[quote style=”boxed”]With HomeZada, I would have launched a blog type of website and a social strategy before the launch of our product. It would have given us a head start on SEO and community building online before the actual launch of the product.[/quote]
John Bodrozic is a co-founder of HomeZada, an online solution to manage your “Digital Home Profile” that includes your home maintenance schedule, your home remodel projects, a home inventory for insurance purposes, and all your home finances. He is responsible for product strategy, product marketing and marcom to ensure homeowners can save money, increase their home value, and be better organized in managing their largest asset.
Prior to HomeZada, John was a co-founder and President of Meridian System which became the leader in commercial construction project management software solutions for the Fortune 500, Government, and AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industries. John helped guide the company from its initial boot-strapped founding, through growth based on profitability and successfully raising $18M from outside investors. Meridian Systems was successfully sold to Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ: TRMB) in 2006, where John remained as the General Manager of the wholly owned subsidiary through 2010.
Prior to co-founding Meridian Systems, John had various project management roles with Turner Construction Company in Los Angeles and with Intelisyn. John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Where did the idea for HomeZada come from?
The idea for HomeZada came from my wife, who identified the challenge in managing important information about our home and suggested that there should be a single cloud solution to manage all the digital information about the home.
Most people lack an automated home maintenance schedule reminding them of important tasks to keep their home safe, healthy and efficient. They also lack simple planning and budgeting apps for their home improvement projects and they don’t have a home inventory for insurance purposes. HomeZada was born out of the idea that consumers need a personal finance application that is focused on what is probably their largest asset, their home.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Being in the early stages of a start-up, there are a lot of long days and weekends. Being productive comes from the passion of developing solutions that will help homeowners save money, improve the value of their home and be better organized. This relentless pursuit of building a business keeps me disciplined in making sure I am productive during any given day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Working with complimentary co-founders is the key to bringing ideas to life. HomeZada has three co-founders with skills that create synergy by bringing together the software development technical skills, with the product and business strategy skills, and the marketing, sales and business development skills. I am a firm believer that teams of smart people can do amazing things in bringing new and innovative ideas to life.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The “consumerization” of technology is very exciting for me. With the adoption of web, cloud and mobile as underlying technologies, many consumers are demanding more information and applications that are focused on their needs in managing their lives. Government and businesses were the first to start adopting technology solutions decades ago, but now, the consumerization movement means there are opportunities to put the consumer front and center with applications and information.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am an avid self-learner. I believe that life is a continuous journey to keep learning and I don’t wait for someone else to teach me. That is why when starting a business, there are many things that need to get done, and the entrepreneur may have never done any of those things before. It is important for me to jump in and learn things that an early business needs to execute on.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I don’t really think of any of my previous jobs as being the worst. Whether I was working in a movie theater, an intern at an aerospace parts supplier, to working in the construction management industry, I learned from each one. I have discovered that I have a passion for business, so trying to understand the inner workings over what makes a business successful or not is what I learned from my previous jobs.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
With HomeZada, I would have launched a blog type of website and a social strategy before the launch of our product. It would have given us a head start on SEO and community building online before the actual launch of the product.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build small experiments to measure and validate your business assumptions. This applies to building a product or a service, to determining a customer acquisition approach, to testing various monetization approaches. We have done this at HomeZada where we did multiple experiments for our product, experiments on where to market, and best of all, experimenting and proving that homeowners are willing to pay a subscription fee for a service that helps them manage their home.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Focusing on a consumer digital marketing strategy with a near frictionless process to sign-up has really helped HomeZada grow. The digital marketing strategy involves creating valuable content about the home, and providing that content to homeowners in various digital ways helps to educate what HomeZada does as well as develop trust. Then we spent time making sure the sign-up process was very easy, and that the new customer receives nearly instant value when signing up for HomeZada.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I started my first software company, and given my engineering background, I thought the product we developed would sell itself. I learned quickly through smart people around me and learning more about marketing and sales, that businesses need strong marketing and sales channels to not only reach customers, but to have a growing and sustainable business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In the area of obesity in the US and the amount of health problems it creates, having an automated way to take photos of what you eat and calculating the calories would help people capture their intake that could then be logged against your physical activity with calories burned. The ease of capturing what you bring in with what you burn can help people lead healthier lives.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I was a mechanical engineer by degree and I have never taken a business course in my life. With my first start-up being successfully sold to a public company, and now with HomeZada, all my marketing, sales, finance, accounting, legal, and HR skills have come through learning on the fly and by surrounding myself with smart people in those business disciplines.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
All of our software and services are based in the cloud, and it is fantastic. We use Amazon’s AWS for our cloud infrastructure and various business and productivity apps like Google Docs, Mailchimp, and Salesforce. Our founding team and the contractors we use are geographically dispersed so having cloud services keep us on the same page. It also lowers our cost of doing business, and it is secure and instantly scalable.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Brandscaping by Andrew M. Davis is a great book that introduces various concepts given today’s multi-channel ways to build awareness. There are so many more different channels to deliver your message today, and many are fighting for mindshare with their target markets. The book sheds light on new ways to think about branding, partnerships, and content.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I get a lot of great insights from Marc Andreessen and his venture firm Andreeseen Horowitz. Their website has a great blog about consumer and enterprise technology that you can find at http://a16z.com/