PHX Startup Week Recap: Insight Shares Small Business Solutions
Feb. 20, 2017 kicked off the third annual PHX Startup Week in Arizona, powered by Chase for Business. The five-day event visited six different Valley locations across three cities. Entrepreneurs and leaders from around the state gathered to share experiences, participate in debates, attend live panels and access resources that would help them take their businesses to the next level. Best of all, the entire event was free.
On opening day, attendees were given the opportunity to attend multiple seminars like How Being Real & Relevant Helped Me Hit 2 Million Impressions on Social Media in 8 Months, Pitching With Passion & Purpose and Own Your Story, Grow Your Start-up. At the end of the day — before happy hour — everyone hurried to the cinema room to hear the closing keynote speakers: Mike Guggemos, chief information officer at Insight, and Tim Crown, co-founder/chairman of Insight and partner of AZ Crown Investments.
Helping startups scale their businesses
The room was filled with enthusiasts eager to hear small business solutions from Insight’s executives — many were even crowded around the doorways ready to hear the wisdom Mike and Tim were going to share. Zach Ferres, chief executive officer at Coplex, was the facilitator.
After thanking everyone for attending, Zach started the discussion with a simple question directed at Mike, “Why are you here today?”
Mike: Insight is a big company, but every big company starts small. Everybody who is willing to take the right risks has the opportunity to…create something significant. But also, you are our future clients. As companies grow and gain magnitude, we want to have that relationship with you to help foster that growth.
Zach: So Tim, what’s your story; how did you get started?
Tim: My first year of college I went to work for a big computer company. My first 10 months I realized that wasn’t for me. So, I packed up all my stuff and drove west to meet my brother at Arizona State [University] and we started Insight. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we took a cash advancement of about $2000 and placed an ad on the back of a computer shopper magazine. [We figured] if we could sell 50 hard drives, we would have made some profit. Well, we ended up selling 300 that first month and the rest, as they say, kind of escalated.
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Zach: What advice would you give to people who are currently in a corporate job and are thinking about entrepreneurship?
Mike: The desire to do something different and always learn, I think, is inherent for certain people, and entrepreneurs tend to be that way and if you’re at a large scale company and have that drive…. Go talk to somebody and start thinking about how you can create that next generation of how that company is. [For me] what was enticing was the idea of making something new. What is it that drives you?
Tim: Find an underserved segment in the market you’re interested in and become the dominant member of that section. You’re gonna run up a lot of hills before you find the one you belong to. I’ve never found an easy business. It’s never easy. You have to be true to your personality and never be boring. Had we not tried new things, failed and taken risks, we never would have found our pot of gold.
Zach: What is your modern portrayal of entrepreneurship?
Tim: It’s whatever you want it to be, but entrepreneurs also see a way something can be done faster, stronger [and] better.
Mike: I think it’s taking advantage of energy and opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs have that energy — they’re always looking for something new and believe in themselves more than anybody else around them. They’re constantly looking for opportunities to explore and grow.
Zach: What are some misconceptions about startups?
Mike: I think there are two [misconceptions]. One, is that there’s a plan. In reality there’s no methodology. You’re just going to have to figure it out as you go, that’s the reality of it. You might have a phenomenal idea you believe it to your core. And you might push ahead, but then have to stop when you realize you’re off 15 degrees. You have to be willing to adjust and you just can’t give up. Second, is [the misconception] that you should back off sometimes. No. Keep having luncheons and keep connecting. You’re going to find one network that will make it for you — and that could take years. If you truly believe in [your business], you have to keep going.
Building a brighter future
PHX Startup Week was a monumental event where entrepreneurs explored small business solutions and attended seminars that provided valuable insight into practices that would contribute to future success. As an organization “born in a garage”, Insight understands the time, effort and resources that go into turning an idea into a scalable business. That’s why we offer free, relevant content around industry trends to help your business obtain a competitive edge.
- Discover how you can implement a mobile workforce by reading the short article, What Small Businesses Need to Know about BYOD Security
- Download the whitepaper From Ripples to Waves to learn about the benefits of cloud communication.
- Check out the in-depth article, These Small Business Technology Statistics Are Surprising, for a peek at modern technology resources.
- Learn how you can drive efficiency with the two-minute read, 5 Ways Technology Can Improve Office Productivity.