“Alright, guys, on three...One...Two...Three…Help us change the world, one box at a time!”
At the start of the LaunchX Clubs program, you are supposed to build a team of 3-6 co-founders who share the same interests and drive to succeed. I can honestly say that LaunchX Clubs enabled me to join a team of my closest friends and create a real business we are all passionate about: GreenBox. As my teammates and I journeyed through the process of entrepreneurship, we unconsciously embodied the aforementioned slogan. With everything we did, we hoped to change the world. In fact, the whole premise behind GreenBox is to impact as many lives as possible by improving the environment and quality of life for everybody. Now that I am reflecting over the past school year and everything we have accomplished, I realize that, when we were finalizing business operations and logistics, our decisions were driven solely by impacting lives and broadening the human enterprise. Nevertheless, everything my team accomplished would not have been possible without the unending support from the LaunchX Clubs program. Because of LaunchX Clubs, I learned three important lessons that have changed my life forever.
Lesson #1: An idea is just an idea
After you get your team together, the next step is to determine everyone’s passions and come up with a business idea that incorporates all of them. The GreenBox team is made up of people passionate about the environment and innovation. Therefore, we knew our business had to be on the cutting edge of technology while improving the environment. The initial list we created consisted of around 20 eco-friendly business ideas, but that’s the thing; they were just ideas. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard somebody say, “I have a great idea that could make me a billionaire!” If this is you, stop talking about it, and go do something about it! Ideas do not change the world or revolutionize anything; only execution can do that. Believe in your startup and run with it. We eventually cut down our initial list of 20 business to one, but it was a challenging process. We didn’t pick GreenBox because it was the most feasible or practical; we picked GreenBox because we knew it would give us the best opportunity to turn the world into a better place. Essentially, because of LaunchX Clubs, I will never be scared to act on an idea of mine for the rest of my life. Everyone has an idea, but few put them into action.
Lesson #2: Failures lead to successes
GreenBox’s initial prototype was disastrous. In fact, everything about it—target market, revenue model, operations—was a one-way ticket to failure. We were getting nowhere with user testing, and nobody seemed to be interested in what we had to offer. In desperation, we turned to our LaunchX Clubs mentor to ask him if we should ditch this idea and come up with another startup or pivot to something similar. Thankfully, the mentors that LaunchX Clubs provide are highly qualified, so he advised us to pivot. After we got off the phone with our mentor, GreenBox had been transformed into something that could make an impact on a global scale. If we had just quit and come up with something different, we would not have become a Global Demo Day Finalist. Not only in business, but in every aspect of life, when you try something, and it does not work the first time, it provides you with answers on how to execute the next time. Every time you fail at something, you are learning what you did wrong, and you will hopefully never make that same mistake again. Also, if you have never failed at anything, it is simply because you have never stepped out of your comfort zone. GreenBox will fail again; there is no doubt about it. However, I am confident that my teammates and I will not back down in the face of failure, and we will use it to manipulate our business into something better. If you take anything away from the LaunchX Clubs experience, just remember that failure leads to success, so do not be afraid to fail.
Lesson #3: Entrepreneurship leads to opportunities
It would not be an understatement to say that LaunchX Clubs expanded the opportunities I have in high school. Part of GreenBox’s business platform is to receive wholesale permission from several companies, so we can sell their products in our box. With that, it was essential to be able to communicate effectively with business leaders around the world, so they understand what GreenBox is all about. Similarly, since I am president of LaunchX Clubs at my high school, I had to step out of my comfort zone to lead meetings and encourage students. Through these experiences, I improved my communication skills greatly, and I am a leader to many students in the club. Furthermore, this past year was the first year of my high school’s club, and we had no money to follow up on any business operations. The members of the club put on the First Annual Ledford LaunchX Clubs Cornhole Tournament, and nearly 100 people participated. This was a fantastic experience, and we will definitely do it for many more years to come. Additionally, my teammates and I were able to gain valuable technology skills by creating a website and working on an app. The culminating experience of being able to drive five hours to Atlanta to pitch GreenBox in front of like-minded peers and panelists was something I will remember for the rest of my life. In one weekend, we were winning awards, exploring Atlanta, and eating at critically-acclaimed restaurants. As you can see, the opportunities that come with entrepreneurship will broaden your horizons. Through LaunchX Clubs, you can make a huge impact on the world.