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CrossNet’s Chris Meade: The Four-Way Volleyball Net

February 11, 2020

Introducing the new sports game CROSSNET.

Chris Meade is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of CROSSNET.

Reminiscing on recess days playing four square, the three Co-Founders struck an idea for a four-way volleyball game that merged traditional volleyball with the four square. By dividing the court into four quadrants, rather than in half, they envisioned a new game that incorporated the nostalgic feel of recess.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. And with us right now, we've got Chris Meade, Chris, you're the Chief Revenue Officer for a product called CROSSNET. And so just first off before we get going and kind of talk about what you do there and kind of the history just in a nutshell, depending the best way to see what CROSSNET is, is to go to crossnetgame.com. But I'll let you explain exactly what it is.

Yeah. So about two years ago back in 2017, we invented a four way volleyball net, we're up late one night had about 200 ideas, we're checking off, what could we invent? And for way volleyball was the last idea there.

And what no one's doing this or what

nobody was doing it. We did a quick Google search. But through the patent was just completely available, went to Walmart, we tied to volleyball nets together. And a year later, we had a final product that we're ready. So that's just

that's one of those stories that, you know, people are going to be like, Oh, why didn't I think of that? Yeah. All right. Now, listen, it's one thing to think about the idea. It's another thing to, you know, because a lot of people come up with a lot of ideas. And then they don't execute on it fully. And so you've got a great idea. What do you do next? Yeah,

so we had a great idea. Our buddy Mike, who founded the company with us, graduated from Northeastern said, I do not want to get a real job. I do not want a nine to five I want to become an entrepreneur, I want to make this product out. So we found manufacturers, we found a really good a sporty manufacturer overseas, had them create sign offs and then NDA, create the product, send it back to us did a bunch of rounds of revisions and we started setting it up at our local beach in Rhode Island where we're from, we're up in Connecticut. And it just turned heads we'd set it up and 2030 people would just gawk at it. Come try to play have fun with us. And we knew we were onto something when we started setting up the

next everywhere. Wow. So what's what's kind of cool is you can set up and basically it's like you get in, you know, for a lot of businesses, you know, you can't really just stroll into a busy conference center where there's a lot of people set up your wares and demo for free. But you guys could wait like no one was there. No, you can't advertise here.

Exactly. Yeah, so we do it everywhere and anywhere. We've done the music festivals gone everywhere with it, and it's just a good time and nobody's complaining about it. Everyone's having a great time. And it's fun for 10 minutes. It's fun for two hours. So as much time as you have to put into it. You had a great time.

So would you actually have units then that like thinking of those first few times that you You set up, like if people said, Well, I want one of those. Yeah, say, Okay, well, it's and I think the price point is 150 by 149, or something like that. 150.

So yeah, we would have units back in the in the back of our car, we'd sell them from the beach. Sometimes we tell gain to use the units and break it down and say, Hey, give us 75 bucks for it. Go home, take it home. Have fun with it.

So Wow. Wow. Um, when you were first getting your first prototypes back from the manufacturer, what did you learn, we learned

it is going to be a long process. We were stoked. Obviously, we had this great idea. We knew it was going to be a big company and we we had a lot of potential, but we couldn't sell a product that wasn't quote unquote, perfect. I mean, there's always going to be improvements you want to make right, get it back and the colors would be wrong. The logo would be wrong. It wouldn't stand up properly. Yeah, I'd say we probably did five or six rounds of revisions on it. We're still making improvements like a just got a new pamphlet created for the inside the factory, but it took a long time, a lot of patience and if you're going to be many things product you need to have good communication with your supplier. So you went from the beach and obviously you're thinking okay,

we need to start selling these more than just like demo and and retail sales, individual retail sales. So what's your next step?

Yeah, so the next step was so we built a beautiful website we started getting some traffic in what we've really lacked was having a really good video to sell and market so we started reaching out to the typical influencers, but we wanted to find really high quality influencers that could provide us a high quality video but also have quality engagement back we see it's really hard to find a good influencer that's really going to give you that return on your investment. Yeah, definitely when the product weighs 20 pounds, so every time we send one out, we'd almost be losing $100 like it risk but one day we woke up to a video from we shipped one out to Latvia random place. Somebody was interested in Lafayette we woke up and they put up a video. There's a lot lufia Olympic team and we woke up the million views thousands of shares. And that was our first like viral video. Wow.

Wow. So what do you do with influencer marketing right now? Like what what is your process for identifying influencers knowing who's going to be a good use of your time? Obviously, you know, you've got it's not like this is free this is you know, when you ship out a unit to an influencer a you don't know if it's gonna work out and be I mean, you just you have hard costs associated with every one of those.

Yeah, and we're self funded completely so it's not like we had tons of money just to blow in influencers but we really looked at who our target market was, we found that volleyball players love the game and moms love the game to buy for themselves and also their children. So we really targeted let's get one high quality video from a volleyball player and let's get one really high quality video from a mom or a dad or a family member that we can really run ads on. So we got we got those videos, we're very happy always will take more videos and the more content the better of course, but we until we had those two or three really high quality And then we ran rampant on ads to bring traffic to the website.

Yeah. And and then obviously, so you're selling direct to consumers and but now you can buy cross net in retail outlets. Is that right?

So we are nationwide with a store called shields. It's a Midwest sporting goods store. And now we're available online at Target and Walmart and wish calm jet and tons of other big retailers. So it's growing really big.

And so you don't Are you physically in the stores or you just do through online orders. Right now

we're online direct from Target and Walmart. We are in the physical retail stores and scheels which has 23 locate 22 to 23 locations across the United States now about 2020 our goal be definitely be getting into those stores. definitely have a strong case point after our Black Friday sales. Yeah,

yeah. And so what is that process like when you're talking with Walmart or Target?

Yeah, it's an interesting one. So right now we had a distribute Your partner called retail, they're out in Nebraska. They're an amazing ecommerce company that helps the whole buying process of got to set up on Walmart and Target. But there'll be a whole separate conversation to be had with the buyers that work at Walmart target to get product placement. So we'll be trying to get if we things go with the plan will be getting a few test locations, getting probably eight to 12 units onto a shelf, probably get them into the test markets in the beach cities. Yeah, see them sell out. We've had no problem selling out in the in the retail stores, we get constant reorder. So just a matter of growth in 2020. This comes in That's awesome. And so what are now obviously when we're recording this year, we're kind of in the midst of the holiday season. So what have been some of your bigger challenges. This, you know, kind of ramping up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, all that sort of thing. And then now that we're in the midst of it, what are you experiencing? Yeah, so right now so we brought in a lot of inventory. What a Holic course we actually purchased 7500 units so we started just two years ago purchasing 50 units and that was all cash from our bank account. Yeah, we ramped it up we've doubled it doubled it doubled it now we're up to 7500 units and we're selling over like almost 200 units a day just on our.com and then a two x two three x there are other online retailers we woke up yesterday across all channels we sold over 500 at $150 price points so pretty good money coming in. And and now we're just every day it's kind of like wow, we did $200 over doing 250 orders and the inventories depleting. So a big challenge is making sure we're we had that flow of inventory coming in we we have Chinese New Year and things we have to worry about. So those manufacturing things are a bit of a challenge, but we need to stay on top of it because our company's only growing so

yeah, right. Right. So, you know, when you go through rapid growth. You know, I think a lot and I talked about this from time to time is there's a There are new challenges. And there are challenges that you may have not expected. You know, cash flow can absolutely be an issue. You know, when you're like, well, we guys, we got to order 75,000 unit, because I think that was 75 or 7500 770 500.


so 7500 units, that's a lot of cash

dude, to to lay that out. And so that's scary it is. So we've, we've negotiated really good terms with our manufacturer, where we only have to pay a small percentage up front for them to begin making that manufacturing process. They get everything up and up in order, they have their 2530 day turnaround time. And then from there, we pay the rest later on when they ship goods. So we have money coming in on a daily basis from our calm and then on the retail side, we have checks coming in every 60 days, 90 days. There's a surplus of cash is coming in coming out for but we're hundred percent self funded 100% profitable.

So I asked you these questions just simply because you're the chief revenue officer. What is the Chief revenue officer do as opposed to like a CFO.

Yeah. So right now in my roles for chief revenue officer, I handle all things, sales and pretty much almost everything besides social media on the marketing front. So I'm responsible for helping the creation of email content. We have a steady stream of over 70,000 emails right now that we're blasting out Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday sales, I handle all of the wholesale communication, getting us into the big box stores, talking to the distributors working with international distributors. So there's a lot on the plate. So anything that could lead to potential money for cross net I'm working on

and in terms of getting buzz for your brand, you know, are you still actively reaching out to influencers? You reaching out to media, what are you doing aside from just paid advertising?

Yeah, awesome. My brother Greg, he runs. He's the CEO of the company. He runs all of our our social media. He works with our agency to work on Facebook advertisements. He's incredible on Twitter, so every morning, he's working on Twitter ads to make our company go viral on Twitter. We wake up to hundreds of thousands of impressions at a very nice price point know, people seeing afford a volleyball net in their timeline. Now rolling, they see this four way net. And normally they have the same reaction that somebody at the beach does. What is this game? They'll get five seconds of their time, they'll click their link, we get their email, and we start selling

Yeah, now um, so Instagram in particular, you guys have a really good following on Instagram with 68,000 followers. What have been some of the things that you've learned about? And maybe this is more of a great question or your your CEO question but like, you know, obviously if you know a lot of great action pictures, you know, but aside from that, like how have you grown your Instagram following?

Yeah, there's been a few ways. Recently to date we've been doing like weekly or bi weekly giveaways. So tag your friends, tag three friends, like and comment on this picture and share it and we've seen if you go through the comments, you'll see tons of tons of comments on that will then run advertisements on that post to get more engagement and getting into next week. page now we're getting a lot of good traction on that. We're targeting some of the volleyball competitors in the volleyball community commenting on those things. So trying to just get out there where people wouldn't be interested in our game and then running retargeting on Instagram to get you to shop and get our patient gaining that gaining those followers. And no,

I suspect now that I've had all your Instagram up and your webpage up, I'm going to be seeing some CrossNet around the internet now.

My friends can't stop seeing it.

That's awesome. Well, Chris, mean, I want to thank you so much. Again, you're the Chief Revenue Officer for CrossNet, and they're on the web. You're on the web at crossnetgame.com. By the time this episode runs, you, of course, you're already available on Amazon. You're available at Walmart and Target.com. And then by the time this publishes, you may be on store shelves. Yeah, that's awesome, Chris, thanks so much. Thank you so much.

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