reach our voicemail, or a request may slip through the cracks. But, as any of you who have had this experience know, we're quick to make things right. We always call people back within a few hours, and take care of any customer who feels they have been neglected in any way. As the old saying goes, 1 unhappy customer will tell 10 friends about their experience.

We would rather you have a positive experience and tell 20 friends about us!

Call us anytime! We're truly interested in how we can help you grow your business.

Bill