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With much of the US coming up on almost two months of pandemic lockdown, COVID-19 has forced business owners to get creative. As Greg jokes about the overuse of the word “unprecedented,” he acknowledges that it is a truly unprecedented time.

In this episode of Working (it out) from Home, Divvy’s VP of Brand, Michael Moulton, has a conversation with Greg Star, Co-founder of Carvertise. Carvertise is an advertising service that leverages ride-share drivers and everyday commuters to market via car wraps. With wraps on over 500,000 cars across the country, it’s more than likely that you’ve seen one of their wraps. 

One thing that continues to impress us amidst this corona-constrained world is how resolute and determined people are. Greg is no exception. He discusses ways that Carvertise has pivoted and stayed optimistic despite the current traffic jam.

TL;DR

  1. Be creative: Do more of what you didn’t have time to do before
    • More research and development based projects
    • Long term marketing and brand building
    • Even culture and community building
    • Refine business practices and communication
  2. Build goodwill: Be considerate of all of you stake holders
    • Employees
    • Vendors
    • Customers
    • Community
    • Investors
  3. Stay optimistic: This will pass—be wise with your resources and look to the future with hope.

Working (it out) from Home: Episode 2 Transcript

Greg Star, Cavertise Co-founder

Disclaimer: Some of the transcript from the interview has been modified to read easier, however the content and intent remains unchanged.

What is Carvertise?

Michael:

Could you introduce yourself and tell us about what your business does?

Greg: 

I’m the Co-founder of Carvertise. We’re an advertising service that uses rideshare drivers and everyday people who drive a lot to put ads on their cars. We have over 500,000 drivers signed up who want to participate and get their car wrapped and work with brands from national brands like Buffalo Wild Wings and Empire Today to start ups like Divvy and local companies like Shop Rite or your local grocery trade. We work with companies of all different industries.

Want to learn more about Carvertise?

Looking for a unique, geo-targeted way to get your message out? Carvertise is a memorable and affordable way to reach your audience by advertising with car wraps on rideshare cars. Get more mileage out of your campaigns with Carvertise.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CARVERTISE

How are your employees adjusting?

Michael: 

How are your employees doing?

Greg:

They’re doing good but it’s definitely been a transition. I think our thing right now is to just try and be as empathetic as possible to everyone and to understand that, hey, this is a really rough time. It’s not normal, and we just want to be good leaders and just go out of our way to provide to provide good will to our employees.

It’s definitely an adjustment. You know, working from home with kids. Well your husband is also working as well. And figuring that out.

How have you pivoted your business during the pandemic?

Michael:

So how have you shifted? You have this very physical side of your business printing and wrapping cars. That’s about as hands on as you get. How do you transition?

Greg:

Where we are right now is, we’re actually considered a non essential business in the state of Delaware so we legally can’t do any printing right now. So we just had to be creative using this as an opportunity to do more tasks that we couldn’t get around to doing before as we we’re too busy.

So a lot of research and development projects. We’re doing a lot more bloggin about the different styles of wrap. How to design a wrap correctly. How to panel it properly. All of these little things that you realize you have a lot of expertise on. Well why don’t we just start writing it down?

For each division we put together special projects that we’re working on that I think we’re going to be a lot more efficient in all aspects of our operations processes going forward because we had this down time to reflect and change everything.

What advice would you give to find and explore new business initiatives?

Michael:

What advice would you give to do as you have done and find new areas of business?

Greg:

The name of the game right now honestly is how do we build goodwill with all stakeholders. Like how do we build good will with your employees? How do you build goodwill with your vendors? How do you build goodwill with your customers? How do you build goodwill with the community at large around you? Because, frankly, just given the situation with everything, generating new business now is probably not the best idea for our specific industry—we’re advertising on cars. 

Take this opportunity to learn and refine your craft. I think that is the best thing that you can do in this scenario.

Michael:

What are some of the things that you’re doing for your employees?

Greg:

So a couple of things. We have an all-hands meeting every Monday. In that meeting we give an update on the state of the virus itself and try to provide the latest accurate new sources so everyone is aware. Try to remind and to practice social distancing, and then we just try to put messages of positivity and share inspirational quotes that we find.

So that’s the first thing we do on a weekly basis. 

We’ve also encouraged people to start meditating.

I think the main thing that we can do is just show, “hey we care about you. We’re here for you. And keep communication open.”

I’d actually be curious about how you guys are doing with that.

Michael:

Ya, we’re doing a few different things. Our HR team has been really great about making the mental health options that are more through official channels really clearly understood and easily accessed. 

Making sure that if an employee is having a hard time.

Greg:

Just from what I’ve seen on the outside in connecting with your other team members on LinkedIn, it’s just really positive good content. I think that’s there to both uplift but also it’s good. I can see that Divvy understands small business; they understand start ups. They’re communicating in a way that shows that they are good partners and that they get it.

Michael:

It’s been all hands on deck. As soon as we could see how things were shifting, we really shifted our efforts to be towards how can we best arm our customers with the ability for them to stay in business. For them to be able to continue to do what they need to in this time.

How have you used Divvy to assist your business during this time?

Michael:

Have there been anyways that you’ve been able to use the Divvy technology to help in this transition?

Greg:

It’s been a really great resource to us to give everyone the freedom to feel hey we trust you. Make your own decisions. Be smart about it. They feel empowered to do what they think is best. And just from an internal tracking perspective the way it’s able to segment the cost by everything. We have to make sure every dollar is allocated correctly. It’s just helped us a lot internally to see, ok this is how we’re spending here—this is what we’re spending here. We should hold back on this. It’s just been a really helpful tool during this specific time to help navigate things to be able to segment pretty easily.

Overall, we’ve been pretty thrilled with Divvy. Our employees have been thrilled with Divvy. And it was really easy to set up as well. We just got up and running and now it’s just a normal part of the company cycle. When we hire someone, they’re issued a credit card. It’s help from a culture perspective and also just from an internal financial perspective.

Michael:

That’s awesome. That’s really good to hear.

What advice do you have for other businesses during this time?

Michael:

What would you tell other businesses at this time right now? If there’s any kind of advice. I know that you’ve already given a lot of great advice but if there’s one last small nugget that you’d give out to people what would that be?

Greg:

Ya, I would just say stay optimistic. I know it’s cheesy. Stay optimistic. Stay positive. You know, control your costs. Try to look out six months just to be safe because you don’t know how long this could take. Try to put yourself in a position where you have as much cash and liquidity on hand as possible. You just don’t know. Use a great tool like Divvy to help get your financial house in order. Build your culture and also try and give and be as helpful as you can during this time.

Michael:

Thank you again for your time. I hope that things are going well for you out there in Delaware. Certainly you have a lot of friends out here in Utah. We’re here to help you if you need anything.

Thanks again!

Greg:

Thanks Mike!

For more real-world advice from business owners, check out WFH Episode 1: Assaf Karmon, CEO of TurnoverBnB.

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