$140,000 In Grant Money For Startups
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
A Classic Startup Story
One summer day in 2012, while attending a Blair County Chamber of Commerce event, I was introduced to a very unique scientist and inventor. At the time, nobody had heard of him, but over the last seven years, he has risen to become one the world’s foremost experts in a field called bioremediation. Of course, I had no idea what that meant either, but as I would later come to understand, the science promises to clean polluted water faster and cheaper than anything else that has come before it.
No Patents, No Product, Just a Vision and A Dream
Colin invited me to his research site located near the Penn State Campus in Aloonta, PA, where he showed me his “test systems,” that were producing promising “capture rates” of various nasty pollutants that have plagued waterways of the Northeast US for the last 50+ years. The pollution happens as a result of coal mining activities and other deep ground drilling processes. Prior to the introduction of his technology, almost nothing could touch the nasty dissolved “metals” that rendered our waterways lifeless and bright orange in color. When I first met Colin, his system wasn’t even in product form yet, and he didn’t have any patents. Since then Colin’s systems have gone on to treat millions of gallons of polluted water, he has a global patent and is being looked at by governments and organizations all over the world.
Nothing Happens Overnight
If you are a startup, or small business with growth ambitions, it’s important to recognize the process of growing a company. Certainly, you can put yourself on the fast track, but good things take time to build, and your business is no exception.
Get the Basics Down First
Often, we think growing a business is about landing a big client, or getting a bunch of money in funding, but that is usually not the case. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over a decade and have consulted for almost 100 companies. I can tell you with certainty that if you don’t master the company processes while it is small, the only thing extra money, or sales will do is create more headache and risk for you and your investors.
Start Where You Are
Colin attributes his professional brand presence that we built him as one of his keys to growth and success. While that might be partly true, great branding has to be backed up by a great product, and solid delivery of that product. When you get your basic systems in place and running reliably, only then are you ready to do a grow. :)
$140,000 In Grant Money
About three years into the project, after working with Colin intensively to develop his technology into something that market could accept, he went on to win two technology awards and $140,000 in grant money. Not two weeks in, not two months in, it took about three years for the world to recognize what we knew all along, (that we have a game changing technology on our hands.) In the scope of your lifetime three years (to produce results) is not long, but sometimes when you’re young and optimistic, that can feel like a long time. The game of business is won by those who refuse to give up.
Focus On the Customer, Tell Great Success Stories (Brand Stories)
With today’s social media age, getting your business in front of people is easier than ever. The key here is good storytelling and repetition. Get out in front of your customer as much as possible, listen to their feedback, evolve your product, and document EVERY customer feedback opportunity that you can. Then showcase the positive stories, promote them far and wide, and you will start attracting more attention than you thought possible. Just don’t expect it to happen in 3 weeks, or even three months. 3 years seems to be a magic number for business.
I was fortunate to meet Kyle as I was getting started. He helped me turn my idea into a product, and my product into a website. Shortly after, we applied for a grant and received $140,000 in startup funds!
Branding Does Matter - A lot
I’m consistently amazed at how much money entrepreneurs will spend on various aspects of a business, but spend very little time crafting a brand identity, brand story and packaging that actually fits their market. Even if you don't think your brand has packaging, it certainly does. Failing to see this, might results in the failure of your business.
First off, a business is simply a legally recognized vehicle for profitable product delivery, so you won’t hear me talk much about the “business,” but you will hear me talk about the product, packaging and brand story a lot, because they always precede the business, and act to pull the business forward. Afterall, if you have a in invention, or idea, but you have no profit or a customer, you have a hobby, not a business.
Most people can develop a great proof of concept, or prototype and sometimes even get the packaging right, but most fall short when it comes time to gettting the right message out to the right audience. This is why 90% of businesses fail in the first five years, they simply fail to find their audience. To avoid being another statisic start with these simple states and accelerate your business,
You have to get your product & packaging right as per what the market is presently looking for. We call this the product-market fit.
Then you’ve got to get your brand strategy right. This is everything from your logo, to packaging, presentation, messaging and more.
Finally, you’ve got to broadcast that message on the appropriate platforms… and stick with it!!! Consistency is king.
You Know The Formula, Now What?
Many of us have cookbooks full of delicious five star recipies somewhere in our kitchen, and if we followed them, we would have five star meals all the time. But, if you're like me, you don't need to eat gourmet every day, however when it comes to your business, whose recipe are you following?
For your business, or startup having the right plan and the right guidance can mean the difference between an enjoyable road to profitablity, or a long slow road to the demise of your dreams, embarassement from your family and peers, and sometimes unthinkable amounts of debt and legal ramification. It does not have to be this way.
Get The Right Plan & Get Discounts
I have over 15 years of digital marketing, business growth and product launch experience. I have insane discounts for small businesses and startups that you should take advantage. If you've been thinking about getting your project off the ground, but have been waiting for the right time to take action. If you’re at a place where you are thinking about investing serious time and money into your business, or product launch, we should talk first. I’ve already made all of the mistakes you are about to make, let me help you shorten your learning curve and reduce your risk. Take advantage and schedule a free call, while I still have them available.
Conclusions About EcoIslands & Technology Startups
Truth is, the product, or invention doesn’t matter nearly as much as the mission and desire to solve problems for your customers. Your product today, may look very different in five years. When you lead with a desire to solve problems, backed up by a willingness to adapt, and invest in your brand story and strategy, you have a recipe for almost certain growth.