Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bill Combes talks about MicroCOO

Where are you from originally?  
Originally from Hauppauge, NY and town on Long Island

What university did you go to? 
University of Kansas

What brought you to Austin?  
I met my business partner for my first company, AnythingWeather at the KU.  We decided Austin was the place we were going to start our business so we left Lawrence KS in July 1995 for our move to Austin.

What is the idea behind your startup?
My main goal is to help others avoid the pitfalls of starting a running a company.  I want to help others succeed.  My company MicroCOO covers two areas of interest.  The first is operations.  For companies that cannot afford or are not ready to hire a COO, that is where I come in.  I can provide fractional COO services and the fraction of the cost of a traditional COO.  The second is social media.  I developed a product called Social Storm Marketing which provides social media management for companies at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone full time to complete those tasks.  

What need does it fulfill?
We provide valuable services that are cost effective to the small to medium sized business using them.  A company may have a need for a chief operating officer but not $200,000 a year to hire one.  Instead of a full time COO, we can provide that service at a reduced rate.  The same thing applies to social media.  A full time content and social media manager (just about a requirement for every business nowadays) will run a minimum of $3000 a month.  We can provide the same service for between $500 and $1000 a month

What exactly does your product do?
The COO service covers sales, marketing, operations, human resources, and any operational functions.  Social Storm Marketing covers all aspects of a company’s social presence online.  We manage the entire social environment for our clients.

Who is it for?
Our main client base is small to medium sized businesses.  However we are managing social for several Massage Envy locations in the Denver metro region.  

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up a business?
Getting my first client to believe in me!  Now I depend on referrals and networking to make it happen.
What is the next step for you and your startup?

Continue to grow at a steady pace and make sure every client we work with is absolutely satisfied with the services we provide.  

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
To have a plan, never give up and make sure you have a close group of advisors that you can turn to with questions avoiding family if you can for that advice.

What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

My long standing relationship with the Business Success Center and Jan Triplett was recently rekindled.  I met Jan back in 1995 when we started AnythingWeather.  Her events have really helped get my name out.  I try to attend as many networking groups as I can.  My connections with TEN and also with the WEN network in Williamson County have been helpful.  Really meeting as many people as I can and connecting with them on LinkedIn has helped business a lot.

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