By Ron Judd | ('85, Journalism)
Can a college student with little formal business training turn a gem of an idea into a dream company?
Andrew Cull (’01, Political Science) did.
Cull, CEO of Remote Medical International, has proven that it’s not always necessary to go the traditional route -- creating a concept, writing a formal business plan, and then taking it to a venture-capital firm.
Cull intentionally started small, launching his project as a sole proprietor to test the waters. Once it became clear clients were interested, he ramped up, getting a small loan from a relative and enlisting help from friends and mentors.
The key, however, was self-education. As a successful young CEO of one of the Puget Sound’s hottest companies, nearly everything he knows about business comes from first-hand experience or his own curiosity.
“I read a lot of books.”
Early on, Cull visited “personal MBA” sites and compiled a list of “essential reading” for a successful modern entrepreneur. That list has grown to several hundred, and Cull has devoured all of them.
“Knowing how business works is a prerequisite” for achieving that dream of a self-made career, he says. “Not knowing will prevent you from getting there.”
Cull’s other tip for success? Build your business around something for which you have passion. You’ll likely work for free for a long time to build it.
“If you’re passionate about something and can create something of value from it, focus on that,” he says. “If you focus (from the beginning) purely on profit … there’s never enough incentive to work the hours needed to develop the thing.”