Infinite Discs – Growing a Disc Golf Business
The Roots of Infinite Discs
Infinite Discs is a very small company compared to most businesses the world, in the country, or even in your average community. But it has come a long way since it began in 2012 as an online information source for the growing disc golf community. Two friends who loved to disc golf together joined forces to create Infinite Discs as a hobby, writing blogs and sharing reviews of new discs. But some hobbies can become a passion, and that passion can drive it toward becoming a business.
It wasn’t long before Infinite Discs began listing a handful of discs on its blog website for sale. Though small in scale, the response was positive. Readers loved the idea that they could see universal flight ratings and reviews from average disc golfers. Sales grew, but the owners realized the lack of potential that the blog platform offered.
After a year of intense website development, Infinite Discs launched the 2.0 website in 2014 and doubled-down on disc listings. New coding on the website allowed Infinite Discs to take a quantum leap in the company’s ability to add, store, and locate each individual disc in a vastly growing inventory. As word spread that discs could be purchased after seeing the exact disc displayed, Infinite Discs sales continued to grow.
At the time, most disc sellers still listed only models and weight ranges. Buyers using those sites would receive a disc that could be any color, with any stamp variation, and often with a weight that was far from what they’d expected or wanted. Thus the online disc selling business had not yet proven itself to be reliable.
Building The Infrastructure
Once the new website started to take its form and prove itself as a reliable venue for selling discs, the focus turned more intensely on the building of an infrastructure that could sustain growth. One of the original partners chose to leave the venture in favor of other career opportunities, but the other owner hung on to push through the struggle of growing a disc golf business that could eventually provide a living. While help was brought into the store in the form of a couple of employees to handle increasing shipments of inventory and outgoing orders, it still wasn’t a job that anybody could claim as an full-blown career.
For those who visited the physical headquarters of Infinite Discs through the latter end of 2017, it was often eye-opening, not to mention somewhat humorous, to discover that the business was based in a building full of small offices. Infinite Discs had started in a couple of those offices, but slowly expanded to take over more rooms until the warehouse and local shop swallowed six of the one-room offices, connected by a couple hallways and a flight of miserable stairs (try carrying heavy boxes of discs up stairs every day). As long as there were shelves and empty corners available, the disc inventory kept growing.
More part-time help was brought in and a couple of employees were able to reach full-time status as sales increased. This also allowed ownership to focus less on managing the day-to-day rigors of order fulfillment and more on the longer-term vision of Infinite Discs. By late 2015 and early 2016, eyes turned toward a future home for the business. Local warehouses that were on the market at the time seemed either too small, or too large, or too worn-down, so it was decided that Infinite Discs would purchase a parcel of land and begin plans for building its own warehouse.
Expanding the Vision
As part of the company’s efforts to provide the disc golf market with even more information and services, Infinite Discs began expanding its website to include user logins that would allow individuals to not only interact with the retail site through reviews, but also keep track of their game play. Profiles could be created to track scores, keep personal statistics, and even create PDGA-like ratings based on performance. A free Infinite Disc Golf app was designed to interact with the website so that players could use their mobile device on the course as a scorecard to add more information to their online player profiles.
As part of that expansion, a new branch of the website was created called Infinite Courses which (along with the app) can be used to upload disc golf course listings. Once uploaded, those courses can obtain their own ratings based on scores uploaded by Infinite Discs profile players. With more courses added to the site and more players using the resource, the ratings system will become more robust and provide a better source of information about the courses, covering everything from aesthetics to difficulty.
In addition to the online store, player profiles, course database, and app, Infinite Discs also designed an interactive website for would-be tournament directors. By using the website interface, users can set up tournament events in their local areas and have all of the registration, players packs, and payouts handled automatically through Infinite Discs. Players packs can be offered and prizes awarded in the form of credit to the Infinite Discs store. Thus players can chose from many thousands of discs, accessories, and apparel as part of their tournament experience.
In addition to these services, Infinite Discs also began a VIP Club for disc collectors and players who love to receive a monthly shipment with a unique, custom-stamped, collectible disc to try. The club grew to 400 members by early 2017 and looked to expand in the future because of demand.
Where Is Infinite Discs Headed?
As the 2017 holiday season approaches, Infinite Discs is preparing for future growth. With a small group of eight full-time employees and a new warehouse awaiting completion, the company is establishing a solid footing in the disc golf market. The online inventory has grown to well over 30,000 discs (not including the physical shop and traveling inventory), and that number will increase with the new warehouse space. There are more exciting plans for the near future, including some big ideas that will take a while to fully develop, but the company hopes to continue growing and building a positive relationship with players all over the world. Keep your eyes on Infinite Discs!