Entrepreneurial Superhero: WhizKid
David Bateman is living proof that a bang-up business plan gets results.
So far, his plan has netted his fledgling company two $50,000 first-place awards, a $5,000 second-place award, promises of more angel money than the company could use, and of late, an incredible boost in business due to the flurry of publicity surrounding the prize money.
"We (he and his two partners) spent an incredible amount of time on our business plan," says Bateman, CEO of Provo-based Property Solutions International. "We did not hold back at all. Honestly. We worked and reworked our plan. We really spent the time and that came through. In the end, we felt we could not have done any more to improve it."
Clearly, judges have agreed. Thus far, the plan took first place in Brigham Young University's annual business plan competition against 97 other entrants; second place in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide competition for business plans; and most recently, garnered the grand prize in Fortune Small Business Magazine's business plan competition against schools such as Harvard, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. Bateman and partners Benjamin Zimmer and Michael Trionfo graced the cover of FSB's November 2003 issue, mailed to over a million subscribers.
If the contests weren't proof enough this business plan was exceptional, the acid test came when he and his partners presented it to the Utah Angels and were told everyone in the club wanted to invest - an unprecedented event.
A man in perpetual motion, 25-year-old Bateman has founded two other successful companies - DearElder.com and MissionMailbox.org - and generally works six 12-hour days a week.
"I cannot sit down," he confesses. "I've never been tested but I'm sure I'm ADD. Class is awful for me. I can't sit through a whole class. Three hours of church just kills me."
The idea for his present entrepreneurial venture came after listening to his wife, Amanda, complain about the computer software at the Provo apartment complex where she worked. Using $200,000 in seed money from his previous two businesses, he developed Web-based software called VantageXP for apartment complex management and launched the company. At present, more than 50 companies use VantageXP to allow renters to pay bills and request repairs online. Prospective renters can also use the software to take virtual tours of the interior and exterior of housing units.
Launched in May 2003, the company became profitable a mere seven months later, although Bateman and his two partners aren't paying themselves yet and won't for two more years. The other 27 employees are being paid.
He has his plans for the future mapped out in detail: Continue working at his present frenetic pace in order to take advantage of the lucrative opportunities of meeting the needs of the presently under-served billion dollar property management industry. By the age of 30, sell the company, stop working insane hours, get an MBA degree, and have enough in savings to support his family, continue launching new businesses, and donate to the LDS Church's Perpetual Education Fund which provides educational loans to returned missionaries in third world countries.
"I served an LDS mission in Honduras and had only native companions who at the end of their missions went back to basically nothing, and they were incredible people."
Oh yes, he still needs to finish that undergraduate degree in business of which he is 18 credits shy, even though sitting is torture. "Mom always wants you to get that degree," he says ruefully.
David Bateman's 5 Keys to Success:
- Working Hard and Smart
- Never Being Satisfied With Our Software
- Beating Customer Expectations
- Due Diligence
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