This 31-year-old CEO knows the ups and downs of business and has some important startup tips to share from his experience. Jeff Platt, BSBA’06, helped his family business, Sky Zone, pivot and succeed as a chain of indoor trampoline parks. Jeff told Olin Business Magazine in 2012 that one of the important lessons he learned from Olin’s Intro to Entrepreneurship course is it’s important to keep bouncing ideas off your mentors. Here are some startup tips Jeff has learned from running Sky Zone from a recent interview on CNBC.
Trust your team
“I learned over time that if you’re ever really going to truly scale or grow a business, you must delegate to your team, you must empower your team, you must let them make decisions,” Platt said.
Pay now or pay later
“Who you need for the next six months is very different from who you need in two years.” Platt suggests start-ups pay more for talent in the beginning, even though that’s expensive. “The cost of hiring someone right now, training them, and then in six or 12 months later having to get rid of them because they can’t scale, that’s way more costly.”
Know your customer
As Sky Zone has expanded outside the United States, it’s learned to tailor parks to meet cultural norms. In Saudi Arabia, for example, some Sky Zones segregate jumping areas between “men” and “families.” In Australia, they’ve created performance trampolines where customers can run up a wall. “They’re an ‘extreme’ culture,” said Platt of the Aussies. “They’re extremely athletic.” Up next? “We’re actually under construction now in India.”