I like stay organized. If someone saw how my email folders were organized they would probably be concerned.
Cody McGraw is from Portland, Oregon. Raised in a family business, he got a lot of his entrepreneur skill sets by watching his parents operate their successful catering company. He graduated college from a private university near Chicago called Olivet. He got his B.S. degree in Mass Communications and a Minor in Military Science. Cody has a passion for business and has a deep appreciation for technology. He enjoys running and traveling on his off time.
Where did the idea for SCOUT Military Discounts come from?
We’re a really small team working from a few different states in the USA. We noticed that there wasn’t a military discount app on the market that fulfilled the needs of the military community. We wanted to fill that void and create a product people can stand behind. We launched our first beta version of SCOUT at the end of July 2014.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It really varies. Managing our social media accounts, verifying military discounts that were submitted through the app by our users, working with a lot of our partners is all part of the schedule. Currently my main job is identifying companies that offer a military discounts and seeing how we can get that info to our users. We also work with companies that currently do not offer a military discount, encouraging them to offer one.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s not really me who brings them to life. I do my best, but it isn’t possible with those I work with (truly). We have a talented programmer (Harry) who goes above and beyond problem solving for us. Crowley who constantly supports SCOUT. It’s a fantastic environment.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I’m excited about wearable technology. There’s a lot of potential to make one’s technology life less complicated and maybe not so dependent on your cell phone.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I like stay organized. If someone saw how my email folders were organized they would probably be concerned. Everything’s organized.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I don’t want to say it was the “worst” job because any job is an opportunity to learn and grow. I did an event for my parent’s catering company when I was younger where I had to slice enough beef brisket to feed a few thousand people. I learned that I did not want to be in the food business. Some of the hardest work out there. My family can still outwork me any day of the week.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Great question. I would probably find a mentor earlier on who I looked up to in terms of business.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Seriously!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Probably the biggest is lining SCOUT up with companies that are more seasoned than us and have a wealth of experience. Partnering with companies like these is a huge advantage for those who are getting their start up off the ground. Again, don’t be afraid to ask or say something like “hey, I like how you do business. I believe in your product. Can we work together?”
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I launched a Kickstarter campaign for SCOUT and foolishly thought it was bullet proof. I truly believed that it would go viral on it’s own and I would have all the funding I ever wanted. Long story short, it failed. Miserably. That week, I learned how small SCOUT was in this vast tech world. No one knew who we were, and most people couldn’t even find us on the Kickstarter website. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned though. Don’t start a company asking your potential clients for something. Within the first month of launching SCOUT, we were asking everyone to back our Kickstarter. “Please back our Kickstarter, we need your help.” You don’t make customers by asking them to do things for you. You make customers (and loyal ones) if you always, always put them first. And find every way you can to offer them something that is of use to them in their lives. Luckily we were so small that no one even knew about our Kickstarter.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Wireless chargers. Like if your computer is within 40 feet of this “wireless charger” beacon, it’s charging. Including your cell phone and all other electronics. Someone please make this.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
We spent $100 on a Thunderclap campaign that we did with our partners at Sandboxx. Thunderclap causes social awareness through the collective total of social media accounts (followers, likes, etc).
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
A web service we will be implementing very soon is Kiip. The concept is simple: reward your users when they have a special “moment” on your app. Such a great tool for us, and we’re excited to take our relationship with them further. Our goal is to land some amazing rewards for the community we love serving.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. Hands down the greatest book for those who want to create a business with a purpose. Your customers will love you for reading it.
Cody McGraw on Twitter: @mcgrawcody
SCOUT Military Discounts on Twitter: @SCOUTDiscounts
SCOUT Military Discounts on Facebook:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.