One of the most rewarding aspects of the work we do here at Mindbox Studios is getting to see our clients succeed. Many of our clients are startups just launching a brand new idea, and it’s awesome to watch those ideas begin to take off and gain traction with the world.
Nekst is a task management software for real estate agents, and it’s gaining significant momentum across the startup landscape in Cincinnati. Over the last few weeks, Nekst has been invited to participate in the next class from Uptech , and has also been chosen as one of the 4 winners of the Cincinnati Innovates contest.
For context, Uptech is a startup accelerator in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region. They attract entrepreneurs from across the US who have a big idea to solve a real-world problem, and provide those startups with unparalleled access to a slew of resources needed to fuel early-stage growth.
Cincinnati Innovates is a startup-friendly innovation competition that’s open to anyone with a Greater Cincinnati connection that has an innovation, idea, or invention, and the prizes for this competition are killer:
$20,000 cash from Cincy Tech
$10,000 Design Services from LPK
$7500 of Legal Services from a local firm
$5000 for web design services from Rocket Code
Brett ended up winning the $7,500 Legal Services prize.
We’re extremely proud at Mindbox to have been a part of bringing this idea to life, but there are some key factors that we believe play a key role in Brett and Nekst’s early success in the startup world. These things have been true of other Mindbox clients who’ve experienced similar success, and they are characteristics that we would hope to see in every startup that takes the jump toward tech entrepreneurship.
1. Industry expertise.
In addition to leading Nekst, Brett owns TREO Realtors, one of the highest performing real estate agencies in Cincinnati (top-producing by number of transactions, specifically). Now, you obviously don’t need to own another company related to your startup, but having a deep, expert-level knowledge of your industry – or at least of the problem you’re seeking to solve within an industry – gives you a definitive edge. This may seem like common sense, but the deeper your knowledge of your industry, the greater your ability to truly meet your customers’ needs.
2. Choose a hill to die on.
You can’t do everything or be everything to everyone. Focus on a core problem to solve, and do that with excellence. When Brett first came to us with his idea for Nekst, he had a vision that was larger than life, but also slightly larger than the market needed at this time. Thankfully, he had the fortitude and wisdom to dig in and figure out where he could ultimately provide the most value, and Mindbox was able to help him throughout this process, and ultimately create a solution together that was extremely needed within the real estate industry.
3. Be All In.
Startups are hard. That goes without saying. But their potential success is directly connected to your level of investment, and sometimes even the level of risk you’re willing to take. In Nekst’s case, Brett already owned and operated an extremely successful business. But rather than hedge his bets and make a minimal, low-risk investment into a new idea, he believed in the idea so deeply that he restructured how he operated with TREO on a daily basis, to be able to give Nekst the focus it needed.
And while this certainly isn’t every entrepreneur’s story, almost every startup struggles with how long to keep the day job and work on the their business on nights and weekends. As much as this is par for the course, the success of your idea will live and die on what you put in, and whether or not you’re willing to take a risk on it.
Alright, that’s it for now. Our most heartfelt congratulations go out to Brett Keppler and Nekst. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next (you see what I did there)?
About Mindbox Studios
Mindbox Studios has had the privilege of serving over 80 startups with strategy, design, and development services. You can see some of our work and clients we’ve served at mindboxstudios.com/clients. We’d be happy to talk to you about your project and discover ways we can help you get your ideas off the ground.
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