Jim Beach is the co-author of School for Startups: The Breakthrough Course for Guaranteeing Small Business Success in 90 Days or Less. He is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, international keynote speaker and founder of InternationalEntrepreneurship.com. He hosts School for Startups Radio and holds a firm belief that entrepreneurship is not about creativity, passion or risk. As a leading expert in education and technology, he has appeared on prominent news sources such as CNN as well as been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Wired and New York Times.
Your first business shouldn’t be one that’s going to change the world. It should change your pocket book first. It should change your financial and physical situation. –Jim Beach
“Anyone can be an entrepreneur.” Jim shared how he became an entrepreneur and the lessons he learned along the way. He also spoke about how entrepreneurship is not dependent on how creative, how passionate or how much of a risk taker you are. Anyone can start a business. You just need to get off the couch and get started. You also need to be 100% invested and focused on your business. Don’t doubt your product. If you are doing it right, the market will validate your product.
Jim’s One Idea
When Jim was 25 years old, he had no idea what he wanted to do in terms of a business. He just knew that he had bills to pay and he wanted to go back to school to learn how to be an architect. He listed all the businesses at which he could work for only the summer. He didn’t care what the business was. Summer Camp seemed like the easiest one, especially since he loved summer camp during his childhood. His partner and he focused on summer camps that were only academic driven, which was unique. They started the business to help support themselves, not to make money. The goal was just to stay open. Within six years the business had 700 employees and 89 locations in the United States and four other countries. While this business wasn’t designed to become huge, his current business is the exact opposite.
Jim is the President and lead fundraiser for Healthpons; a company he describes as the Travelocity for doctors. There are 95,000 doctors within the network, which represents 17% of the doctors in the United States, and hundreds of urgent care clinics and hospitals. From day one seven million users were signed up. If you want a guaranteed appointment with your doctor and reduce your deductible by not having to go through your insurance, Healthpons is the place to go. They gained support from the Health and Human Services Committee in the Legislature, the same ones who wrote Obamacare. They also work with Medicare and Medicaid. Through fundraising they have raised a million dollars for the business. It’s been a complex road of hiring the right people for technical, programming and sales support. Each department needs to be supportive of each other in order to ensure the success of the company.
Lessons / Struggles
His first business grew very fast and accumulated a lot debt. They didn’t have an accountant or CFO to take care of that and ended up being stressed financially. They fundraised for two years, being up front about their problems to investors (transparency).
He started his first company with a friend and it turned out to be a bad partnership which in turn ruined their friendship. To this day, he will not do business with you if you are a friend. Do not mix business with pleasure. They should be kept separate.
Your first business shouldn’t be about changing the world. It should be about supporting you. “Sometimes you need to set goals back a little bit, less aggressive.”
5 Moves To Start A New Business
- Find a problem to solve
- Figure out how to solve the problem with little to no money
- Test marketplaces as early and as often as possible. Talk to real customers before you develop your product.
- Start building your product as lean as possible and don’t spend any money if you don’t have to.
- Take the product to the customer as early and as often as possible. Within a week after developing your product, your customers should be looking at it.
The Lean Startup by Eric Reiss
Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll
Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya
Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf
Secret To Success
“I don’t have a day job. So I devote 20 hours a day to being an entrepreneur. And if I decide to do something, I decide to do it with as much excellence as I can.”
Other Links Mentioned
The Lean Startup