When you think of the entrepreneurial qualities that go into building a successful business, what comes to mind? Most people will say it takes expert levels of knowledge, incredible social skills, and an innate ability to take risks. If these were the first things that popped into your head, you’re not wrong. However, there is another essential ingredient that goes into developing a successful business: creativity.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down for an interview with Chris Meade, CMO and co-founder of
Here is the company’s recipe for success thus far:
As with any successful business, it all starts with a creative idea.
Before co-founding Crossnet in 2018, Chris Meade was at a crossroads in his career. He was putting in exhaustive hours at a sales job that did not keep him satisfied. After years of going from job to job just to make a living, Chris was fed up with working for “the man.”
That’s when he decided to team up with two of his buddies who were recent college grads at the time. Together, the three farm town kids from Connecticut sat down and started brainstorming ideas for a new product. They wrote down hundreds of ideas for exciting backyard games, but one stood out from all the rest: four-way volleyball.
After they settled on the perfect innovation, it was time to get to work. They gathered up some supplies at their local Walmart and put their creativity to the test. About 12 hours after hatching their idea, the team was left with a working prototype for the backyard sport that would go on to take the world by storm.
Today, Crossnet is recognized as the fastest-growing backyard sport on the planet. It is sold in 47 countries, played in over 10,000 schools, and has generated more than 25 million dollars in revenue.
So how did they do it? According to Chris Meade, it all comes from creating a game that is fun to play.
“I think we’ve built a game that people really love and enjoy and when you look at it, it’s kinda like, ‘What the hell is that?’ so it also has that viral element to it.”
Currently, Crossnet is continuing its expansion through a global market that draws upon 365 days of sunshine. They are also developing a variety of games designed for indoor use. The brand has already implemented Crossnet-style soccer and pool line extensions. They are also planning to introduce Crossnet-style pickleball into their lineup in the near future.
Building one of America’s fastest-growing companies from scratch doesn’t come without its challenges, of course.
It’s no secret that almost every company in the world is struggling with inflation and increasing costs associated with running a business. Expenses surrounding freight, shipping, and raw materials have grown exponentially and companies are having trouble keeping up. Even the cost of acquiring new customers has been steadily increasing.
So, how does Crossnet keep up? According to Chris Meade, continued success in challenging times all boils down to a fine balance. Furthermore, maintaining this balance requires flexibility and an open mind.
In response to macroeconomic factors, Crossnet has switched some things up in order to cut unnecessary costs. In the words of Chris Meade himself,
“We’re just trying to figure out a way to keep things lean, keep things profitable, and kinda just ride out the wave just like everybody else is.”
This means staying flexible enough to make adjustments to keep the business profitable at the current moment.
With that said, there are some areas where it is essential to consult an expert to help navigate specific areas of your business. For example. Crossnet benefitted by bringing in financial analysts and marketing representatives to help them expand their brand and manage profits. When it comes to onboarding new team members or freelancers, Chris Meade had some words of wisdom to share with all of us:
“It's okay to understand that you’re not gonna be the best at everything. I’m a salesperson at heart, that’s what I love to do and I’m good at being the face of Crossnet and the brand. But there are other people who are better at direct consumer marketing and Facebook marketing and getting them involved sooner rather than later would’ve been a key element that I wish we would’ve done a little bit better at Crossnet.”
In the future, Crossnet is already making plans to continue expanding its products beyond the realm of four-way volleyball.
But the original idea that sparked the world’s fastest-growing backyard game will always be at the heart of the company. The co-founders have high hopes that the game will eventually become a widely recognized sport that will stand up to the test of time. As Chris Meade candidly puts it,
“I want Crossnet to be a sport that’s loved, respected, and played throughout the country for years to come. I want my kid’s kids to play Crossnet so I want it to be here forever.”