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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Small Business Lessons Learned

Groundhog Do-Over: What Do You Wish You Had Done Differently?

It’s that time of year again: Groundhog Day! We’re big Bill Murray fans (remember Groundhog Day?)  over here at KCSourceLink, so we asked a handful of Kansas City entrepreneurs what would they do differently with their businesses if stuck in a Groundhog Day time warp (ah, the suspense).

(Full disclosure: We had so many respondents (thank you!) that we’re planning a Groundhog Day Do-Over Do Over, so stay tuned for Groundhog Do-Overs: Take Two.)

What do you wish you had done differently when you opened your business?

To sum up, our entrepreneurs advised to make sure your idea is viable and worth investing in. Learn from your mistakes and forge ahead. And most importantly, #YOLO.

Here they are in their own words . . .

Chris Cheatham,ClaimKit
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Regret is a pointless emotion. And everything we (and I) have done to date has helped us get to this point. I am not big on dwelling in the past or the future.

Derek Anderson, The Green Van Dry Cleaning
In hindsight, it would have been easier to start a small business without a partnership. A friend and I formed the business together in 2003. He was a silent partner, and I was the managing partner. I bought his portion of the business several years ago. We are still friends.”

Laura Steward, Video Fizz
I wish I had validated my first idea. Just because everyone agrees something is an AWESOME idea doesn't mean they will do it...or more importantly pay for it (insert giant business pivot here).”

Amado Guloy, Rex Animal Health
“Nothing. No regrets. Every experience is something I learned from to further improve, so if I didn't make the mistake before, I would probably make a bigger one down the line. #YOLO

What do you do absolutely right?

Stand out above your competition to create a killer business. Use Resource Partners to ignite your business growth.

Chris Cheatham, ClaimKit
“I believe we have done one thing better than anything else – grinded it out.  Our company has focused on one thing: delivering solutions to the insurance industry.  We’ve kept poking and prodding to find where we could deliver the most value. That has helped us gather deep domain expertise and viable relationships with decision makers. We are at the fun part now.”

Derek Anderson, The Green Van Dry Cleaning
We communicate with our customers. This is by strategy. I have a very capable assistant; she makes sure that customer issues and communications never slip between the cracks. Although our prices are very competitive, we are not the cheapest dry cleaner in Johnson County. Regularly communicating and understanding our customers allows us to compete on value, not just price.”

Laura Steward, Video Fizz
I applied to Pipeline and looked at local resources to help me navigate having a Kansas City startup. All the corporate business experience and success in the world means a hill of beans in startup world. Sure, it gives you some skills, but know what you don't know and then admit it!”

Amado Guloy, Rex Animal Health
I applied to Techstars and got in. That was absolutely transformative for the company with its amazing global connections both in our industry and to investors.”

What do you continue to struggle with?

Every CEO needs a healthy balance between work and personal life. Learn to take everything in stride.

Chris Cheatham, ClaimKit
Releasing my brain from thinking about work.  I am extremely excited to release our new product, RiskGenius.  So I have to actively turn my brain off or turn it away from business thoughts.  Thankfully I have a wonderful family that I get to spend time with.”

Derek Anderson, The Green Van Dry Cleaning
“Getting the word out! People love our service and stay with us for years. But as a small business, our marketing funds are limited. We have to be creative in our marketing and brand building.

Laura Steward, Video Fizz
“I still struggle with the investment cycles. When people want to give you money and love your you take it and dilute? Do you wait until you need it? What's a comfortable cash on hand and runway? When will I sleep peacefully again?!

Amado Guloy, Rex Animal Health
Being a first-time CEO. Once you've solved one problem, 20 more pop up to replace it. It's a constant struggle, but a fun one.”

Your turn.

If you were stuck in a Groundhog Day time warp what would you do differently with your business?

Make KCSourceLink and our 240+ Resource Partners part of your do-over, do-it-right team. Reach out to us and let us know what you want to make happen in 2016. Odds are good we know an expert, a program or an event that can help you get there.

Call us at 816.235.6500, email us at or visit our tips, events and resources specific to your entrepreneurial type, whether you're innovation-ledsecond stage, microenterpriseMain Street or a startup

This post was written by Lauren Caldwell, wordsmith, social media nerd and newest team member. You can connect with her on Twitter at @missuglyshoes.

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