Bringing The Business

By Louis Do

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Making a Splash in Uncertain Waters

For young people who want to start a business, taking the first step can be the hardest part.

“I just don’t know what my plan should be, or where to begin,” said Brooke Cannons, a BCC student working on launching her own clothing delivery business and accompanying app. “It just seems so daunting,”

The BCC Voice reached out to Jonathan Bybee, chief of product design and development for Ravean, a startup specializing in heated jackets. Bybee’s college path began as a graphics design major, which lead him to the field of product development, and finally to starting his own company.

The first step towards developing a business is to identify the needs of the market. Ravean’s brainchild began with the idea for a jacket with a heating element. Heated jackets have been on the market before, but they were purpose-built for tasks such as work in extreme conditions or back-country skiing. There was not a jacket that had a heating element created for everyday use.

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“We boiled down what we thought the selling points were for the jacket, even outside of the heat,” said Bybee. “How would you like to have a jacket that you wouldn’t have to switch off during the seasons? If you could have a jacket that could work throughout the seasons when you need to have a jacket, wouldn’t you want it?”

Bybee suggests to always start by asking questions because it stimulates the thinking process, and helps people envision the role your product can play in their lives.

The next steps are to determine whether your product will sell and to further refine the concept. This is as simple as creating a mock-up image of the product with PhotoShop, writing in a description, and publishing it on a WordPress site. After that, you can buy keywords representative of your product, which will bring in Google search traffic. Based on this data, you will be able to determine if your product can survive.

This involves fundraising for capital by using websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and attracting attention through a social media campaign.

Don’t be afraid to start small. The startup movement is fertile ground for young college students to launch a vision beyond their wildest expectations.

To check out Ravean’s line of jackets for all seasons and climates, or to get information about an in-depth entrepreneurial course they offer, visit: http://www.ravean.com

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