Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today is the Day!

After a very long semester researching our market and product potential Cool Wax will be pitching our idea to investors for our MGT 472 Venture Creation Class today at 3:30pm in Taylor Hall Rm. 306. Throughout the semester we have secured a manufacturer, identified our market, and assembled a business plan to establish the requirements to launch the business. Our plan is to start the business in January 2013. However, we will not be sleeping in the mean time...Jake is attending graduate school at the fantastic James Madison University, Bianca is pursuing a job with the government, and Kyle will be working in technology sales providing database solutions to the government. Each of us will strive to acquire new skills that can be beneficial towards Cool Wax's launch. When ready to launch we will first be targeting Virginia, and gradually moving into Vermont and Colorado. Our product has also changed since our last post. We continuously try and improve our product, and the new Cool Wax is a cylinder tube, similar to a chapstick. This makes the product more convenient and easy to use for customers. Please feel free to contact Kyle Houser with any questions. He can be contacted at igroup.jmu@gmail.com or houserkw@gmail.com. Thanks for your support!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The End

I must first say that having the right group is critical in order to be successful with your venture. We found out fast what each of our strengths were individually and depended on them throughout the semester. The entrepreneurial route is extremely risky but the reward outweighs the risk in more ways than just making money. What you learn and gain from the experience is something you'll never get unless you just simply do it. You learn how to test the world so to say and you push yourself to go further and further into the darker waters with the increased desire to make a profit goal. Your salesmanship skills increase quickly as you learn different strategies to make people "give in." I found that its all about the marketing and convincing people that they NEED your product. I also found that you shouldn't wait and try to plan out your ideas in depth, it was better to just take something easy and simple and go sell it asap and while you are selling and if you're failing you can easily make changes and improvements and better target markets and better understand what people want.
My advice:
Choose your team wisely...It's always good to try to improve your weaker skills, but with entrepreneurship it's better to know what your weaker skills are and find a partner who has them as their best skills. Worry about improving them later. You really need to make sure you have a good balance of skills within your group and accept that nobody's perfect and you all depend on one another.
Don't think, DO!.... Don't sit around hoping a good idea will come to you. Do a simple brainstorm of stupid ideas and then try your best to sell each one right away expecting to fail. What happens (at least for us) is you quickly learn what people are willing to buy and you can add on to the stupid idea as you go making it a better idea as you make adjustments. Our idea for wax was originally just a plan to fail at something cheap and to fail early but it was a great success.
Overall the entrepreneurial experience this semester was a positive one. It presented us with real life challenges we will need to consider in the future if we wish to start our own business. I definitely lucked out with my group in that we all got along and Jake and Kyle regularly snowboard and ski which helped our product advance so much farther than we thought. It proved one of the points we talked about this semester, you have to find your passion and spread it with others. Advice I would give would be to start early and to expect some type of failure, but don’t look at it as a bad thing. You need to take your failures and work with them to find ways to continuously improve. :)
As the previous two have mentioned, the right group was critical, and ours worked very well. Each of us shared a unique set of skills with the group, making our entrepreneurial venture a success. I look forward to pursuing entrepreneurial adventures while keeping in mind the critical lessons learned in this class and initial venture. A venture is not successful on its own, it takes time. Lots of time, and accompanying this time, it also takes patience, cooperation, perseverance, and motivation. iGroup has proven to ourselves that we have all the necessary traits to pursue a venture. This class has possibly been the most valuable learning experience during my educational career at James Madison University. Other classes have been educational, but this class requires real-world interaction and experience. It inspires students to get out and try something they believe to be a failure. Cool Wax was just that, something to get iGroup started, nothing more. Now, Cool Wax is a brand spreading across the United States, and thanks to this class will continue to do so. As I already said, this class really inspired creativity and the entrepreneurial passion in each student.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ready for the final lap

Kyle and Jake spent a whole afternoon running around Harrisonburg, getting supplies and making deliveries and all three of us spent an evening together making and packaging more wax to get ready for our final hall. We set up a Facebook event and are using it like an order form . Anyone who is "attending" is essentially buying our product, so we message those members to let them know locations that any one of us will be for a period of time and also making deliveries when needed. We are getting closer to the profit goal at a selling pace of 2 or 3 every other day. Jake has one more "hit" to make on the Ski and Snowboard team this upcoming week that will bring in more than enough money to meet our goal. To better help people use the product and hopefully to help sell we created a short video that we put on the Facebook page to better show and explain what our product does. We have a fresh list of customers and a fresh bag of wax to sling. This is the last week and we're ready for it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shout out to AJ Steed, Tahoe!!

Thanks AJ for supporting Cool Wax, check it out and here is your shoutout. Believe me if this wax takes off, and I get the money I will be there to see you shortly! (Prof. Wales, if you are reading this post, this is not the one for class, the one right before this is.)

Waiting for Results!

Packages have been shipped to friends out west and up north. We are currently waiting to hear how our attempt to enter these markets is going. A few initial sales have been made and we look forward to the final results. Within the past week we created a flier to send with our product, now that we have begun our mailing campaign.

We have chosen to take Kevin Plank's approach in mailing this product by using a standard envelope and cramming as much wax in as possible. A recent management professor recently purchased some to see if it could be used for the same purpose on garden tools. As I am typing this a friend is requesting some Cool Wax sent to Tahoe, looks like another shipment will be going out tomorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nothing too epic with Cool Wax at the moment. We met tonight to beef up our supplies. Bianca is getting us a spot on the commons for next week and we are in contact with the ski clubs on campus and will market to them our commons time and location once its set. The sales from the clubs and more Ski Racing sales should give us a large profit boost. We are meeting again tomorrow night to package up tonights work and ship out some proda to the West Coast where we have established some reps in the Lake Tahoe and Colorado ski areas.

Monday, March 29, 2010

To stay cool, get warm...

With customer feedback, using our friends essentially as test dummies, asking for straight forward opinions, and with a drunk idea iGroup has made a few needed changes to the oh so Cool Wax. We have learned that change is constant and necessary and we will be ready for more as we continue on this journey.

To start there is no way we are going to continue to donate ½ our proceeds to the environment. We still love it but we’ve learned that you won’t make money (sorry mother nature but business is a nasty game) and people are willing to buy our product regardless of our donation efforts. We originally thought large donations would help boost our products appeal and that we even loved the environment that much…wrong! We still love our environment and want to keep our cool slogan so we are still donating, but we just changed the 50% to 1%. We are currently researching the “1% for the planet” label you see on a lot of organic products and seeing how we can label our product with it.

Next, we found that saying we are donating to the global warming research efforts is a very very not so good idea. Too much biased opinion is placed on the whole global warming thing and we found it safe to just say alternative energy research (and maybe soon 1% for the planet). When pitching to one of our friends, as soon as we said proceeds to prevent global warming her exact comment was; “oh god, are you serious? Another global warming sales sympathy pitch?! You guys are lame. I’d never buy it if you had that b-s label on it.” So with immediate response to our new customer research, we ripped off that back label and are selling it straight up.

We also tested the product ourselves but like all testing there is no better way to find flaws then to sell it and wait for complaints. The biggest complaint with the wax is that it does not rub on too well and when you are rubbing back and forth on your edges it can even rub the wax off. If the wax doesn’t coat the edges properly then rust spots will show up and the idea of Cool Wax will be crap. This is an obvious problem for the quality assurance management team (Bianca, Kyle, & Jake) at Cool Wax. Luckily however, Jake and his girlfriend got drunk…

When socializing with friends Jake was telling them about the Cool Wax product and the disappointment in the new found flaw. Jake’s girlfriend then told him “just put it in the microwave for a few seconds.” So simple and obvious, never underestimate the lack of complex thought while inebriated. She told Jake about how she had to mold a candle in some art class in grade school and they just put it in the microwave and it made the wax pasty. This simple added instruction could increase the performance of the product to meet our customer’s needs. At the end of this week after all of our schoolwork load dies down, the group is planning to meet and test what may be the new directions of application for the Wax.