Small Business Profile: Shannon Ferguson and Kris McCarthy of FanSaves

In 2017, Shannon Ferguson and Kris McCarthy were managing the Sales and Marketing for two minor professional hockey teams and part of their job was to sell sponsorship. They soon realized that many businesses wanted more from their sponsorship than the traditional advertising they were offering. Businesses wanted something digital that could attract people into their stores, while tracking customer analytics. The pair didn't have anything like that to sell so they created FanSaves, an app that gives fans discounts and deals from the sponsors and affiliates brands of their favourite teams and organizations. Since then, they have branched out from just helping sports teams to also helping universities, colleges, events and festivals, and membership organizations like Chambers of Commerce and non-profits.

How has your business adapted to the current COVID-19 environment and how has your customer reacted?

Our business was affected very early on by COVID-19 and, as major sports teams began to pause their seasons and businesses began to close, we had to think on our feet. Within 10 days, we launched our free FanSaves Helps Gift Certificate Program, which gave small businesses the opportunity to sell gift certificates online and make revenue during the pandemic. We ended up helping 630 businesses in 62 communities across Canada sell over $30,000 worth of gift certificates. Our program allowed us to not only give back, but also keep our brand relevant and prove our customer service to new clients.

What’s your greatest struggle as a business owner right now?

Navigating our pricing model post-pandemic and ensuring that new customers see our value and understand that we are more than just a nice to have and that our platform can help them navigate this post-COVID world as well.

Where do you think entrepreneurs should invest their time and money?

Self-improvement and learning how to be better are so important and we always recommend that the biggest investment you can make is in yourself. Whether it's reading new books, enrolling in online courses or learning a new skill, these days it's so easy to teach yourself how to do things that would otherwise cost you and your business so much extra money. Invest in yourself and you'll have the confidence to flourish!

What keeps you inspired and working every day?

We love what we do and because of that what we do never feels like work. We are motivated by the fact that we are truly changing the face of sponsorship as our platform is redefining a whole category, so that keeps us inspired every day. We realized early on that this journey is a rollercoaster and that it makes more sense to enjoy the ride and learn from every moment, so we always try to enjoy all the twists and turns.

Get in touch with Shannon and Kris by following @FanSaves on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also subscribe to their podcast Living the Start Up on Soundcloud.


By Staples Canada

August 17, 2020

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