ThinkLions is an app startup consulting firm and development agency that has helped dozens of entrepreneurs bring their app ideas to fruition. As a long-term app partner to our clients, we offer specialist business services to assist startups from idea to launch, to growth and beyond.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to launch your business?
Mike Sims: ThinkLions was born out of failure. My first entrepreneurial efforts were web app businesses; and as someone who had no startup or tech experience, I quickly ran through my budget and failed. However, during the process of failure, I learned how to manage development teams and how to write effective business plans. My newfound skills in business planning led me down a freelance road where I became a top business planning freelancer. Throughout the time, I worked with dozens of startups around the world, assisting them in their fundraising efforts.
The majority of clients that hired me were launching mobile app startups. I quickly realized that many of these new entrepreneurs were in the same position I was once in – they had a great idea, but really had no clue where to go from there. There was my lightbulb moment. A good friend of mine was building a web and app development company, but was having trouble landing new contracts. We combined our services and became ThinkLions – an app startup consulting and development agency that gives first time app entrepreneurs everything they need to bring their app idea to fruition. Unlike other development agencies, we don’t just focus on building apps – we focus on building sustainable app businesses and positioning them for long-term success.
BusinessInterviews.com: What issue does your core product help solve and how so?
Mike Sims: Launching an app startup is extremely difficult, especially for someone who has no business background. Many app dreams die the moment a would-be entrepreneur looks through an agency’s development proposal. Its almost impossible for the average person to put away enough money to build a full blown app, so instead, they hope to secure an investment for their app idea. This presents another problem – not only have they never built an app before, they’ve also never been through the fundraising process before.
This is where ThinkLions is most effective. We know what it takes to secure an app investment: a well-defined plan, a minimal viable product with great initial traction, and a perfect pitch. Our services revolve around helping entrepreneurs reach these requirements for maximum funding potential. With a team of startup advisors, researchers, accountants, designers, app developers and more; we fill in the gaps of startup teams to help them bring their app ideas to the next level.
BusinessInterviews.com: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?
Mike Sims: It’s almost impossible to choose a single most challenging aspect of being a business owner – every single day brings it’s own challenges. However, what has truly been challenging for me is being able to learn quickly enough to keep up with an always-morphing business. On day one, you wear every hat – you’re the marketer, the salesperson, the laborer, and the customer service rep. When you begin, you may only be good at one of these things, meaning that everyday you must learn and apply something new to continuously perfect your ability as an entrepreneur.
Personally, I met this challenge by realizing that nobody starts off knowing everything that there is to know. Instead of being frustrated, I’ve learned to use every failure as an opportunity to learn and further advance the business. I constantly read anything that I believe will improve my entrepreneurial performance. Furthermore, I constantly network with people who are experts across different fields, and whenever I have a question, I’m never afraid to reach out and discuss my challenge with someone who I believe will have the answer. An entrepreneur can only be successful with a willingness and openness to learn as much as possible!
BusinessInterviews.com: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.
Mike Sims: During my journey as an entrepreneur, I have had the opportunity to learn and be influenced by several mentors. For many years, I actively sought to work under startup owners that I believed in; those who had specialty knowledge that I knew I could learn from. Some of these mentors consulted me directly on my business ideas, advising me throughout the launch process. Others, hired me into their companies; which allowed me to watch them closely as they grew their startups. While I’ve had some failures during my journey, the experiences of my mentors have allowed me to dodge and avoid certain obstacles.
One key thing I learned from every mentor is that they are just normal people. They struggle like everyone else, and they go through the same fight to make it to the top. It’s a major confidence booster to know that you don’t really have to be “special” to build a successful business, you just need to be willing to learn and quick to adapt!
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
Mike Sims: Don’t build something that you love, build something that your customers love. It’s a lot easier to sell a product to a market of people who already demand what you are supplying than it is to convince consumers that your product is the solution to the problem they never knew they had.
Interact with your market constantly. Communicate in industry forums and in social media groups that relate to your customer. Intimately learn who your consumers are and understand the challenges they face. You don’t succeed by selling a unique product or a service, you succeed by offering an effective solution to a real consumer problem!