Small Business Spotlight of the Week: TripBucket Amanda | January 23rd, 2013

Did you know that January is the considered by pseudoscience to be the most depressing month?  The holidays are over, the days are still short and, if you live in the Midwest, it means day-dreaming on how you’re going to get out of this icy, cold, snow-filled landscape.

Might we suggest this week’s Small Business Spotlight, TripBucket, for your trip- planning daydreams? TripBucket helps you organize the wildest, most outrageous vacation escapades.  They aren’t a travel agency, rather a website that curates your ideas and streamlines input from people.  Want to backpack in Iceland?  Design a vacation where others will weigh in on the must-see landmarks and adventures.  And once you’ve finally made it to Reykyavik, you can share with family and friends via social media.  Talk about bragging rights.

Clay shares more below about letting people reach for vacation stars:

How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother?

At Tripbucket our mission is to help people realize their dreams by providing a web-based and mobile platform to track those things our registered users have already accomplished and that which remains on their personal bucket list.  TripBucket provides the platform for our Dreamers (Registered Users) to Dream It while exploring our inventory of over 12,000 travel and self-fulfillment dreams and things to do; to Plan Itusing our interactive itinerary building system; to then Do It and Share It with the methodology for posting photos, recommendations and tips for other Dreamers, family and friends that may be considering adding a specific dream to their bucket list.

What are some industry specific challenges you faced?

Our vision with TripBucket was to build a platform that would look differently and be user friendly, yet, present a broad spectrum of interesting and sophisticated content.  Furthermore, we wanted to allow our users the ability to track where they were in the realization process for their individual dreams.  We think it’s critical that our Dreamers have readily available, pertinent information for planning the execution of those experiences on their bucket lists along with the tools they would need or want to use while fulfilling those dreams. We know there are plenty of travel websites and we want to be able to differentiate TripBucket from the typical travel agent portal.

What was your biggest learning curve/experience?

With more than 7,000 Dreams and myriad background information, photos, maps and data, TripBucket is a very complex system.  The primary challenge has been to make the platform intuitive and user friendly with all that data readily available and easy for the user to understand.

What made you use crowdSPRING?

Understanding that a collaborative approach to problem solving provided an opportunity for a broad array of possibilities not otherwise available we believed crowdSPRING offered a unique service for a budget-constrained start-up.  TripBucket was interested in exploring a variety of options for landing page designs and felt that the involvement of multiple designers, all attacking the same challenge, would present the best concept possibilities for our consideration.

What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?

While living my personal Dream to Summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania we took the website live, literally as I was hiking up the mountain.  I performed my first public “check off” of a TripBucket Dream to Facebook just after our party reached the summit.   I can’t pick which achievement was more fulfilling because both events were so meaningful.

Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.

I’m speaking now as a web-based operator with no bricks and mortar.  As shop worn as this phrase might seem: Keep It Simple!  An initial launch should find a way to get the User Interface down to simple concepts that are easy to use for first time visitors.   Find the Sweetspot!  The great majority of your users will be primarily attracted to one or two features.  Figure out what those are and make them great.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?

I would have made sure I answered Question #6 [above] for myself before I ever started the site design! TripBucket has an incredible array of data elements.  We wanted the site to look and feel differently.   This goal of differentiation has manifested itself into a pretty complex application.  We probably put too much out to the users too soon.

How do you see your company growing in the future?

We currently have a great group of early adopters, especially in some specific areas of dream category interest.  We are working hard to expand our appeal to a much broader user base.  We are also focused on gaining additional exposure of the TripBucket name through social media.   Our next phase is to enhance the available connections for our Dreamers with companies that can assist our users in fulfilling their dreams like tour operators, specialized schools and instruction (SCUBA, skydiving, etc.) and other vendors and clubs.

Our other company, I2A Solutions (www.i2asolutions.com) helps companies achieve their dreams by building their next generation software products.  We plan to expand this business in the travel, sports, medical and advertising markets.

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