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Entrepreneur Profiles–Mike McGlade

What is the name of your company
Zoosa

What industry/ sector would you classify it in?
Social enterprise sector /consumer internet

How long has it been running? How many people are involved?
Zoosa was formed in June, 2008. There are currently 2 employees.

What is the business idea? How will this have an impact on the world?
Zoosa’s mission is to increase the effectiveness of social enterprises by attracting new professionals to the sector and promoting opportunities where their skills will be fully utilized. We want to create an environment where professionals can clearly see their options www.replicabestsale.co.uk, then choose one based on their desired level of commitment. For some, that’s spending a few seconds sharing an idea and for some that’s finding a new career. Our goal is help people feel personally and professional fulfilled while addressing the social issues they care about.

Our “Theory of Change” states that professionals want to get involved with certain “Issues of Social Responsibility”; however, due to a fragmented array of websites, it’s much too time consuming for these professionals to find all of the relevant opportunities which match their personal criteria. As a result, many professionals remain personally & professionally unfulfilled while many organizations miss qualified applicants.

To address this problem, Zoosa’s website integrates a broad spectrum of social enterprise information & opportunities from partner websites with content posted exclusively on Zoosa. By including all of this information in the same location and reaching scale in a rather fragmented industry, we will attract new MBA level talent to the non-profit sector while providing for-profit firms an effective forum to attract mission driven tag heuer replica for sale , top-tier talent.ÿ

At a high level, Zoosa is a:
Forum for organizations to advertise their socially responsible news & activities to customers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders
Stage for individuals to promote their social enterprise interests & activities to potential employers, volunteer organizations, and other individuals
We recently completed our beta testing and are redesigning the site for a full scale launch later this spring. Please visit our site at www.zoosa.com to create an account & to be notified of our upcoming release!

How did you arrive at this idea/ insight?
The original idea was simply to create a website which helped people find opportunities to get elected; however, we quickly realized the market size for such a website would likely be small. After a few discussions, we decided Zoosa’s primary goal should simply be to get more people involved in the social enterprise sector, particularly into positions where they can feel personally fulfilled while doing their small part to change the world. We also wanted to make sure these individuals’ professional skills were fully utilized so as to maximize positive social impact.

What challenges did you face balancing your HBS course load and starting/ running your business? How did you manage this?
It has definitely been a challenge to start and run an operational business while attending HBS. Scheduling customer meetings, responding to messages, preparing for classes, and attending social events often led to difficult choices and several early mornings. It’s not unusual for me to be at my desk responding to emails at 5:30am.

For me, the best way to balance these conflicting interests was to integrate them into each other. I took classes which were relevant to some specific aspect of my start-up (marketing, strategy, entrepreneurial finance, etc.) while adding two 1.5 credit independent studies focused on Zoosa. And, not surprisingly, my classmates have been a tremendous source of encouragement. They’ve offered their suggestions, their time, and their support throughout my 2 years at HBS.

How did you leverage the resources available to you in HBS for your business?
The Social Enterprise Initiative was a tremendous resource. The social enterprise track of the business plan competition got me started, their summer fellowship gave me the ability to work on Zoosa full time between my RC & EC year, and their on-campus events provided me with valuable contacts in the social enterprise sector breitling superocean replica. If you are working on a social enterprise business, you should absolutely leverage the Social Enterprise Initiative as a resource.

Additionally, the professors on campus have been fantastic. This includes both my EC & RC professors and those professors who simply share an interest in entrepreneurship and/or the social enterprise sector. I’ve met with many of them 1:1 to solicit their advice and they’ve always been happy to help, even when I’m sure I sounded like a na’ve, bright-eyed student entrepreneur at times. While I’m certain I’ve been way off base on many occasions, they’ve listened nonetheless. To all of the professors with whom I’ve met, thank you.

Lastly, the HBS alumni network has been an incredible resource. Every HBS entrepreneur has been extremely generous with their time. They’ve absolutely saved me countless hours and steered me away from several bad decisions. I’ve found the best way to save time and money is to ask someone who’s ahead on the journey how they got from point A to point B and then to follow their advice.

What HBS class/ case/protagonist/ professor was most helpful in starting/running your business? How?
I really don’t think there was a single class / case / protagonist / professor who/which was the most helpful in starting/running my business. I relied on the skills gained in all of my EC & RC classes and the advice given during several meetings with multiple professors. One piece of advice which was particularly helpful, though, came from a recent HBS grad. She said, “If you focus on the questions the professors ask during class, you’ll know what questions you should ask yourself as you grow your business”. I’ve definitely kept that advice in mind and recommend it wholeheartedly.

What’s the worst part of being an entrepreneur? Worst part?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is the feeling of independence associated with controlling your own destiny. While it’s true that there will be events which are outside your control, you can almost always find a way around external obstacles if you’re resilient & creative. There are few feelings which can match the satisfaction gained by helping your new business grow.

The worst part about being an entrepreneur is knowing that there will be plenty of down days before you’re successful. Being an entrepreneur is all about learning from failures and standing up again when you fall on your face. But, that said, falling on your face still hurts.

What is the most important piece of advice you’ve been given regarding starting a business?
Honestly, the best advice I was given is rather cliché. It turns out, it’s true. if you want to start a business, just start one. Begin working on an idea by testing its feasibility with domain experts and potential customers. If it turns out to be a bad idea, kill it quickly and move on to the next one. You will learn quite a bit simply by going through the process and will be able to move that much faster with your next idea. In my experience, entrepreneurship is all about the rapid iteration of bad ideas until you find a good one.

March 2, 2009
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