Daniel Goodin really disliked his job. After working as a floor tiler for six years after leaving school, he knew he wanted a complete career change.
So he decided to design and build Plan-et, an app Plan that helps small businesses promote themselves and their events to locals and tourists. As you do.
“Floor tiling is not the best job in the world -- I don’t recommend it,” he told The Huffington Post Australia. “Every day I was wondering how to get out of it so I am glad this came along.”
Goodin says he’d always been a thinker, spending time dreaming up new ideas for business and other apps, such as an interactive car game.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneur side to me,” he said. “I always wanted to do something other than the old 9 to 5 and started thinking along these lines of making an app when technology started to improve. I thought of a couple of them and they weren’t good enough and then thought of this one and thought yep, I’m going for it.”
Goodin was bored with his job and, rather neatly, boredom is what inspired him to create the app.
“In my little home town of Mandurah there are that many times when I have sat at home going what the hell can I do today?” he said.
“Great town, but nothing to do unless you drink a lot of alcohol, which I don’t. And Plan-et is going to solve that problem.”
The app is a map-based system which uses your phone’s GPS to locate you and alert you to small businesses, tourist attractions and events around you. Users can simply search for different types of businesses generally or use filters to be more specific. Your search ‘mood’ can be bored, hungry, dating, party, travel, hire, shopping, trade, professional or sales and you can adjust filters to suit your age, the distance you are prepared to travel and price range.
“It will work really well for locals and also people who are on holiday to find somewhere to go for dinner that night or tourist destinations,” he said. “It’s going to get people out of the house doing the things that they love -- say they have a hobby like boats and they don’t know where to go.
“They will know exactly where to take mum for dinner or the missus for a date or the kids when they are bored.”
It’s free for small businesses to sign up and display a listing with all their details and a pin for their location. If they want to post an event -- which could be anything from a cake and coffee special for a local cafe, a live gig at a pub or an author signing at a bookstore -- they can create an event with a picture and details within the app for $2.
Users subscribe to the businesses they want to receive notifications from and will be notified every time an event is created.
Goodin says this saves time and money for small businesses, and allows direct marketing only to those users who want it.
“Marketing can be expensive for small business,” he said. “Say a local pub has a live gig. They have to get posters done which is expensive because designers charge by the hour, they have to print them and they sticking them up or pay someone to start handing them out.
"With Plan-et it will be as simple as taking a photo, putting in a title, description with all the details and they’ll be able to post that for $2 as an in-app purchase. If they get one person in then it pays for that $2 marketing.
“And it’s on a map-based system so people aren’t getting marketing pushed into their face, they are actively looking for an event, they want to know where to go and what’s on around them.”
Goodin self-funded the project to get off the ground and collaborated with Melbourne-based mobile app development firm Appster to create Plan-et. He has since had friends and family invest in the project to pay for extra features and now he’s looking for a bigger investor to really ramp up the app’s reach.
So far Plan-et has 250 businesses and 500 users, mostly centred in Mandurah and WA. But there are already pins dropping on Plan-et maps in all capital cities as well as New Zealand and Bali. Goodin says he’s hoping it will expand rapidly from here to not only make his business a success, but to encourage people to discover new either in their hometown or while travelling.
“I am seeing people sign up daily which is a fantastic feeling,” he said. “I am really hoping that it takes off worldwide but definitely in Australia over the next month.
“Once it goes worldwide and once we have 10,000 businesses posting each day, then a fair bit of money starts rolling in. There are a lot of businesses around the world.
“But I am not really after the money, I am all about getting people out and about to enjoy this planet.”