Series: Launching a New Venture

February 16, 2010

By Rob C. Masri, CEO, Cardagin Networks, Inc. Think Contrarian

My name is Rob Masri and I am the Founder and CEO of Cardagin Networks, Inc. (www.cardagin.com).  I will be contributing to this blog on a regular basis with tips to consider, and pitfalls to avoid, when launching a new venture in this economy.

By way of background, Cardagin is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA and helps businesses digitize their loyalty card programs so that they can better identify and communicate with the 20% of their customer base who typically account for 80% of their revenue, i.e.  their “loyalty club.”  We give business owners the tools to create, publish and push mobile ads, coupons and promotions in real-time to an app on the mobile phones of “loyalty club” members. Businesses save money by targeting advertising dollars intelligently and consumers save money by receiving coupons from places they care about, without asking “where’s that card again?”

When I told people that I wanted to leave my job to start Cardagin, many raised their eyebrows and looked at me like I was crazy.  They didn’t have to say anything; I could see it in their faces: “In this economy?  Are you crazy? What about your family?” I have never been one to follow conventional thinking and I wasn’t about to start now, which brings me to my first bit of advice.

To succeed in business, you have to be contrarian in your thinking. Sure it’s difficult to borrow and raise money, but think about how much money can be saved by hiring employees for a mere fraction of what they would normally demand; or leasing office space with months of free rent and build-out credits; or negotiating deferred billing from service providers.  Use the macro-economic trends to your advantage to bargain and ask for discounts.  You’d be surprised with what you may get.