Undergraduate entrepreneurs face a paralyzing dilemma: how to balance class work with constructing a business. Richard Rodman, former president of Ohio University Entrepreneurs, gives budding entrepreneurs this advice, “Use every second you have to make your idea a business, and then grow your business to the full extent.”
Using every second you have to make your idea a business might cause intense stress, but Richard believes that you will find success when you find balance. “I believe success lies in a balance between health, family and friends, work, and God. I truly believe that when all of these things are balanced perfectly, success in terms of money or fame come second.” He found his balance by applying relevant lessons learned in class to practical experiences.
Richard has made his idea, 530Finds, Inc., a business. 530Funds, Inc., the parent company of Crowdentials, makes regulatory compliance software for the JOBS Act. Their first product verifies the accredited status of investors without the need to disclose personal financial information.
How did he transform his idea into a burgeoning business? He built his team, consulted with his advisors and mentors in the industry, and used the Innovation Engine Accelerator program. He selected team members from OU Entrepreneurs that were part of the StartUp Weekend-winning Flashcrop team and through personal connections. Richard was fortunate to have a great network to help him out along the way. “Anytime I had a question I would ask the people who have done it before me. This allowed me to avoid many pitfalls and spend my time growing my idea.” Who were those mentors? David Pidwell and Kevin Aspergren. Kevin prodded Richard to refine all segments of his idea, while David helped secure funding.
Things are going well for Richard and Crowdentials. His team recently received an investment of $300,000, which will allow the company to grow over the next year. Richard’s service has been requested so often that they have not been able to do anything except rebound the requests, which is a good problem to have! In this rapidly growing space, Richard will expand his amazing team to reach his goal of being the main hub for regulatory compliance software for the JOBS Act. He has already captured the largest role in the investor verification space and hopes to bring on 5 more employees and expand our customer segment by at least 200% within the next year.
Richard offered some simple advice for entrepreneurs who have ideas and/or are just getting started: “Get out there and do it! Make sales! Talk to customers! Validate your hypothesis!”