We don’t build something to sell them, we listen to what they would buy, then build it.
Eben Dobson is the Inventor and CEO of WISP Industries. When he designed a device to clear debris from the golf green, he had no idea it would also end up in homes. Friends kept “borrowing” his invention and shortly thereafter, Dobson founded WISP Industries. WISP Industries’ flagship product is The WISP system®, a revolutionary new cleaning device that eliminates back and knee pain by changing the way people clean.
Where did the idea for the WISP® come from?
I had a vision to solve a problem for golf: to have a tool with a specific bristle that could gently remove sand off of putting greens. These bristles are the core of all WISP® products. They are great for the delicate grasses on putting greens and clearly great for all surfaces in or outside your home or place of business.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start each and every day communicating with every member of our great team. I have surrounded myself with phenomenal passionate people. Our team is continually finding ways to listen to our customer and learning from our customers. We are striving to provide every form of education to our customer so they can quickly adapt to the WISP® way.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas are always flowing but before they come to life I always seek advice from potential customers. We don’t use focus groups, rather, I listen to the everyday people, people who may even make the idea better and almost always they are right. We want our current and future customers to help!! We don’t build something to sell them, we listen to what they would buy, then build it. The customer is the backbone of the WISP® brand.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The trend that excites me the most is how consumers are getting smarter. They are looking to find quality in a product or brand rather than just parting with a $20 bill. They are tired of being sold something that when it arrives– is not nearly what it seemed. We strive to provide a great experience when your WISPsystem® arrives.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have several habits to keep me productive but the one I find most critical is, setting goals and not letting a day go by where that goal wasn’t closer to being achieved.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve never really had a bad job, they have all supplied me with experiences that I can apply in different situations of life and business. I can say that what I am doing every day with WISP® isn’t a job, it’s a passion.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure I would do anything differently, clearly in hindsight I have made many mistakes but they all have been tremendous learning experiences.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The number one thing I do over and over is to seek out great people to surround myself with. No entrepreneur can come close to achieving their goals without having a great team around them.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
One strategy that has helped grow our business is clearly seeking all demonstration venues. The WISPsystem® is our hero and seeing it in action is believing. We have completely changed everything about the broom and dustpan and once a demonstration is viewed adoption is eminent. It’s a better way of cleaning.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I suppose you can call our attempt to drive a profitable DRTV campaign as a failure, even though I wasn’t ever convinced that I wanted our brand to be labeled as an As Seen on TV brand. We actually learned a lot from this attempt and from that day forward we knew who we wanted to be, a brand that represents quality and customer service that will be around for generations.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
This is tough question as I believe a business should be inspired by the passion an individual has towards their own ideas.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I’m not sure it cost $100 but recently we had an angry customer who simply got a WISPsystem® that may have been defective (it happens). WISP® was able to replace it for her immediately, as a means of quality customer service, and now she is a very happy WISPer. That was rewarding!!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
When we began selling our products on Amazon we also integrated a software program called Feedback Genius which prods customers into giving us real time feedback on our product. This allows me to hear what WISP® Users like about our product and also suggestions on ways to improve it. We want to continue to improve and make the customers experience the best in the industry!
We also love to utilize our YouTube Channel in creating our Brand. It allows us to show practical uses of the WISP® and have fun with it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There are many great books to help in the early stages of starting a company, but there is one in particular that I would recommend to all entrepreneurs, “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. It’s a fantastic blue print to learn about how to approach your market fiscally smart and with the appropriate scale. Sometimes it’s better to crawl to success rather than run to failure.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
So many people have influenced my thinking along the way. I have made it a point to sit down with as many successful people as I can and listen to their experiences. There is always a common theme, have a belief in your vision and don’t stop because you hit roadblocks, remember, if it were easy everyone would do it. Perseverance is key.
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