Five Startup Tips from Sharing Spree CEO Ron Sapp
Do or do not, there is no try.
Those may be the words of a little green guy down in Dagobah, but they apply to anyone who has ever wanted to start a business.
In his list of nine tips for startups, Ron Sapp (the CEO of Sharing Spree) told Benzinga that you can't launch a new company with a negative attitude. “Go into business ownership with the mindset that failure is not an option,” Sapp insists, adding that you should make sure you have “significant funding in place – even more than you think you'll need.”
“Don't be afraid to change and go in a different direction,” Sapp adds. “You don't have to stay on the same path just because you originally saw it one way.”
Further, Sapp recommends that you “surround yourself with like-minded people who share your same passion.”
His other tips include:
- It's always going to be even harder than you think to get your business off the ground.
- Be prepared to weather the storm.
- Execution is the key to success. A lot of people have great business plans and ideas, but don't execute them well.
- Place employees in roles that you know they'll enjoy and find success in.
- If you have employees across the country – or across the globe –be sure to schedule regular meetings on Skype or a conference call. It's important to keep everyone on the same page.
Before launching Sharing Spree, a daily deals site that supports non-profits, Sapp worked with five other startups. “I graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor's degree in biology, and then went on to receive my Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing,” said Sapp. “A lot of hard work helped me graduate in the top five percent of the class. I've also had an extensive corporate career while working for American Home Products, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX), and Guidant Corporation.”
Throughout his career, Sapp has worked in sales, sales management, market development, and national sales training. Sapp also ran a franchise that sold cardiovascular products with sales of more than $10 million.
“From 2008 to 2010, I was CEO and owner of Hemphill/Sapp Inc., Evergreen Professional Cleaning, 3S Enterprise, Estate Investments LLC, and was also responsible for a portfolio of real estate and development that includes residential, retail and commercial office buildings in Oregon, Florida and Tennessee,” said Sapp. “The majority of my real estate development experience has been in Oregon. This includes projects that encompassed a great mix of office, condo and retail, in a livable, walking community.”
Prior to founding Sharing Spree, Sapp said that the site operated under the MyEZdeal.com name and website.
“I initially co-founded MyEZdeal.com in the summer of 2010, and offered an identical group-buying business model to Sharing Spree,” he explained. “The site built up quick momentum, and made a real difference for a number of schools and non-profits – we donated more than $30,000 to schools and non-profits during roughly six months as MyEZdeal.com.”
Despite the site's success, Sapp said that he knew he had only just begun to accomplish the company's “larger goals.”
“I wholeheartedly believed the company was capable of reaching an even larger audience and achieving greater results,” said Sapp. “It was time to make small changes with potential for big impact on our charitable dollar amount. In essence, it was time to revamp. The first step was rebranding to make the company and its message known to an even larger and more receptive consumer audience. In January 2011, our website became Sharing Spree – the currently thriving daily deals site with a big heart.”
While many daily deal sites struggle to make a profit, Sharing Spree is committed to donating as much as 15% of every deal sold to a school or a local non-profit organization.
“Every day, the featured non-profit receives 10% of the proceeds of the daily deal,” Sapp explained. “On top of that, buyers choose an organization from about 150 participating non-profits that receives 5% of every deal they buy. Every deal goes back to charity, every time – while buyers enjoy a sweet discount.”
Sapp said that the partnerships with non-profits come about in several ways. “Sometimes we choose non-profits according to the good that they do in a community,” he said. “In those cases, we actively seek the partnership. In other cases, non-profits will contact Sharing Spree asking to be a non-profit partner. Occasionally, merchants have a specific non-profit in mind they want to raise funds for. In this case, we'll contact that non-profit with the special request from the merchant and work to set up the partnership.”
“The same situation can occur when a customer has a special request for a non-profit, either in that a specific non-profit has touched their lives or that they are intimately involved with the non-profit,” Sapp continued. “New organizations and non-profits can join at any time, and can sign up by contacting Sharing Spree at sharingspree.com.”
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