My Startup: Your Stand Builder
On the Your Stand Builder platform, exhibitor companies can post a free project listing detailing what stand build they require, where they need it and when.
Companies can upload a design idea or example stand along with other relevant additional information. Stand builders will be notified and can access project details through their own online account.
Stand builders can then submit their price quote for the project, privately through YSB, and await the exhibitor's decision. If their bid is accepted - they get the job.
Founder: Matthew Funge
We spoke to Matthew Funge to find out more about YSB.
Why did you start Your Stand Builder?
I had been in an exhibition planning role for five years at a company who exhibited at 25+ worldwide events annually. I grew frustrated at the slow and tedious process of finding stand builders for each show which came along. I felt there had to be an easier way, to save time and simplify the whole process from beginning to end, for both myself and all the thousands (if not millions) of other people in similar positions at companies all around the world.
I wanted to bring exhibition and trade show preparations together in one single place, to modernise the approach so that it fits in with the digital age and utilises the internet to maximum effect. Disruptive technologies have revolutionised so many industries in recent years – just look at holiday home rentals and even something as simple as finding a taxi – I believe it’s time that the global events industry benefitted from similar advancements too.
Tell us more about the model behind the company?
The company adopts a proven and popular model which is already hugely successful across many other industries. On the face of it, it is an online marketplace which brings together different groups within the industry as a tool to simplify processes and improve networking capabilities among event professionals.
Where YSB goes further, however, is in its technological additions which provide even more benefits to the platform’s users. Through our use of custom website code and extensive web development, we have also managed to:
- Allow exhibitor companies to benefit from a reverse auction scenario, which is designed to drive the price down and ensure the prices in the market remain competitive at all times – this is a first in the industry!
- Introduce the first genuine in-depth review system to the industry, something which has not been available previously, as an attempt to eradicate any risk of poor workmanship
- Provide an automatic lead distribution and generation service for suppliers (in our case, stand builders) to hear about potential new business which they otherwise may not have known about
Put simply, the platform allows exhibitor companies of any size to effectively put their event stand requirements out to tender for free, only without any of the time-consuming administration which usually comes with it. When I think back to my time planning exhibitions, I honestly can’t think of anything which would’ve been better!
Where’s the business at right now?
The website launched at the beginning of March and we’ve been steadily growing our userbase each day, as well as focussing heavily on social media marketing to increase brand awareness throughout the industry.
While we are still in the early stages and definitely in “startup mode”, the response we’ve had so far has been unbelievably promising and serves as proof that there is definitely a need and demand for a service like ours. We’ve already established a global user base of both exhibitor companies and stand builders which covers all habitable continents, and with each week that goes by our network is expanding even further. On top of this, we’ve also secured important meetings with government organisations and multinational billion-dollar companies, which we hope will lead to new high-profile users of the service in the very near future.
We’ll also be exhibiting at our first couple of industry events in 2019, so we’re excited to show off what we believe is a great service to other companies and individuals within the events industry.
What are your aims for the next year?
We’re aiming to really establish ourselves as the “go to” place within the industry, for both exhibitors and for stand builders. The end goal is to become synonymous with event preparation so that when somebody begins the planning process their initial action is to type Your Stand Builder, rather than automatically navigating to a search engine as is the case currently.
We’re fortunate in that we’ve managed to get in ahead of any real like-for-like competition, so we’re determined to take advantage of this as much as we can so that we gain a reputation as the market leader for this type of service. We have a detailed marketing strategy for the year ahead which mostly revolves around brand awareness and increasing the user base. We’re confident we’ve got everything we need to execute this so that the results we hope to achieve are realised.
Our specific company targets are divided into stages, as is often the case for startups in a situation such as ours. The starting point is to successfully help 100 exhibitor companies find and confirm their stand builder for an upcoming event, and we believe this is highly achievable within the next few months. Once this happens, we’ll look to hit 200, 300 and so on. In my mind there’s really no end to how far we can go, so we’ll continue how we’ve started and see where we are a year from now. I’m hopeful it will be a great position!
What’s been the hardest thing about getting Your Stand Builder off the ground?
Changing what is considered “normal” in the industry and going against what people are used to. Our biggest obstacle is, and will continue to be, trying to make people believe that the new way we propose is better than the tried and tested method they have used for years.
We have a great service, a user-friendly website, and can offer great benefits to both sides of our user base. The challenge isn’t in what we do, it’s in disrupting the mindset of the industry.
We’re confident we’ll get there because eventually, we feel the platform will receive great feedback and our reputation will grow through positive user experience. In the initial stages, however, it’s all about getting the first few people to use it so that it can snowball from there.
Why should more people be using Your Stand Builder?
If they want to simplify their professional life while also saving time, money and stress then YSB is absolutely something which we believe they should utilise. Exhibitors post their Project Listings for free and stand builders get a one year free trial before having to pay anything.
Why would exhibitors continue contacting stand builders individually via email, and wait an unknown amount of time for a quote? Now there’s no need to. Why would stand builders spend time on the phone or writing emails to chase cold leads in an attempt to win new business? They don’t have to, not anymore.
It costs absolutely nothing to try, so there’s nothing to lose. We urge everybody to give it a go and see for themselves if YSB proves beneficial for them.
How much will it cost customers and why is it worth it?
In terms of membership, it is absolutely free for exhibitors and we don’t charge them to post their projects on the platform. For stand builders we operate a monthly subscription service – however, we also offer every user a 12-month free trial so that they can try the service for a whole year before having to pay anything. We understand that it is a new concept for the industry, and as a result, most users will likely be reluctant to pay upfront without any evidence of anything in return.
We’re confident that they will love the platform, and that by month 13 it will have become an invaluable business development tool for them. Aside from membership, we also charge a very small % on each completed transaction as a Confirmation Fee, which covers the costs of running and maintaining the platform. This fee is deducted from the stand builder’s quoted price and is not an additional charge. The price an exhibitor sees on their quote is the price they will pay – always.
Overall, we feel that we offer excellent value for money and that the costs associated with the service are greatly outweighed by the benefits it provides.