If you’ve ever wanted to strike out on your own, here are some tech entrepreneur tips from Brett Mosley, CEO of BuyMyTronics, a company which buys old gadgets from the public, and gives them new life by recycling them.
We’ve covered this company a few times in the past before because we’re a fan of they environmental impact and their business of keeping gadgets out of landfills. If you’re in the market for a new iPad, you know where to send your old one :)
So we asked Brett, based on his experience as a CEO, what his most valuable lessons were starting up. I hope you all you guys thinking of starting up something, get something out of this as well.
You have to outwork your competition
Period. It seems like that’s obvious but few are willing to work as hard as you need to to start a company. You can’t create something from nothing. I was doing everything for the first few years.
Most entrepreneurs don’t get that. I worked 80 hours a week, medical-school style to get going. I wouldn’t be here today if I had slept more.
Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and your company
You need publicity and it doesn’t come without effort. Make friends with the media and be relentless with your relationship building. I got on msnbc and New York Times because I kept emailing and calling and I believe in what I am saying.
If you don’t have a good story, if you are lying to yourself, it’s not going to work. If you work the media and have that story, you will get noticed and the coverage will give you unparalleled exposure and an air of legitimacy. I still feel like I have a great story to tell, and I tell it a lot. Sometimes I’ll joke I’m the annoying guy, but you know what, I am the annoying guy who gets stories.
If you work with friends or loved ones remember your relationship first
Even if it goes south, always keep in mind you want to keep the non-business bond, and always put friendship over money.
Usually things will work out amicably if you do it this way. Just keep the initial spirit of how you started, and that will be the saving grace. Plus, don’t be afraid to lay out specific ground rules of how the business relationship will work and what will happen in cause a split is needed.
Don’t spend your way out of problems
It took nearly four years before we were able to grow to budgets large enough to start spending on high-profile contractors, outside technology and solutions. Even now, we still keep that original mantra that creativity is better than overspending intact.
Bend over backwards for your customers and business partners
This is a cliche, but it’s one of the most important parts of being successful. I worked for several years recycling phones with an authorized Verizon wireless dealer with more than 80 stores across the country before our relationship turned into major component of our business. Now we provide all the company’s stores with a point-of-sale buyback program.
It just took us treating them with the respect they required, working with them as a true partner and doing whatever was possible to make the decision makers. We do the same with customers every day. Without that effort and the relationships we built with customers and clients, we’d still be working out of my apartment.
More about Brett and BuyMyTronics:
BuyMyTronics was founded in Denver, Co., USA in 2007 by Brett Mosley, a young entrepreneur who was tired of seeing countless electronic devices tossed into trash bins. Named to the 2011 Inc 500 list of fastest growing U.S. companies, BuyMyTronics offers a safe, effective and simple way for consumers to get paid to recycle more than 6,000 types of electronics.
Since inception, BuyMyTronics has saved more than 100,000 devices from landfills while paying out more than $2 million USD customers around the world. It is also one of the fastest growing companies in the country with no outside funding and no debt.