Guest post by Marcus Singleton, chief operating officer of EdConnective.
If there is a list of transformative learning experiences out there, becoming an entrepreneur has to be near the top. And after my first month of being the chief operating officer for EdConnective, I am living that transformation.
Having spent the better part of four years working at one of the big four public accounting firms as an auditor, I was no stranger to the business world. But being an accountant and being an entrepreneur are two separate animals. In my life as an accountant, I analyzed events that had already happened. My new role with EdConnective is forcing me to use whatever collective resources are at my disposal to MAKE those events happen.
In addition, I am now operating within an industry in which I have limited experience: the world of education. However, when my business partner, Will Morris, the founder of EdConnective, presented me with the opportunity to step into this role, I knew it felt right. I would get a chance to use some of my previous business experiences to help a shape a company that I believed was on the verge of doing amazing things.
EdConnective seems primed for entrepreneurial take-off. It has a great product, recently garnered a position in a top startup accelerator, and is in the process of executing some integral pilots at several schools. I entered the picture, energetic and hopeful, ready to get my hands dirty.
Besides levering my background to help refine some of EdConnective’s financial projections, it quickly became apparent that my biggest opportunity to add value came in doing something in which I had very little experience—marketing. I’ve read over and over that the biggest problem facing a startup is not the product, but rather the distinct possibility that no one will care about that product.
During my first in-person session with the start-up accelerator, it was obvious that I had been looking at the business from an accounting perspective, which provided an incomplete picture. During a five-minute presentation on our revenue model, we discovered that we had no concrete plan for how we would attract enough customers to make those revenue projections realistic. We hadn’t put together a solid marketing plan.
The first step was improving our messaging. We worked intensely on delivering a clear message of the value we were offering to teachers and schools,in a way that was easily digestible. We began putting together a plan to get in front of the schools, so we can put to use the great product EdConnective has worked so hard to craft. And in doing so, we’ve created quite the to-do list in our near future to include social media, attending conferences, free trials, and inbound marketing.
In a very short time, I have learned a lot. I’m helping drive projects will hopefully lead to real progress for EdConnective. I am a part of something that is can have real, positive impact for an education system that so sorely needs innovation. At the same time, I’m getting an opportunity to push the limits of my professional skill set.
I look forward to the future of EdConnective, and my place in it.
Follow EdConnective on Twitter @edconnective