Small Business Profile: Tempo Tickets, LLC
Business: Tempo Tickets, LLC
Owners: Nick McCulloch and Mark Sielaff
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Number of employees: Less than 5
Launched: December 1, 2009
Industry: Event ticket sales and registration
Success Story: 70-100% year-over-year growth since reaching sustainability
Nick McCulloch and Mark Sielaff launched Tempo Tickets, LLC in 2009 as a pair of twentysomethings who saw a need and created a solution with their collective skills and expertise. Three years later, the young entrepreneurs, who first met through shared interest in swimming and cycling as seventh graders in Fridley, MN, run a successful event ticketing firm and will soon be expanding into event registration as well. Nick McCulloch shared their story about launching a business and finding success as a scrappy startup.
How did you get started?
I was registering for a bike race online, and it was just a nightmare. I was talking to Mark about it and everything kind of came together. Mark was a programmer for a ticketing firm and I worked in business development and sales. I said to Mark, ‘you’ll write (the programming), and I’ll sell it.’ We bought a server that night, took a leap of faith, and started hammering away.
What were the most important lessons you learned when launching your business?
I think it’s important to be a scrappy startup. It forces you to come up with a process or an approach to spending efficiently. You become a thrifty business and you don’t spend money on things you don’t need. A lot of new businesses with big investors will try to spend to define their business. They’ll buy a building because they think that defines who they are. But a business is not defined by these things. A business is defined by its net income.
What common threads have you seen in successful small businesses?
You have to partner with the right people. People you can rely on and trust and are talented. And always partner with someone who helps make your expertise whole. Mark and I are very different, but we really complement each other.
Another thing we learned is you’re not going to be the biggest, most profitable business from the start. But you have to be professional and act the part. That doesn’t mean to be disingenuous or mislead people, but you need to show your clients you are serious and can handle their business. Dress the part and be confident in what you’re doing. Carry yourself as if you are the biggest, most profitable business in the industry.
What has been the key to your success?
Making good business decisions, creating a good product, and building good relationships.
Now it’s your turn – tell us what you think has been key to your company’s success in the discussion thread below.