Sponsor: Thanks to Microsoft BizSpark, a Microsoft program for startups, for supporting Silicon Prairie News. The program will be providing posts each month throughout 2013.
Amazing ideas often come from concerns we find in our everyday lives. That piece of wisdom rings especially true for Pixsi, a new consumer-centric mobile marketing company whose headquarters are located in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Pixsi grow first-hand. As a Startup Technologist for Microsoft, I see many startups growing on a daily basis. Pixsi is unique and a brilliant model example for entrepreneurs. Here are some takeaways that you can learn from Scott Andrews, the CEO of Pixsi.
1. Identifying the problem and solution is key
Pixsi helps consumers make simpler and easier buying decisions. There are no advertisements on the debut Pixsi web app and no tracking of user digital and physical interactions. How then does Pixsi know how to help with buying decisions and propose products and services that meet user needs and wants? The answer to this question highlights the biggest sea change in marketing in many years: consumers are now in control of the marketplace and determine when, where and how they pull information to make informed buying decisions. Pixsi facilitates this new “pull behavior” and much more.
By crystallizing the problem that they’re solving with a unique value-proposition, Pixsi solves the eternal pain-point of push advertising which is broken.
2. The idea becomes a company with a solid support system
Founder and CEO Scott Andrews (right) conceived the ideas behind Pixsi a few years ago and, together with his team and assistance from the Youngstown Business Incubator in Youngstown, Ohio, built the company that enables this sea change for the masses.
Mr. Andrews has been an entrepreneur since the age of 11 and worked for a SmallCap 600 retail technology company during the early-to-mid 2000s. His entrepreneurial instincts and background in retail marketing and technology sowed the seeds to found Pixsi. His team members added to the founding ideas as they worked together to bring the company to life.
3. Focus and organic growth
The Pixsi team focuses on identifying and defining problems, building and prototyping solutions that are as simple to use as possible, and creating new business models that work. “Organic growth of companies is key to a vibrant and healthy economy. We focus on this as we have fun imagining, creating and delivering the best possible experiences for our guests. Their safety, security and experience with our products are our top priority,” said Mr. Andrews.
4. Creative and unique solutions – Ads get scrapped and re-imagined from the ground up
Advertising and online tracking has become a bane to consumers and a money pit for brands and retailers. With this research and the founding ideas in mind, the Pixsi team sought to imagine a whole new type of shopping experience. “We removed ads from everything we interacted with online and in stores and thought ‘how would we shop if we had full control over our shopping experience and moved between online and the store seamlessly?’ We found the solutions and they’re really amazing,” said Mr. Andrews.
5. Build a solution that is dependable, scalable and secure
Pixsi was nominated and accepted by Microsoft into the Microsoft Bizspark Plus program in 2012. Pixsi’s debut web app and other services are hosted on Windows Azure. “The Microsoft team members have been a pleasure to work with as we evolve and head into the marketplace. I’m very impressed with the stability, security and fast technologies they offered that we chose to build Pixsi with. We needed worldwide dependability, scalability and security so we could pass this trust and confidence on to our guests. Microsoft delivered and exceeded again and again. Their patience and support has been helpful on many fronts,” said Mr. Andrews.
6. Learn from failures. Read. Write. Plan and do.
Mr. Andrews describes the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur as part of the territory. He views failures as stepping stones to success and attempts to minimize risk of failure as much as possible. A big part of being an entrepreneur and starting and running companies is knowing how to properly manage risk. “Know when to continue with something or someone and know when to stop. Reading books and the ever-growing supply of success articles online helps, but it’s the doing that counts. You have to plan your steps, write it out and do them. You will fall and fail. Look at the failures and ask ‘Why?’ Start with ‘Why’ and a lot that you didn’t see or understand before unfolds before you.” Asking the question “Why?” is where Mr. Andrews started with Pixsi.
As you grow your idea and nurture it along the way, remember to plan carefully, execute consistently and build on a solid support system.
This blog post has been authored by our sponsor, Microsoft BizSpark.
About the author: Sonal Mane is a Startup Technologist based in Chicago, Ill. She writes at Windows of Words and you can connect with her on Twitter, @sonalpmane. Her team creates a platform for startups to gain visibility and technology support and is also looking for the next high potential startup to nurture longer term. A variety of events form the backbone of Microsoft’s program for entrepreneurs, Windows Startup challenge, Accelerator for Windows Azure, supporting the 500 Startups Demo Day, Startup Weekend and DevCamps. The program is also engaged in financial funding and providing great mentors all over the country. 37k fans on Facebook and a Twitter following of 27k is testament to the growing support entrepreneurs and stellar startups are receiving from Microsoft.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
About our sponsor: BizSpark is Microsoft’s startup-specific program designed to get software and server products directly in the hands of people building technology companies. Joining the BizSpark program also gets you access to professional technical and business support as well as the option for visibility of your products into new markets; best of all it’s available for no fees.