Archive for category Brett and Mer
We have been live for about three weeks now and these three weeks have been the most agonizing weeks I have experienced thus far in my quest to start a successful company.
Up until this point every second I worked had a very definitive result and pushed us closer to our goal of launching. All my work was directed towards getting the website live, getting us to the point where we could finally start bringing in revenue. In the very early stages I could see, track, and measure my effectiveness and progress. The last three weeks, not so much. It has become incredibly difficult to see what, if any, progress I am making with my sales and marketing strategy. Things are no longer just in my hands. People need to start buying from you. They now have the power.
When you get to the point we are at now, you can work your butt off and see minimal results. Then you start questioning everything you have done. Why aren’t clicks converting to sales? Why aren’t we driving more traffic to the site? We are asking for feedback, if people aren’t happy why don’t they tell us? All of these thoughts will inevitably go through your head at some point. It becomes difficult to motivate and persevere.
What is the saying…Rome wasn’t built in a day? As much as you want to say “forget that” you need to keep perspective. These questions your asking yourself aren’t a bad thing (I think you should be constantly evolving) but you need to stay confident. Entrepreneurship is the most difficult undertaking I have ever experienced. It is surprisingly lonely, everyone is constantly questioning you, your decisions, and your company. If you don’t have thick skin and a natural confidence you can easily be flattened by the pressure and criticism.
You just have to keep pushing on, lean on those few people who support you or who have been through it before. You are doing something that A) very few people will ever have the balls to do, and B) Something that you should be passionate about.
I recently read a great article. Check it out here:
So today was Meredith’s last day in a location physically close enough for us to have face to face meetings. Although I have no doubt that we will be speaking on the phone pretty much daily it will be interesting to see if and how the dynamic of the company will change going forward. So far the partnership has been very good and I have no doubt it will remain so. Hopefully the move doesn’t shake things up too much
On the topic of partnerships I have a few other thoughts based on both what I learned at Darden and what I have experienced so far building scrubadoo.com. When I first started school I had always heard that it was helpful and even important to take on a partner when trying to start a venture. Every time I would here this I would scoff and think to myself that I didn’t really need anyone to work with. I have done a complete 180 on this idea. I am totally convinced of the benefits of a partnership. It has been a great experience for us and I doubt we would be as far as we are if I was working on my own.
That being said there are several factors needed in a partnership to make it work here are four that I can think of right now. First, I think you need to get along with the person. Meredith and I spend a ton of time together and if we couldn’t stand each other it would be miserable. Second, you need to respect the ability of the other person. If you don’t respect the work someone does you will always be questioning them and will likely end up re-doing everything, which will quickly disenchant both parties and likely end up in more work for you. Third, I think it is important to have complimentary skills. Meredith has an advertising/marketing background and I am a sales/finance guy. We both enjoy our roles in the company and are good at them. If what you want to do at the company and what you specialize in overlaps too much a ton of issues can arise; ignoring details in other areas, doing the same work twice, and arguments over who does what. Finally, one person needs to have final say and the other partner needs to respect and recognize that. At Darden we have heard a ton of stories about 50/50 partnerships that have gone bad over arguments that can’t be resolved.
For us everything has been smooth sailing so far. I am confident it will continue.
In her first post Mer explained how we ended up down the scrubadoo.com path but I figured I should give a little background about how I got to this point.
I graduated with degree in business from Wake Forest University. From there I went to work as a tennis pro in Sydney Australia for a little while before returning to the U.S. to enter BB&T leadership development program. After the six month program I worked as a commercial banker in the Washington D.C. area for several years. I made what at the time was a very difficult decision to return to school to pursue my MBA. When I left BB&T it was with the mindset that I would start a company while at Darden. I was not coming back to school to get a typical MBA job. I was using the decision to return as a way to force myself away from what would be a comfortable life in the corporate world.
I really believe that sometimes you need to make drastic changes to force yourself to go for it. For me it was leaving a cushy job to go back to school. Once at school there is a lot of pressure on you to get a “typical MBA job” so I did end up interviewing at several companies and actually ended up turning down a full time consulting offer to pursue this entrepreneurial path.
Now I am here and I am doing my best to make sure we are a success.
Until next time,
Wow. Never did I think I’d ever be a blogger. But this whole process has been so crazy and so much fun, I just have to share it! My name is Meredith, and I am a Second Year student at the Darden School of Business. I grew up in Connecticut, majored in Computer Science at Duke undergrad, lived in NYC for three years working in advertising, and came to b-school to become a brand manager. Now I’m graduating and going into consulting – quite a change of career focus – but that’s not what this blog is about.
What this blog is about is starting a new business straight out of business school, which is what my Darden classmate Brett and I have been working on over the past couple months. Here’s the story:
Brett grew up in Florida. His best friend’s father owns a medical scrubs manufacturer down there. They sell the scrubs locally, using a small sales force, as well as to one major East Coast retailer. Eventually, his friends and family recommended that he create a website to sell his scrubs online. This is where Brett and I come in. Brett decided that instead of working as a salesman for this scrubs manufacturer, he wanted to start his own online scrubs retailer and use that manufacturer as the first and primary supplier. He brought me in as his CMO, and we’ve been building the company ever since. We already have a logo (below), and we see first concepts for our web design next week. It’s been an incredible learning experience, and we want to share it with other potential MBA entrepreneurs so they can learn from our mistakes and successes.
So that’s my intro for now. More to come soon!