My ReturnMore Offers project failed due to business owners

A quick story how one of my ideas failed.

In 2012 I had a vision, a new tech savvy way for local businesses to use on their customers by incentivizing them with offers.  I approached a local Chick-fil-A in Aurora and they were open to try something new.  How my project ‘ReturnMore Offers’ worked was Chick-fil-A would hand out a flyer that said “We would love to see you come back, scan this QR code or put this url in your smartphone to redeem a free Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich”, the response was great for a few months. This was built using the Facebook API, so a customer would have to use their Facebook account, to get the offer they would need to Like that Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page (not the company, the store’s page).  This local Chick-fil-A had 200 Facebook Likes before I came to them, after just 2 months they boosted up to 1500+ and became the most liked Facebook page for Chick-fil-A in Colorado. Denver Post ran a story on me which was great publicity of out of the box marketing.

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After a busy schedule and a long idle time with Chick-fil-A I thought of how to take my idea even further while talking with a friend.  We discussed for hours how this new method would work.  At first, it was highly complex and we had to simplify things.  I went out and bought IdeaPaint which turns a wall into a dry erase board so we can sketch out our thoughts.  My friend Dan and I must have spent 2 solid weeks thinking about this idea and how to make it work.  Finally we came up with the result and I coded nonstop for a few weeks building everything out.  The idea was built and the new method had business owners approve of offers that ReturnMore.com sold for $5, the big idea was that fundraising organizations like schools and sport teams can go around and sell ReturnMore Gift Cards for $20 each and keep 50% of each transaction towards their fundraising goal.  To spend $5 and get 4-8 offers that totaled $80+ is a good deal to anyone.

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I had a friend that wanted me to do this volunteer work with American Cancer Society because of my past pink shirt jump and getting on CNN.  I have never done any volunteer work before but I was up to it and told her I’m a go.  Shortly after Dan and I spoke about bringing this ReturnMore Offers idea to American Cancer Society so we can use it to raise money for charity. We walked into a meeting with ACS with shirts that said “I just raised American Cancer Society $1,000,000 using ReturnMore” because that’s how much we believed in this idea.  After our meeting they approved.  Business owners would be helping ACS by approving of offers to their business that team members sold using ReturnMore gift cards.  Everything seems like it’s going to be a big hit at this point. However, after several months of trying to walk in and talk to business owners we quickly got shot down because of the amount of sales people that approach these owners in the past.

After a few conversations with Dan about the direction of this project we decided to shelf it indefinitely.  It’s a bummer this didn’t take off.  It’s also a bummer that most business owners are not very tech savvy and open to new ideas.  This idea might have failed relying on others but being an entrepreneur keeps me moving on other ideas.

In the meantime, I have quickly changed returnmore.com into another business focus which I use the company name for; web development, facebook apps and SEO for clients.