I am proud to spotlight one of my High School classmates and friend Ryan Taft, Founder of OnSpot Social, an in store iPad app that allows small businesses to collect data such as email addresses at the point of purchase.
Ryan created OnSpot Social about five years ago after seeing a need in the market for businesses to better capitalize on interactions of customers at events, in store, or even in the field.
OnSpot Social has grown into an industry leader, being adopted by hundreds of businesses with others jumping on board every week.
Ryan is a driven individual, a guy who’s passion and knowledge of the digital landscape is clear through his existing accomplishments and continued success and innovation.
I always love catching up with Ryan and hearing about his entrepreneurial journey.
He is a true testament to believing in yourself and pursuing solutions to problems, which is really what any good business is at the core.
We recently caught up to chat about his continued growth and journey thus far building a brand.
Give the people a brief history of your brand and how far you have come from inception of idea to current state of business.
When we first launched OnSpot Social, we had spotted a new trend of using tablets like the iPad in real world environments like trade show booths, stores, etc. but we were very much early adopters.
Over the past few years that trend has really grown, and our company has grown with it.
More and more companies are realizing the power that a tool like the iPad + OnSpot Social can bring to their brick-and-mortar locations.
We are experiencing about 30% growth year over year in terms of subscriber base and annual revenue.
We think that number is going to grow as more and more businesses hop on board this new marketing trend.
Why/when did you decide to become an entrepreneur and build toward a revenue stream outside the 9-5?
July 2009 I quit a well paying job on a whim and started my first business, a social media marketing agency.
A year later, based on a common need customers & prospects continued to voice to me, the idea for OnSpot Social came about.
With all the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, what really drives you everyday?
The desire to provide a better life for my family, and to accomplish a goal of creating something from nothing.
A passion for innovating.
You started an agency in 2009, and then founded OnSpot a few years later. Throughout this process what is the most valuable lesson you have learned from pursuing a business online?
Stay focused on accomplishing your main objective(s) before spreading yourself too thin into other areas of opportunity.
I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs make the mistake of not getting their initial business to where it needs to be before starting other ventures.
There is only so much time and energy that you can put into your endeavors, so make sure your first is successful before even considering new / complimentary ventures.
It’s easy to get distracted. Stay disciplined.
Working for yourself can be highly productive, but if you don’t spend the time and focus your energy, you can easily get distracted.
In your opinion, what would you say are the 3 most valuable asset to building an audience?
Creating an intuitive platform that’s easy to use, Smart online marketing, and A focus on QUALITY over quantity.
Drop us some knowledge….What is the best advice for others that are “on the fence” about starting their online business or brand?
Do it! There are countless benefits to starting your own business.
That said, be smart and set yourself up for success.
If you are bootstrapping it from a financial perspective, make sure you’re debt free personally and have set aside some savings to help you get things off the ground.
Not having financial stress to deal with in that first year removes a huge mental roadblock for first time entrepreneurs.
What is next for OnSpot Social?
We are getting ready to launch 2 new feature sets later this year.
Companies will be able to run fully customizable digital campaigns in-store through the iPad.
Never before in the history of digital marketing have businesses been able to obtain all of the benefits from digital (engagement, cost efficiencies, data collection, etc.) in real world environments like their store, sports stadium, car dealership, event booth, etc.
We are getting ready to take OnSpot Social to the next level for our customers.
Follow Ryan @RyanTaft