Dixie State University hosts a new startup founder series for the students who are in business or are interested. Billy Bateman, Co founder of Chatfunnels, was the first to speak to the students about entrepreneurship. Photo by Madison Boyd.
Self-starting businesses are becoming more common in today’s world, but students need the right resources to ensure that they know how to do it successfully.
Dixie State University Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center has implemented a new startup founder series as part of the entrepreneur speaker class. The series is open to anyone and will consist of entrepreneurs giving presentations about how they have started successful businesses.
Kyle Wells, dean of the college of business, said oftentimes students have great ideas for businesses but don’t know how to start. This series is an opportunity to bring in successful entrepreneurs to share their experiences with students.
“We hope as we start to communicate with you about these [entrepreneur speakers] … then you will continue to come out and support us,” Wells said. “This is really critical in what we are trying to do in this entrepreneurial center.”
The first speaker session was held on Sept. 30 featuring Billy Bateman, co-founder of ChatFunnels, a business that assists other businesses in creating efficient chatbots, which is a live chat on a website that helps with customer support and success.
“What we’ve done is we help companies use those technologies and optimize them for success,” Bateman said.
For example, they insert a business’ chatbot information into their own software, then run experiments to determine what needs to be done to optimize the chatbot.
“By doing these things all along the way we provide a value for our customers; they see real value, and we’ve been able to build a business off this,” Bateman said. “Really take care of your customers, then they will take care of you.”
Bateman said what holds people back from starting their own business is being able to save up the money, but he wants to emphasize that you don’t need to start off with money. He even said he was able to build his whole business without saving beforehand.
Bateman said the most important thing to think about when starting a business is to have the end in mind. Think about what the payoff will get you, what it will take to get where you want to end up, and what the end profit will be for your business.
“This is going to be hard no matter what [and] it’s going to take longer than you think,” Bateman said. “You’re going to be doing it 24/7, it’s going to consume you … [and] you can’t get time back.”
It’s crucial to have passion about your business idea and to really want it, Bateman said.
A few other pieces of advice Bateman gives to aspiring entrepreneurs is to choose your market wisely, become an expert in that market, and to find good mentors.
Bateman said his mentor had approached him about different business ideas and Bateman decided that working with other businesses was going to be the best opportunity. They started the business at the beginning of 2018, hired their first employee in December of 2018, and it continued to grow into what it is today.
“[I chose this business] because it’s new and I thought ‘there’s a lot of opportunity here’, Bateman said. “It [also] fit the profile we were looking for having the right market to sell through.”
Bateman said this business is important because chatbots are more than just answering consumers’ questions; they’re about sales and marketing as well.
Cody Williams, a junior business major from Sacramento, California, said, “I am grateful that we have something like this here because as an entrepreneur myself, I need resources like this to push in the right direction and create my own success.”
The next session will be held on Nov. 18, possibly featuring David Elkington, CEO and founder of InsideSales.com, Wells said.
The following sessions will be on Feb. 24, March 23 and April 20 from noon to 1 p.m in the Atwood Innovation Plaza.
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