A former NFL player and Gilbert resident is tackling entrepreneurship by successfully building his business from the ground up and seeing exponential growth after just two years.
Rick Elmore, the founder and CEO of Simply Noted, has seen his company grow by as much as 300 percent over the course of the last 12 months.
His Gilbert business – which offers hand-written notecards, letters and other material for businesses and consumers – has thrived with companies across the world.
The growth has allowed Simply Noted to move its headquarters from Gilbert to Tempe, where it will continue to grow.
“When I have ideas, I don’t shoot for the roof, I don’t shoot for the sky,” Elmore said. “I have big dreams and big ambitions and I know where this can go. But how fast we are doing it, I think that is what is surprising to me.”
Elmore started in medical sales shortly after his football career came to an end. Originally from California, he received a full-ride scholarship to play linebacker for the University of Arizona, where he starred for the Wildcats. He was picked by the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFL Draft.
He went on to play for the Packers, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and Washington before hanging up his cleats.
Once retired, Elmore entered the world of medical sales while he also went back to the UArizona’s Eller College of Management for his master’s in business administration. Thanks to his drive and competitiveness from the gridiron, he quickly became one of the top sales executives.
Elmore said he would manage hundreds of clients, but still found ways to build personal relationships – partly through hand-written letters rather than emails, a tactic he learned from a professor at Eller.
“I was in a marketing class and I had a marketing professor going over the success rates of marketing,” Elmore said. “Being in sales, I was trying to take in everything he said. At the end of the lecture our professor said hand-written notes still have a 99 percent open rate. He said people appreciate it and nobody does it.”
Elmore teamed up with a cohort at Arizona and researched three access plotters, which were used by architects in the 1960s and 70s to draw designs and blueprints. They worked with mailing houses and acquired mail equipment.
In 2018, Simply Noted officially launched.
“We just made it work,” Elmore said. “It was a pretty crazy first year to say the least. It’s a pretty complicated thing. We are trying to marry mechanical robots to software.”
Now 2 years old, Simply Noted has helped the likes of international companies and everyday consumers send cards and letters that give off a personable touch. Elmore and his team work with businesses to establish a strategy surrounding how many letters or cards are sent to clients.
At times, it could be a card wishing them well. Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, Elmore said companies have sent letters of support to clients.
Clients are also able to upload personal logos or images to the Simply Noted website. From there, personalized messages can be written and Elmore and his team then send the card, letter or other hand-written material.
Elmore said the uniqueness of the product and overall ease of use for both businesses and consumers has helped Simply Noted grow.
“Our customer turnover is very small,” Elmore said. “When we bring on a new client, we hold their hand and teach them how to use our service and everything they need to know. That way, when they use it, they get everything they want out of it.”
The success of Simply Noted in a short period of time, while impressive, is still not up to Elmore’s standards. As with football, he strives for more.
Elmore doesn’t quite know the heights Simply Noted can reach but he believes it is still not close to that point. He said that aspect of his personality drives his wife Callista crazy.
While not completely satisfied, he is still proud of all he has accomplished.
“It feels awesome, but I still have so much work to do,” Elmore said. “As something grows, you can see new ways to get better. To give a sports analogy, you can be good as a senior at the high school level but once you enter college you see some gaps.
“It’s good to see some success but for me, I’m excited to see where that success can take us. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface.”