The Urban Engine Podcast

20 - Matt and Toni talk with Cole Rickles about the value of grit.

An episode of The Urban Engine Podcast

By Urban Engine
In the Urban Engine podcast, we discuss entrepreneurship and success. We interview local entrepreneurs in Alabama and the South, discuss how to succeed, and how to propel your idea forward.
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20 - Matt and Toni talk with Cole Rickles about the value of grit.
  Highlights (01:32) Grit is not choosing the easier path because long-term you're actually going to be more satisfied with the decision that you made. (08:05) Cole explains the impact of having entrepreneur parents are entrepreneurs (see the academic paper listed below with data on this subject; children are 1.3-3X more likely to be entrepreneurs when their parents are) (08:30) Cole describes his first business in middle school (pressure washing). He printed out 250 flyers and received zero calls. (13:59) Cole tells the story of his 1st Amazon business he started about 3 years ago with the idea of selling gun grips. The day after getting the delivery, Amazon stops allowing sales in that product category. Instead, he had to pivot to selling on EBay (more manual labor than Amazon, but was able to clear the inventory). Now have an actual successful business selling other products on Amazon today. (17:59) “You gotta be closed-minded on the end goal, but you can’t be closed-minded on how you’re going to get there” Summary Cole Rickles sits down to tell quite a few interesting stories of the various startups he has been involved in going all the way back to middle school. Most attempts fail, but the successes only occur because of the presence of grit. Good things never come easily, so persevering while being open-minded on how you are going to get to your clearly-defined end goal is essential to success with any entrepreneurial undertaking. The idea of grit has been popularized in the last few years (especially by Angela Duckworth’s book on grit listed below released in 2016), but the idea of how one can instill grit in another person is still up for debate on how that is done. One significant advantage Cole (and many other entrepreneurs in the Huntsville community) has is entrepreneur parents who provided first-hand real-world lessons in the value and results of grit. Links (SpaceX failures video) (TED talk on grit) (Grit from a psychology perspective) (How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood: Today’s “snowplow parents” keep their children’s futures obstacle-free — even when it means crossing ethical and legal boundaries.) (Podcast: How I Built This) (Academic paper: Why Do Entrepreneurial Parents Have Entrepreneurial Children?) Books The Little Engine That Could Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
May 22, 2019
19 - Mobile App Development and Solutions
Matt talks with Michael Carroll, Lacey Reinoehl, and Jarrod Parkes about mobile app development and solutions. They discuss the common options and features in app design, and cover the importance of determining scope of work and managing expectations with the customer desiring the app. Highlights (2:50) Lacey talks about process to define minimum viable product for your desired app. Clarify the base functionality and allow the app developer an initial idea of what the scope of work is required to complete (along with if a native or non-native app will be required). (13:10) Jarrod walks thru an example of the app developer’s estimate of the work required to start an app and what stages of development are expected. (19:14) There’s often sticker shock when it comes to paying for app development. Michael explains how a couple developers working on an app for a month (typical to get an app to at least the minimum viable product stage) can hit $20,000-30,000 in burn rate. The hourly rate for app developers currently is typically in the $50- 200/hour range. (25:08) The group talks about the importance of qualifying the customer and managing expectations,  along with determining if a native app is actually needed (as that is far more costly than non-native apps). (46:41) Lacey talks about the importance of pitching yourself to a developer. There’s currently no shortage of work for app developers today and you need to convince them that this will be a project they would like to take on and is viable. Summary Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and Android in 2008, smartphone applications have quickly become an essential part of our daily lives. Options for an app are either native (iOS and Android have 97%+ of the global market share) or non-native. An app developer works with a customer to determine how best to add value via the creation of the app with regards to required functionality (native apps enable more real-time interaction with smartphone sensors like GPS, the camera, etc.) within the limits of the budget available for the project. Ideally, the customer spends time before reaching out to the app developer to clearly define the purpose of the app and mock up a draft design and functionality (in Keynote, PowerPoint, or various app mockup tools). The customer should clearly explain the viability of the project to convince the developer to take on the challenge. The app developer will work with the customer to further refine the minimum viable product and set realistic expectations about milestones, costs (both up-front development and long- term maintenance), and level of support provided by the developer. The end result should be a meaningful app that adds value and achieves what cannot be done with any other existing app today.   Links Lacey Reinoehl’s company: Jarrod Parkes: React Native (JavaScript framework that can ease porting apps to iOS + Android): App mockup tools: mobile-app-pros-134cd1d9af0a Global market share of smartphone OS options: Books: - Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days - The Lean Startup Innovation/dp/0307887898 - Don’t Make Me Think
March 25, 2019
18 - Selling a Business and What That Means
   Toni and Matt talk with John Thornton about the Business Assistant Microloan via The Catalyst Center. Brandon Kruse and Trey Sharp joins Toni and Matt to talk about their experiences in selling a business. Highlights (00:57) John Thornton summarizes the benefits of a Business Assistant Microloan (typically $5,000-$25,000) available to startups, early stage businesses, and established small businesses. (09:55) Trey Sharp and Brandon Kruse talk about their experience that led to them selling Sharp Communications and DialMaxx. (27:00) Brandon explains private equity acquisitions are likely to continue (outside of during significant recessions) with continual desire for companies that are generating $1 million+ in net profit per year. (29:43) Brandon explains the fear that a competitor will buy out your customers is silly. Customers leave because they haven’t been serviced, not because they’ve been marketed to better. (52:22) Brandon talks about the importance of knowing your business financials well. Otherwise, you tend to hit a ceiling and it’s hard to get to the next level. Summary The process of building a successful business is quite the challenge, but selling your business is no walk in the park either. Most tend to underestimate the time and effort required to prepare for a sale. Following efficient business practices (making sure personal and business expenses are always separated, running very clean accounting books) does make the acquisition process run smoother. Entrepreneurs today tend to be increasingly focused on the sale of their startup when they should be more focused on actually building a successful business that generates cashflow first. Selling your business when the stars align can bring peace of mind by trading ownership for an immediate return of your time (via payout of the projected returns of the business for the next 5-20+ years depending on market sector and position in the business cycle). The seasons of life often aim an entrepreneur toward another creative direction for a new venture, so selling a prior business can ease and accelerate that transition. There’s plenty of experts in the M&A space (M&A attorneys, veteran entrepreneurs) in the Huntsville area so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions as they can distill years of hard lessons into just a few minutes of your time.    Links The Catalyst Center Business Assistant Microloan info: If you want a thorough sneak peak of everything that’s involved in selling your business, this prior edition covers most of the details for $6 shipped: Last 30 year chart of global M&A activity: Rich Marsden (HSV M&A attorney Brandon mentioned who is very active in the HSV area): 
March 25, 2019
17 - Balancing Success, Family, and Life
Matt, Toni, and Trey Sharp talk about how to succeed as an entrepreneur while still thriving in your relationships with family and other non-business interests.
January 2, 2019
16 - The Power of Starting at the Bottom
The team talks with Kevin Fernandez about the advantages gained and lessons learned from entry-level jobs and early-stage opportunities.
December 26, 2018
15 - Giving Back
The team talks with Kevin Fernandez about the importance of giving back to those around you and the power of the Law of Reciprocity.
December 19, 2018
14 - The Art of the Deal
Matt, Toni, and Trey Sharp discuss negotiating tips and strategies. Areas covered include: dealing with vendors, buying/selling businesses, buying a car, and even negotiating in marriage.
November 6, 2018
13 - The Difference Between a "Startup" and a Traditional Business
Toni, Matt, and Brandon Kruse talk about setting goals, the difference between "traditional business" and high growth "tech startups", and the power of persistence.
October 30, 2018
12 - How to Deal with Customers in 2018
Toni and Matt are joined in this special episode by Brandon Kruse, founder/CEO of CommentSold to discuss all aspects of serving customers in the modern market. Topics discussed range from handling customer problems, how to measure customer satisfaction through surveys, properly qualifying customers to avoid problems in the first place, and more.
September 11, 2018
11 - Tweaking & Improving Your Tactics /w Andy McCloy
In this episode, Matt & LJ talk again with Andy McCloy about how and when to evolve in your tactics & strategies and how to change with the market and the times.
July 19, 2018
10 - How to Learn Something New /w Andy McCloy
In this episode, Matt and LJ talk with Andy McCloy of Body Creations about how to develop a habit of learning and improving and the importance of being an eternal learner.
July 19, 2018
9 - How to Build Your Personal Network (/w Kevin Fernandez)
You've often been told that networking is important. "It's not what you know, it's who you know" and "Your network is your net worth" are common quotes. But, how do you actually network with others and build your personal circle? For most of us, it doesn't come naturally, and it's not taught in school. Matt and Toni talk with networking guru Kevin Fernandez about how to build your network the right way.
June 19, 2018
8 - The Power of Persistence (/w Kevin Fernandez)
The team talks with Kevin Fernandez about the Power of Persistence and Kevin shares the story of how he almost gave up right before hitting his goal.
June 19, 2018
7 - Brandon Kruse on Competition & More
Brandon Kruse of CommentSold joins Matt & Toni to talk about managing relationships in entrepreneurship, thinking about competitors, the power of an abundance mindset, and his favorite downtime hobby at Huntsville West.
May 30, 2018
6 - Get Motivated
Matt, Toni, and Trey talk tips, tactics, and routines to get motivated and stay that way. The team also talks about the power of great customer experiences and how key customer experience is to achieving success in the current market.
May 14, 2018
5 - Handling Frustration
The team discusses how to deal with frustration as an entrepreneur, the importance of confidence/humility, how to balance confidence & humility, and when & how to ask for and/or offer help.
May 3, 2018
4 - How to Find and Deal with Partners & Co-Founders
We discuss reflections on the 3 years of CoWorking Night, the positives, negatives, and things to considers in working with partners or co-founders, and how to network and find new people to grow your circle.
April 11, 2018
3 - How to Deal with the Hard Stuff
We discuss how to deal with burnout, how to get out of a rut, how to handle failure, the importance of making it hard on yourself to quit things you really want to do, and how to manage, train, and lead people.
April 10, 2018
2 - How to be More Productive
In this episode, we discuss tools & tactics to get more things done, goals in entrepreneurship, and how to continually learn and improve yourself and your business.
April 10, 2018
1 - How to Start Something New
Matt, Toni, and Trey discuss how to get new ventures off the ground, the pitfalls of being a perfectionist, how to go from idea to perfect product, when/why to bring other people into your idea, and how to invest your time.
April 10, 2018
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