Learn what a serial entrepreneur does when launching a new venture with Chris Blanz of GoodJob HR
BY William Griggs
How does a serial entrepreneur build new startups, management teams and mentor relationships?
Chris Blanz’s entrepreneurial journey officially started back in 1994 with the launch of his first self-funded startup with two friends. That company eventually merged with another and went on to a successful exit with the sale to a New York investment company in 2004. Chris has since launched Cabedge, a successful interactive marketing firm, and GoodJob HR.
The Startup Slingshot talks with Chris Blanz and his experiences as an entrepreneur. He talks about iAgree Inc. and the necessary steps he had to take to create his business. Chris also dives into his experiences that lead him to forming his team as well as advice on how to find mentors and also how to help other young entrepreneurs. As a bonus, we asked him for his list of resources that our listeners could check out that helped him on his entrepreneurial journey.
iAgree Inc. – Originally a promise facilitation app (1:19)
After joining Jumpstart: Great potential but not sustainable
Pivot: Created a product called GoodJob
Mobile assessment retention for the Fast Food industry
Has other reaches (manufacturing and many other industries)
Kept the pricing low considering the minimum wage for Fast Food employees
Helps keep costs low for the owners and facilitate conversation they have with their employees
Value of his experiences (3:40)
Little things: how much the light bill will be, knowing who to connect with
Can’t be an expert in everything: So you need to reach out to other people
Listening to people:
Young entrepreneurs think we’re the smartest person in the room
Be open to taking advice
Learning from the startup (5:50)
Learn from the failures early
Also, asking and listening for advice is important. Even if you don’t take the advice, always learn and liste
Non-disclosure agreements (8:00)
Really help people open up in terms of talking about their ideas
Video chat: “Hey, I’m not going to steal your idea.”
Its also recorded
The Idea and the Team(9:45)
Got involved with Jumpstart
Brought in people to help solve the potential problems of the idea
Found those who had expertise he didn’t have
How to pull the team together (13:00)
Get people excited about your idea
Rally those around you to join
Talk about potential, having fun, building a better quality of life for ourselves and our family
Become infectiously passionate and enthusiastic
A story of Persistence (14:45)
Evolution of the Idea (17:33)
Business Model Campus
14 week program from Jumpstart
Find these accelerator programs, incubators, or mentorship programs
Will get lots of constructive criticism and will only help
The app was innovative but did not have a sustainable business
Started exploring where this software could alleviate pain in an industry
Finding the “True North” and the idea of Pivoting (20:00)
Really defining the market and really identifying the pain
Afterwards, talk to that market and test the concepts
You might not get it right the first time so find those who can guide you
If they even hit 4% of the market, it means huge profit margins
Really Simple. Ask.
Define the type of person you want to learn from.
Find a way to get in front of them
Conferences or websites with a telephone number
All you need to do is start a conversation
No novel but ask a few questions
For the price of a coffee, you can receive some of the best advice
How to mentor others (27:35)
Be willing to share but also willing to be critical
People don’t learn from flattery
Things may be obvious to you but not for those taking advice
Play the devil’s advocate (but don’t be brutal)
Put yourself in the product buyer’s shoes
What will they think about it
And get them in front of the audience
Final thoughts (30:25)
Find something you absolutely love to do
Then find a way to make money from it
At the end of the day, if you aren’t happy, you shouldn’t be doing it
Open it to the back: Find the code
Enter it online: Answer the questions
Find the top 5 strengths
When you find out those strengths, you’ll be able to make them 10 times better
Why are you trying to get into business?
Chris says “Best book I’ve ever read”
If in Nashville area, go there.
They’ll give you homework. So do it. It’ll be immensely beneficial.
Inc and Fast Company periodicals
Finding those who complement your strengths or compensate for your weaknesses
You Will Learn
– About Chris’ Background
– What GoodJob HR is
– How Chris and his team pivoted their way to their current business
– How to build a management team
– The impact JumpStart Foundry had on his new startup
– The impact multiple entrepreneurial endeavors can have on a new startup
– How to find mentors
– The impact mentors can have on you personally and professionally
– Books Chris recommends all entrepreneurs read
About Chris Blanz
Chris Blanz’s entrepreneurial officially started back in 1994 with the launch of his first self-funded startup with two friends. That company eventually merged with another and went on to a successful exit with the sale to a New York investment company in 2004.
Having learned lessons from each phase in his career, in 2001 Chris created cabedge.com as an interactive design company with concentrated efforts in branding, strategy, and Internet development. Since then, cabedge has become a highly decorated interactive agency with a client list that includes National Geographic, Tylenol, ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson, LEGO, and The Washington Post among others.
Using those experiences, Chris has recently returned to those entrepreneurial roots by developing several new products and participating in the Jumpstart Foundry’s (www.jumpstartfoundry.com) accelerator program with a new company called iAgree, Inc. The first product from iAgree is GoodJob (www.goodjobHR.com), a mobile employee engagement tool that emphasizes the power of positive recognition as a motivator for employees.
Chris lives in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife, son and their very large dog.
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About William Griggs
William Griggs is a product and customer acquisition strategist who has helped numerous startups including companies backed by Andreessen Horowitz, FLOODGATE, & 500 Startups. In addition to his consulting work, he has written for Mashable, VentureBeat, & ReadWrite. You can check out his podcast on iTunes (The Startup Slingshot TV) or follow him on Twitter @william_griggs for Tweets chock-full of delicious knowledge nuggets.
In addition to everything tech startups, William loves breakfast tacos, dogs, short emails, and Amazon Prime. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his beautiful wife Elizabeth.
The purpose of Startup Slingshot is to inspire, train, and support entrepreneurs just like you. Our goal is to help you solve a problem, change the world, make a fortune and give back. To accomplish this mission, we uncover tested business strategies from experienced entrepreneurs.