NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Simplified Lending and Mobile Assist have partnered to provide marketing packages for small and medium-sized businesses.
The concept of providing free access to marketing benefits is the brainchild of veteran banker-turned-entrepreneur Robert Pantry. The founder and CEO of Simplified Lending said he conceived of the idea as he listened to the struggles and challenges of small to medium-sized business owners who had a grasp on their product but, with limited funds, were at a loss of how to reach a wide audience.
“I heard this concern repeatedly,” said Pantry. “The owner of a small business saying he or she had a product or service that should spell success if only they could get it into the hands of customers. They were stumped about how to get from development to public awareness and consumer consumption. One business owner described it as having the door slammed in her face though she knew the people on the other side wanted what she had in her hands.”
According to Pantry, borrowers in the small to medium-sized business range felt print and electronic advertising was beyond their means, though they appreciated its value. Some relied on social media, but knew there had to be more.
So, Pantry decided to take their need for marketing help to heart and with each business customer on record as of November 1, came a marketing package — a pre-paid membership to the MobileAssist app where businesses have the option to list their services, hours and directions; provide a link; offer discount coupons; or just reach a huge database.
“It’s the same as if you went into a bank, got a loan and with that loan, the bank paid for free advertising for your business in the newspaper or on TV,” explained Pantry, a great believer in the power of media placement, the use of available technology and collaboration.
Signing an agreement with MobileAssist, he said, was the ideal solution, giving Simplified Lending clients participation rights to the app with 8,000 active clients, over 120 local merchants and more than 95,000 downloads since its launch in 2015.
“MobileAssist is designed to provide information and convenience to the end-user,” explained technology and real estate executive Philip Simon. “The end-user clicks on the app, which you can download quickly on any device, and he or she can click on any of 60 alphabetically arranged business categories to see the names and hyperlinks to a world of who is in that space.”
Among its many provisions, the app allows the user to purchase goods online, transfer funds, top up on a mobile device, order food from a participating restaurant along with delivery, get directions or find digital coupons offered by a member. According to another MobileAssist executive, one well-known uniform business in The Bahamas has increased sales by 200 to 300 percent since offering coupons on the app.
“We at Simplified Lending saw the advantages that participating in MobileAssist could bring to local businesses,” said Pantry. “We also liked the fact that it was created and owned by Bahamians. We partnered with them, with Simplified bearing any associated fees so that we could offer it as a value-added service to anyone who borrows through our firm. It’s an extra push we are making on their behalf, the funds they need, the marketing advantage they can use as we seek to be a boutique financial services firm.”