The Breakfast Club: The Past 90 Days at Passport for Good

At what point does an idea become a company?  When you hire a team? When you bring a product to market? When you close contracts?  When sales revenue hits the bank account? When you start to get traction on social media?

Scaling a start-up reminds me of the famous 1985 comedy-drama, The Breakfast Club, in which five high school students with very different personalities spend a day in detention together:

The brain of the company is comprised of our investors and the team of people we have hired.  We hired an expert team of five—two full-stack software developers, a product and customer success expert, and a sales executive.  Our consultants support us with our communications, finance, and legal needs.  Our team is a great mix of left- and right-brain strengths. We’ve established strong data and logic for our product and our business processes, and we’ve used our right brain for developing intuitive, compassionate and creative vision and values statements and brand promise and all of our trade show marketing materials.  As important as our brain is our heart.  We are authentic andcaring, and we seek to build long-term relationships with our customers and partners.  We make it easier to share the stories of volunteers #doinggoodhere in our communities..

Like an athlete, we are in training every day for a marathon. We are building our processes and habits, and repeating them while putting in long hours each day.  Teamwork makes the dream work. We attended five trade shows from the end of September through the end of November and met with: Superintendents (NYSCOSS), School Administrators  (SAANYS), School Boards (NYSSBA), Parent Teacher Associations (NYS PTA) and School Counselors (NYSSCA).  We went through “boot camp” on the BOCES contracting process and are proud to be approved as a  statewide software vendor. We use coaches and advisors who help to guide us and make us better in our weakest areas.

A start-up can feel like a basket case.  The workload is heavy and varied. On any given day, we fix bugs and improve features, provide customer support (3 ½-minute response time), experience a new sale, follow up on sales leads, provide software demos and training, share positive stories on social media, hold staff meetings and address individual HR needs, pay invoices, review financial and legal documents, establish foundational processes, and much, much more.

As a princess, the company seeks to be an ambassador to the community.  Every week, we go out and meet and greet our new customers and business partners. We have secured a statewide partnership with the NYS PTA and Junior Achievement.  We shared our mission of encouraging and showcasing community service through seminars and workshops all fall including the “How I Built It” panel for Women@Work.  Our P4G team volunteered at a local elementary school’s Trunk or Treat Halloween event, and we recognized a student from the City School District of Albany as Volunteer of the Year at the Ignite Albany Volunteer event.  We treat others like royals and we want them to know we value their relationship for the long term.

The journey of a start-up can be compared with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess. Don’t look for the criminal. We’re do gooders.