Great Ideas Come From Real Challenges Without Solutions
I’ve founded two companies in the last 8 years. And while it is not necessarily a pace I would recommend for everyone (especially if you have young kids!), the entrepreneurial process is so exciting and satisfying that I would not choose to do anything else.
Like all great ideas, each of my companies started as a real challenge without a good solution. In my case it was the painful and time consuming process of finding qualified suppliers to bid on the products and services my company was looking to buy. After watching other companies and colleagues face the same issues as me, I founded Matchbook (a strategic services hub for companies with limited or no sourcing resources) in 2008. The success of that idea led me to the realization that all companies were facing challenges accessing and sharing supplier information. They were stuck using time consuming (and at times expensive) sources of supply intelligence to identify qualified suppliers, although at the end of the day, they really trusted their peers more. While asking peers for their recommendations is ‘free’ it could be inefficient. I wanted to find a way to combine intelligence and automation to improve the supplier discovery and knowledge management process. And so tealbook was ‘born’ in 2014.
Challenges As Startups… And Solutions
The obstacles we face at Matchbook and tealbook are the same that many other small teams are up against: intense timelines, limited resources, and a goal that seems so close and yet so far away. I am a believer in the power of smart, agile teams, and so bringing together the right people has been key. I find self-starters – whether they come on board as full time staff, contractors, or consultants – and let them do what they do best.
One of the most innovative features of tealbook is that we use collective industry and peer intelligence to help our clients make better, faster supplier decisions. In other words, we take the very information people say they trust most, and make it available in a fast, intuitive way that doesn’t compromise the need to keep internal information internal.
Starting a new company can be a lonely journey. When talking to new entrepreneurs, I always encourage them to surround themselves with good advisors. Find people that believe in your idea (and you!) and want you to succeed. Experience and perspective goes a long way towards success!
Thank you Stephany!