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Greater Good Challenge Coach Paul Bostick, '10SPS, Construction Administration, Gives Advice to Entrepreneurs

Paul Bostick is the Managing Partner and Founder of TechBear, LLC, a media company focused on making small business websites and social media campaigns easy and inexpensive. In this role, he leads TechBear’s B2B marketing efforts, overseeing a team of marketing and sales professionals along with customer support. Paul is passionate about making it easier and less costly for cutting-edge companies to have a great WordPress presence.

Before starting TechBear, Bostick worked for two commercial real estate agencies — Savills Studley and Brentler — as well as several small business clients. Paul's favorite part of his career is helping SMBs easily navigate their web and social media needs.

Bostick is coaching teams in preparation for the Greater Good Challenge’s virtual pitch competition on Friday, 10/9

 

As a Founder, what lessons can you give from your work at TechBear to aspiring entrepreneurs? 

My time at SPS was very valuable, and it’s a real honor to be able to come back for the Greater Good Challenge. 

The most important thing to understand, and get comfortable with when starting a company is that you will make mistakes, you will fail. There will be times where you’re in front of people and you won’t know what you’re doing. That risk, that fear of embarrassing ourselves, especially intelligent people who have succeeded in the past, and the way that you have to be able to push forward with limited information, making the best decisions you can and potentially opening yourself up to ridicule, this dovetails a little bit into imposter syndrome, which is a huge problem with entrepreneurs. It is one of the reasons why some people don’t become entrepreneurs, and is the first thing you need to address and get a hold of. You will fail, you will have times where you look like you don’t know what you’re doing, and I think it’s one of the most basic feelings that we all try to avoid, and you’re not going to be able to. It’s going to happen. You’re going to be talking and realize that you have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re going to have to make decisions based on information that are guesses on top of guesses, looking into the future. You’re going to toss and turn at night. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you have to get comfortable with managing the stress associated with failure and of being seen as somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing--and moving forward through that. If you can’t get a hold of that, you’re probably not going to make it. We all try to avoid it, but you have to embrace it and deal with it head on.

 

What skills or qualities would make teams uniquely positioned for success in today's business environment?

I have an interesting idea for this. Something that’s been a little fundamentally different than in the past is thinking about your team first. Assemble the right people. Get a business plan. Execute on the business plan. Be conservative as you move forward, look to conserve your resources. This is no longer the world where you hire a thousand people and hope it works out. Focus on the team that you build rather than where you’re going. You have to be willing to try new things and follow the road as it goes, with the right people on board. There’s no way around it. Get the team ready for the fact that your business is going to change, and get everybody comfortable with that as you go forward, because you might not even be selling the same thing in one year.

 

What are you hoping to see out of the Greater Good Challenge contest submissions?

I love this question because I’m passionate about the Greater Good Challenge’s concept and Columbia SPS. SPS brings together this intoxicating blend of working professionals, the energy New York City has to offer, and Columbia all in one room. I was in the first cohort of the Construction Administration program. We had people from all over the board, and it was absolutely wonderful. We had people who worked in the public sector for over twenty years. We had people that worked in the public sector for three years. We had architects, and trades (HVAC), and all of this brought together the most interesting, dynamic people in all these different worlds would end up in class that night. I really enjoyed my time there. I’m very thankful for it, and that’s what I think we’re going to see out of this challenge. I’ve already had a sneak peek at what my team is going to do, and I would urge everybody to watch the competition. You’re going to see some people with experience, using the resources at Columbia, and the resources of New York City all together, and it’s going to be interesting. That’s exciting.

Learn more about the Greater Good Challenge.