As a serial entrepreneur, Dave Kramer, founder and owner of AllProWebTools, has been involved with enough startups and small businesses to know what owners need to be successful. Growing up in California's Wine Country, Kramer took an early interest in computers, software development and entrepreneurship. Before moving to Denver in 2009, where he founded AllProWebTools, Kramer built several businesses, including a paging & cell phone company, night club, computer repair business, video production company and even dabbled in real estate investing. Despite his involvement in many different industries, Kramer identified a common pain point that plagued many small business owners.
"So many businesses were using disparate programs for essential business functions," he said. "Accounting, customer outreach, marketing, sales, etc., were all on different programs. Owners were wasting time logging in and out of these platforms. That's when I got the idea to create one comprehensive dashboard to allow access to all your programs in one location."
While building software for a client, Kramer was asked to add some additional functionality. Other clients saw the results and asked for even more functionality and features. Over time, the many suggested additions to the software were incorporated into one complete package. The platform allows team members in different states to log into the same dashboard. Everyone is aware of what's going on without the need for micro-managing. Kramer's solution is all about organizing your business and your data.
Like most entrepreneurs, Kramer experienced his fair share of challenges along the way. He made many changes, including a move to Florida, and worked hard to really understand his target market.
"The biggest challenge initially was figuring out how to best market in the digital age," he said. "My solution was to shake hands and be face-to-face with as many people as possible. I joined networking groups and events and became very active in the community. Another challenge was identifying our ideal client. Once we honed in on that, it made the sales process much easier."
Kramer continued, "A major pivot was the addition of the CRM module. That module has since become our focal point. Again, that addition was a direct response to a customer request. As our software became more well-known and the business more established, I started to think about ways to expand. Denver was pretty saturated and I had no desire to go north or west. I decided to take a big plunge to the east coast."
Kramer ended up in Polk County, a location perfectly situated between Tampa and Orlando. Since relocating the business, Kramer's had success recruiting new talent from nearby Florida Polytechnic University. He's excited to provide opportunities for interns and to share with them his love and passion for software and helping small business owners accomplish their objectives. He also loves to teach the next generation of programmers who are eager to learn and gain valuable experience. Kramer's happy to be part of that process and, with the help of his new team, will look to expand his business up the eastern seaboard.
What advice does Kramer have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "There's nothing quite like being an entrepreneur," he said. "I love it. I can't imagine ever working for someone else. It has its ups and downs but that's all part of the challenge. When it comes to advice, I've seen a lot of small businesses fail for the following reasons. First of all, most are under-capitalized. Second, they didn't do enough market research. After they spent a ton of money building their business, they find out someone else is doing it better and/or cheaper. Make sure you find out ahead of time if people are even willing to pay for your service or product. Once you determine that they are, pick a price that's in the zone of competition. Lastly, don't take advice from friends and family. They'll just tell you what you want to hear. Instead, go to a place like Starbucks and get stranger's opinions. Talk about your business and ask if they'd be willing to pay for it."