(EDITOR’S NOTE: Today is the second day of “Startup Week Chattanooga,” and we conclude our two-part series focused on Bellhops, a true success story for the city and its entrepreneurial ecosystem.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
“One thing we got right from the start was the culture,” Cameron Doody proudly says.
The Co-Founder, Chair and President of Chattanooga-based Bellhops is less than a decade into his entrepreneurial career, but he had some important advice to share from his six-year journey, starting with culture.
“Culture is what is defined really early on and is hard to get away from,” Doody explains. “Entrepreneurs must make this so important early on and continue to emphasize it as the start-up grows.”
In the case of Bellhops, he describes the key ingredients of its culture as hustle, ingenuity, and an obsession with the customer experience.
“Our number one differentiator is the customer experience,” Doody says.
Another piece of advice he offers would-be entrepreneurs is to make sure this is the career path they want to follow.
“Be sure you know what you care getting into,” Doody says, noting that entrepreneurs “might have 30 days out of your first 800 where you might be stratospherically excited.” The other 770 days are obviously less positive.
“You have to be a glutton for punishment,” he says. “If entrepreneurs had crystal balls, they would never have started their companies.”
Focusing on the right need is also critically important.
“Companies don’t generally fail because Founders don’t work hard,” Doody observes. “They fail because they work on the wrong problem. Working hard is a pre-requisite for entrepreneurs.”
Closely aligned with focusing on the right problem is deciding which aspect of the problem you address first. “You have to prioritize your problems and work on the most challenging first,” Doody explains.