Growing up, as most kids do, my life was primarily focused around sports, basketball in particular and like a lot of stories out there, I broke my hand the second week of practice my freshman year at New York University (NYU). No longer physically capable of participating in workouts, I became bored and frustrated. It was winter break, no students around, just my teammates and an overwhelming amount of free time.
Being at NYU, but more importantly in New York City, I was inspired seeing my peers developing startup companies. I had written my college essays about how I was a “problem solver” and based on my experience with standardized testing, I wanted to eventually develop a watch that was designed to help students pace on the SAT and ACT.
While that day I broke my hand was depressing and disheartening, it was ultimately going to change my life forever. From that point on, I focused every free minute I had to starting Testing Timers and developing this SAT/ACT watch. My family was fully aware of my dream, and when I asked my father for some guidance, he directed me to a California-based, third party manufacturer that our family company had been using for years. By third party I essentially mean the middleman between domestic companies and foreign factories. For the next 2 weeks, I worked constantly, until obscene hours, on developing a 30-page functionality manual.
From there, time flew. We found our reputable factory. Began developing our first prototype. Summer break began. I began researching how I was going to launch the product. Bought preexisting patents. Filed for my own provisional patent. All of this while still devoting 4-5 hours to train for my upcoming collegiate basketball season. I was just turning 19, leaving my house by 5:30 AM, coming home around 8:30 PM.
Towards the end of July, I attended my first tradeshow in Miami. Just me, some new business cards and brochures, a Testing Timers banner, and 13 prototypes of a product that I truly believed in. Once again, I was completely oblivious to the fact that my life would change forever. When I was in my booth, I was in my element. I was networking, introducing people to my creation, but most importantly learning and asking questions. The feedback was extraordinary with people even trying to outbid each other for the prototypes. I left Miami with no watches and with my interests quickly changing. As being a collegiate athlete was becoming progressively less appealing, the thought of developing this company excited me.
Fast-forward about a year later and we’re in the present. The success thus far has been tremendous. We have partnered with over 20 highly-recognized tutoring centers nationwide, had both ACT and College Board recognize our watches for meeting all criteria in an ABC News article, been featured in the New York Times, Gizmodo, and the Examiner, but above all I am most proud of staying true to myself and building the company around the fundamental business ethics by beloved grandfather taught me months before he passed.
My philosophy of business and the way I have built and currently run Testing Timers comes from the values my grandfather stressed.
There were times where I could have taken short cuts, but I never did. And that’s why I can ultimately go to sleep at night proud of what I have accomplished. Had I been focused on making the most amount of money, in the quickest amount of time, I would have taken literally the exact opposite route I did.
Now I write my first blog for Steve Kirshenbaum with the ideal framework I need to begin the next stage of the company: growth.
Steve asked me to talk about why I thought my philosophy was important. My simple response is because I am 100% confident in the watches and extremely passionate about continuing this journey and growing Testing Timers. It’s an incredible feeling to not necessarily have to go “cold-call” new customers, but rather share my creation and let the product speak and sell itself. The reason why I can do that is because I listened to my grandfather and took the long, slow, conscious, detail-oriented route. Had I not, I would bet everything I have that I would not be where I am today.
When Steve asked me to talk about my advice, I questioned my advice to who? In the end my interpretation of that was simply anyone. You don’t have to be a young, aspiring entrepreneur like myself; you honestly don’t have to have anything in common with me. Besides for doing everything the “right” way with an ethical manner, I have five pieces of advice:
We are happy to have Jordan Liss as a Guest Blogger here at www.SATPrepGroup.com. Jordan Liss is the Founder of TestingTimers.com. Additional information regarding Testing Timers can be found on their website.
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