By introducing technology that has generated billions of dollars in value in other industries, CorkCRM is hoping to capitalize on a big trend while bringing residential construction contractors into the 21st century.
Sales and marketing automation has been a boon for the tech world over the past 15 years, generating huge returns for companies like SalesForce, Marketo, and Pardot. Automation software reduces (or eliminates) non-value added administrative work, which helps businesses increase productivity while reducing costs. The impact to most business’ bottom line is so large, that it’s not uncommon to see these systems priced at several thousand dollars per month. For small and medium sized companies, automation software can be a significant competitive advantage.
The benefits can be especially significant in low-margin industries, like construction and general contracting. And it’s precisely this industry that Michael intends to target.
In 2013 by Michael Henry and a team of computer scientists.
Where the Idea Came From:
Michael painted houses in Novi/Northville and found there was little to no technology in the industry that allowed contractors to do basic things like input contact information or schedule appointments; there was nowhere to keep it all in one place.
The Problem He’s Solving:
CorkCRM provides software to residential construction businesses that need a central platform to manage their business. All the information coming out of their business goes through Cork; it’s like an enhanced Quickbooks for construction contractors. CorkCRM wants to bring all their information together in one, single, convenient place and automate the tasks that don’t have to be done by people.
Opportunities That Excite Him:
Advancements in virtual reality are exciting to Michael because they could eventually play a role in project estimation. Someday, someone might be able to put on VR glasses and use those tools to measure and map. When you push that into software it creates an easy way to estimate projects.
He’s also excited about the amount of funding opportunities for new companies. Though he hasn’t figured out the best way to tap into all the resources available, he finds it exciting to know they are out there.
So far, Michael has struggled the most with finding the right avenue to reach out to prospective customers. Between cold calls, email, trade shows, lead generation, referrals, and more, he’s got a lot of options for reaching new audiences. He’s working with all of these and has seen some success with a few models, but still needs to narrow down which works best for him and his business.
What has he learned about the business/industry/customer that has surprised him?
Michael wasn’t sure contractors would be receptive to the idea of technology but quickly realized they are, in fact, tech savvy. The result was that he had to do a lot less hand holding because they understood more than he thought they would.
Need the Most?
At the moment, Michael needs some more knowledge around SEO. He says he’s okay but not great at it and learning how to do that would help out a lot.
Advice for Young Entrepreneurs:
“Go out there and persist,” says Michael, “work through the issues you come across.” They are always there, the key is making it to the finish.
1 thought on “Startup Spotlight: CorkCRM”
Keep up the good work, Michael! You are right to focus on finding the BEST customer acquisition method. I see a lot of entrepreneurs get spread too thing trying to do them all. Find one or two that work and keep doubling down.