How Three Local Startups Made It

The Eagle

By: Kelly Brown

The popularity of ABC’s Shark Tank has made it hip for many to identify themselves as entrepreneurs, even though it’s more likely most haven’t made it out of the what-if stage.

“There are tons of people who think they have this great concept to make a lot of money, but they haven’t taken a single step in a million-step journey,” says Corey Cormier, whose determination is paying off big with his third startup — Legal Monkeys — based in Downtown Bryan.

The sobering and well-documented truth is that for every 10 people who try a startup business, only one succeeds. And, on average, that’s only after a few years without making a profit, consistently working unreasonably long hours, obsessing about the smallest details and, oh yeah, not just growing, but growing fast.

To discover what’s needed — besides working fast, hard and smart — for a startup to become profitable, Brazos 360 interviewed three proven entrepreneurs in the Brazos Valley — Cormier, James Benham and Jeff McDougall.

Turns out, they have a few commonalities other than just an extreme passion for creating commerce from imagination: All are Aggies and are addicted to innovating. Each taught themselves how to code at a young age. Analytical problem-solving comes naturally to them and none takes anything for granted.

Questions each has asked before embarking on a new venture include: Do people want what I’m selling? Is it viable? Unique? What’s my plan to make it profitable?

Ideas are a dime a dozen, the trio agree, but what matters most is the execution.

The entrepreneurial ecosystem that all three live in includes mentoring for Aggieland Startup at Texas A&M and Bryan-based Seed Sumo, which gives money to startups with potentially lucrative ideas in exchange for a small stake in the company.

It’s important to share success stories, Benham said, adding that there’s no single proven formula for mastering a business.

“We have to keep evolving,” said Benham, a College Station city councilman who has created a handful of startups.

All three advised to keep pressure on yourself, regardless of the roadblocks.

“It’s even more important to work like someone is chasing you — because they are,” McDougall said.

“It keeps me up,” Benham said when asked if he always keeps his eye out for the next great idea. “I wake up thinking about product and go to sleep thinking about product. Obsolescence is any technologist’s worst nightmare, so we’re always… click here to continue reading.

 

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