Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Goal Gone Social: Supporting the notion that ‘Anything is Possible’

Goal Gone Social:  Supporting the notion that 'Anything is Possible'Name of your company and URL?

Goals Gone Social,

www.goalsgonesocial.com

Date started?

The company, umagine llc, was founded in 2010 and the Goals Gone Social website was launched in March of 2011.

What is your product or service?

Goals Gone Social is a social networking site with the premise that people are more likely to accomplish personal or business goals when engaged with or are accountable to others. Website members can set and track goals, select partners to work with, find resources, and journal their experiences.

The site facilitates engaging with others through the goal partner relationship. The process is initiated with a partner request which is publicly posted for other members to respond to. Seeking topical expertise, a mutual help partner, someone to join you on a great quest, or professional services are some of the reasons why a user might post a partner request. The relationship, however, is flexible and a function of the goal setter’s needs.

Optionally member goals are posted on the website for public viewing. The postings serve as a mechanism for discovering someone with similar interests or as resource to inspire new ideas. Also core to the website experience is a growing library of informational and motivational resources in our blog and relevant articles submitted by other users.

Access to the website is free. We also have a free interactive service that helps users create an effective goal plan in the event they’ve never created one or are a little fuzzy on how their goal should be defined.

Goal Gone Social:  Supporting the notion that 'Anything is Possible'

David Fealkoff

Why did you start your company?

Our motivation

Our intent is to help people discover, plan, and achieve goals. Our motto

“We believe anything is possible…we’re just trying to improve the odds.”

represents our motivation and thrust for the evolution of the website. In fact we use it as a standard against which any new feature or modification is considered.

What’s different

While social network sites successfully facilitate communication between people, conversations typically lack commitment and the software tools to support that commitment. In our case, people normally make the commitment first and then the conversation starts.

Software always evolves and Goals Gone Social is attempting to expand the vision for social websites by combining the connectivity features of social media with integrated application functionality. We believe the next step beyond just being able to find and communicate with others is being able to communicate richly…to be able to share information beyond simple text with data that allows users to share a plan.

Our hope

In addition to facilitating the goal process, we hope to inspire. There’s something exciting about seeing someone set a goal and accomplish it. It can motivate you to accomplish something that you’ve been hoping to achieve for a while or it can ignite a creative spark, by exposing you to aspirations that you hadn’t thought of.

How was it financed ?

Goals Gone Social is self-financed, although seeking outside capital might be in our future.

Date officially launched?

March 31, 2011

What free online or offline tools do you use?

We make an effort to reach out to others in a growing number of ways. Of course we have facebook and twitter pages, but we also try to support other websites with blog or article contributions or provide them with a platform to tell their story on Goals Gone Social.

We have used websites/services like Tumblr, HARO, and BloggerLinkUp to make these connections.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or ? Provide exact URL of each

Our Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/alittlehelpfromourfriends

Our Twitter page is: http://www.twitter.com/GoalsGoneSocial

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?

4 including part time.

What is the best advice you never got?

If you’re thinking about starting a web based business your SEO plan should be well thought out and highly integrated into your website design before the first line of code is written. Unlike traditional businesses where you can design a cool product or service and have options to take it to market, web based businesses demand that the website and its marketing be tightly integrated up front.

What almost killed your business in the start?

Nothing yet. The website has gone through changes and we’ve had to make some significant course corrections and adjustments, but that’s really the nature of any tech startup. We continue to receive regular user inputs that we think will enrich the website experience. Consequently we expect additional features and adjustments will be forthcoming for the foreseeable future.

What is the one thing that you did right?

Ask and listen. We always felt comfortable with the value of personal engagement (mutual help) as a motivator for people. To bring this idea online however, we sought inputs from a variety of others on how they would like it to work. Every person we spoke to brought a different perspective to the development. Some people were visually oriented, some technical and process oriented, and others were hard core users. They all contributed greatly but in retrospect, if I had to modify our process I would have brought the hard core users in earlier in the process.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

As an online service the biggest unknown was how to bring the website to market. The Internet by its very nature is unstructured and dynamic, so initially there was a lot of digging around to figure out how to cost effectively market the website. There were a number of experiments that were run before we found some that worked. Then because of the dynamic nature of the Internet we continue to be on the lookout for new ways to connect with potential users.

Are you currently in the black or red?

We are currently in startup mode and in the red.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

We’ve tried pay per click and press release services with some success. The most effective mechanism has been reaching out to other websites where some common interest exists. It takes a lot of work to find them but it is effective and builds a relationship base that grows over time.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

The GoalGoneSocial concept requires a critical mass of users to provide the intended value. The more community members on the site, the richer the collective experience as it increases the likelihood that users will find an inspiring story or a member with a common interest.

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

Inasmuch as we’re still working on our entrance strategy, talking about an exit strategy seems a little premature. However, anything is possible.

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