Steven talks about the highs and lows of entrepreneurialism and how seed funding can be tough to get for a startup in the pre-revenue phase.
THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS.
Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.Guy Kawasaki
I was once told that entrepreneurship has the highest highs and the lowest lows. But like every roller coaster, it's worth the ride in the end. That being said, developing Lawn Buddy has been far from just sunshine and rainbows.
Last April, we came out of the Shocker New Venture competition with a validated idea and a passion to pursue it. I immersed myself in the business community, making contacts through several other contacts. Some contacts would prove less reliable than I initially suspected.
That summer, we attended every entrepreneurial event we could. I was still working full time at ThunderBird Firearms Academy, but we could tell we were gaining momentum as a company with validation from homeowners and a successful beta launch with local lawn care companies.
Toward the end of June, I was introduced to a gentleman who was interested in helping us gain the investment we needed to develop the app. In that meeting, he told me he could get me more than $1 million in funding in six months. With this information, I immediately put in my two weeks at ThunderBird.
Unfortunately, this was an empty promise and the investment organization didn't even exist.
Still, things kept looking up for us, so I pushed the business even harder. When we entered Lawn Buddy into the local Get Started Wichita competition in August, we won, giving us a huge boost in exposure to local — and even national — audiences.
Then Briggs & Stratton called. It was like a dream. We had just won this competition and now we had executives from a Fortune 100 company flying down to meet with us. We felt like we had the momentum of a freight train.
That's when reality hit.
Mike Tyson once said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Briggs loved our concept and where we were going, but we were a tech company that was still in the pre-revenue development stage. They asked us to contact them once we had released the app and had some solid transactions under our belt.
No one wants to go in a straight line. You need a few curves and pit stops in order to truly enjoy the ride.
As I write this, it seems really straight forward. But this all happened after months of negotiations and several verbal intentions to help get Lawn Buddy off the ground. I wish I could say this was the only time a large corporation dangled seed funding in front of us.
We set ourselves apart by how we handle situations like these. We know that feeling bad for ourselves will just perpetuate more negative emotions. So instead, we put ourselves back to work with a newfound motivation that got us right back into fundraising mode.
We realized we were looking in all the wrong places. We had more resources right here in Wichita that could do just as much. We set up a meeting with just such a local group and pushed forward for investment.
Thankfully, we were able to find that investment base. We picked ourselves up, dusted off and pressed forward. This is how I know that we have the best team and the best community around us.
It's all about keeping our momentum rolling forward. We know that we will have ups and downs and we look forward to all of it. I believe that without the down portion, you wouldn't have the ability to gain momentum and go higher.