iPod Repair Squad - Project Springboard 2007 Student Team Winner
James Scaggs, Founder of iPod Repair Squad, saw a need in the market and as a true entrepreneur, jumped at the chance. In February of this year, James and his team started a business repairing broken iPods that were no longer covered under warranty. In April, they won Project Springboard, a student business plan competition at Bradley University. "We wouldn't be here without Project Springboard. It got us in front of people we needed to be in front of and the knowledge capital it brought in will accelerate our business." Project Springboard taught him that in business you need a strong, well-rounded team to be successful.
In Spring 2007, iPod Repair Squad came to the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship for assistance in sourcing, logistics and a Challenge Grant. "The (TCE) team helped to eliminate any surprises from the equation. It's like a stamp of approval. That is what was able to be the driving force in moving forward and have all of your ducks in a row. That was one of the biggest helps that we got." The sourcing assistance through the International Trade Center helped find quality, low-cost suppliers that keep iPod Repair Squad competitive in their market. The Challenge Grant is being used to cover costs of negotiations with their partner, Junction Ventures and James says, "That's going to really help us out."
Regarding the negotiations process, James' advice to young entrepreneurs is to "bring in a third party that understands your needs. Be there during the process, listen, ask questions, and learn." Just recently, James, Junction Ventures and newly-named CEO, Rick Waller, have completed negotiations and established the business as an S-corp, where all are equity owners.
James has learned the challenges of doing business across borders, as one of his suppliers is located in China. "It's a lot of instant messaging late at night because they are 13 hours ahead of us," he laughs.
It seems to be working for them, though, as sales have been growing 35% a month since their first sale in February. He doesn't see it slowing down either and expects to hit a half million in revenues their first year. "We're building a sense of discipline and know that hard work really pays off. Even if it doesn't work on your first idea, it may on your next. You just keep learning and it's definitely worth the risk."