Mike Burkons (Charitee Hole in One Monitoring System)
Mike Burkons lives his life outside of the box. He attended Connecticut College and went on to receive a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. While at Connecticut College he discovered a business idea from two Catholic nuns who were offering a Hole-in-One contest at a local golf course. He knew their idea was repeatable, so he invented a new way to sell their product and never be at the course. After four months of development and planning, Mike’s innovative Hole-in-One technology product launches to customer’s this week.
In Mike’s Words: The lifestyle of an entrepreneur is as exciting and unpredictable as the NCAA March Madness tournament. While there are many ways to play the game, my experience has led me to discover a few principles that hold true in the world of entrepreneurship. As I launch my second start-up, I would like to share with you five maxims that have helped guide me in my entrepreneurial journey:
The Kid in Everyone-
Successful entrepreneurs dream big. Whether your dream is to create the next social networking application, write a bestselling novel, or have your face on the cover of Fast Company magazine, it’s your dreams that push you to achieve greatness. One day I dreamed of a product to allow Hole-in-One contests on every course in the world through video surveillance. I called it Charitee Golf. Give yourself time to dream of those products and businesses.
Easier said than done –
Pursuing your dream is fun when you are able to envision the positive impact that you will be making as the dream is actualized. When dreaming, I often visualize the connection between my business launch and the intended impact it will create for customers in the long-term. When I start a new venture, no one reveals to me the necessary steps that will be required along the way. Through this, I have learned that when an entrepreneur decides to pursue his/her dream, it takes creativity, flexibility, and passion. In order to achieve success, I had to determine what was necessary to advance my dreams and aggressively pursue those activities. For Charitee Golf I had to figure out a way to have a golfer purchase a ticket and have their shot captured on camera. (After reading the previous sentence please re-read the title of this section)
Everyone is a sales person. You had to “sell” your professional abilities during your job interview in order to receive the job offer. You “sell” your friends on what movie to go see this weekend. Some products are easier to sell than others. I had to sell my product to golf courses. You may need to sell your product to potential buyers, and it may not be as easy as you expected it to be. The next time you receive a phone call from a sales person, remember this: one day you might be the person on the other end of the line as you’re selling the product you dreamed about and believe in.
Business is fun if you make it fun. Set goals that you can achieve and when you reach them stop for a second to celebrate. Realize you just accomplished something great. My goal was to secure 6-8 golf course customers who would install our product, and I was blessed to reach it. When celebrating, be sure to thank others who helped contribute to your success.
The Little Guy-
If I can give you two final pieces of advice, they would be the following:
1. Give people sincere encouragement! Call your customers, brothers, parents and friends to just say, ‘thanks.’
2. Find someone to mentor with no strings attached. You will need to seek them out and pursue them. I have been lucky enough to have mentors in my own life who have given me encouragement without expecting anything in return. What a true mentor receives is the satisfaction of seeing others grow in their personal passion. Because mentoring has impacted me greatly, I also make time for mentoring young guys in business and life. Young people need someone to praise them and give them sound guidance. They need you to put an arm around them and believe in them. It is easy to find fault in someone. Everyone can criticize, but it takes a true innovator to say ‘lets find a way to figure this out together.’
Those are my five pieces of common sense to guide you on your journey. You will experience success and failure along the way, but keep moving forward with your dream.
Now for my personal plug: Play a course with the Charitee System, buy the ticket, and hit a hole in one! $9,000 for you and $1,000 for charity, everybody wins! Always shoot for the Pin!!!
Charitee Hole in One Monitoring System
President & Founder