Founder Stories: Ryan Scherf On Building Payment
In today’s Founder Story we feature Ryan Scherf, the Founder of Payment!
Read on for lessons he’s learned from launching and marketing his business.
1) Please introduce your business and share your role.
My name is Ryan Scherf, solo-founder and bootstrapper of Payment for Stripe – the largest point-of-sale app built on Stripe. It’s a no-code solution to using your Stripe account in person; supporting all of the Stripe Terminal card readers and the first to offer Tap to Pay on iPhone.
Our target audience is DIY entrepreneurs – those that have a small business and want to take that business in person. Our app integrates seamlessly with their Stripe account, thus making it easy to get up and running.
2) What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?
I began my career working for several healthcare startups, eventually working my way out of healthcare and into other startups around the country. However, I always knew I wanted my own product – something I could build on and provide value to customers. Payment was my 4th attempt at launching my own business.
3) How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
When we launched in 2015, the internet was different. Twitter was still extremely popular and engaging, so we used that as the main platform. In addition, we used ProductHunt as another launch point. Both of these required good brand collateral, and the ability to tell a story.
4) Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
I’ve never been very fond of newsletter emails, so in the past 8 years, we’ve stayed away from those. We bundle all of our feature announcements into our drip campaigns as we tell the story of the product, instead of blasting out feature highlights. We find that unsubscribes are lower, and hopefully, the customer is getting the proper email at the right time in their own journey.
5) What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
As a company built on the Stripe platform, the early days of Stripe’s design was always very influential. Their design team set the bar incredibly high, and always seemed to meet or exceed their own expectations.
6) What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
Currently, we utilize Campaign Monitor due to the visual Journey builder for our drip campaigns. Also, a huge shoutout to BrandBird – even as a designer by trade, BrandBird makes everything we do easier when it comes to posting digital assets.
7) Who or what inspires and motivates you?
Your customers should always be the inspiration. Sure, making money is an extra bonus, but if you can satisfy your customers and give them what they want, the money part will take care of itself.
8) What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
An entrepreneur needs to be persistent. The journey of building a product or business is not linear. The lows always feel really low. But, when you zoom out and change your time horizon, it isn’t as bad as when you’re in it.
9) What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
Entrepreneurs need to listen to their customers. I’ve personally responded to thousands of support tickets (we don’t outsource the support staff). When one can solve problems for their customers, the business can morph into the perfect product-market fit. Too often, we see companies pushing features or businesses on people that aren’t really a need. When you take care of your customers, the rest takes care of itself.