Peter Nelson is the co-founder and CEO of UnDelay.io, a landing page platform that offers design flexibility for each device type. Over the past 30 years, Peter formed high-tech companies commercializing advanced technologies in the satellite communications, internet, encryption, electronic security and telecom industries.
In this interview, Peter shares how his serial entrepreneur dad influenced him to work hard and start his own business. He also shares the reason he created UnDelay to provide a solution to every internet marketer's problem.
When you are done absorbing entrepreneurial lessons from Peter's interview, be sure to give him a shoutout on Twitter!
How did you get started as an entrepreneur? When did you first get bit by the entrepreneurial bug?
My father was a serial entrepreneur and he convinced me to drop out of school in my final year of architecture college to start my own business. He came to visit me for a week and even though we had no idea about what type of business to start, his unbridled confidence in my ability to succeed convinced me to try. He spent the week “training” me the basics of time management, budgeting, prospecting and self-education that included Zig Ziglar and Dale Carnegie books.
The final lesson that he delivered as I drove him to the airport was “you’re cut off”. Now, it may seem harsh but it was actually delivered with love and my best interests in mind. It turned out to be the single most effective event that changed my priorities and work habits that led to my early success.
What does UnDelay do that makes it better than the rest? In other words, what is your competitive advantage and how did you find it?
UnDelay is a landing page builder that solves one of the most important problem affecting online marketers today. That problem is low mobile conversion rates which have been tested to be 270% lower than desktop conversions. With the explosive growth of mobile usage, this is a huge problem that needs a solution.
Our technology is unique because our platform utilizes adaptive design which allows completely independent content and functionality for each device type from a single url.
As online marketers, we developed our technology to ‘scratch our own itch”. We experienced the pain of trying to optimize for mobile conversions first hand. We realized that an effective solution to this problem did not exist.
What does a typical day look like for you? Is there something you make a point to do each day?
As an entrepreneur, it’s common to feel overwhelmed; too many tasks, too little money, not enough time. While it’s important to plan for the future, it’s also important not to let the uncertainty of the future affect your daily productivity.
I learned from reading Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” a technique that leads to a frame of mind which enables me to maintain a positive attitude and minimizes the feelings of anxiety and apprehension.
In a nutshell, it’s about focusing on one day at a time and setting daily goals to focus my energies and expectations. This leads to regular affirmations of progress which stimulates confidence, creativity and productivity.
What is the biggest business mistake that taught you a powerful lesson? Would you mind sharing how it made you the person you are today?
My biggest mistake was to publicly launch a product before establishing “product/market fit”. Marc Andreessen coined this phrase to describe the discovery phase of validating a product concept, the market potential and the actual market acceptance of the product.
I learned that confirming that a market exists and that customers will pay for your product is an essential part of the product development phase. It’s the reason companies launch a beta version of their product. This gives the company a chance to evolve their product based on the direct input from their paying customers.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
As I mentioned earlier, an optimistic frame of mind fuels ideas and motivation. I try to avoid the paralysis of anxiety and fear which can be debilitating.
The daily goals I plan allows me to experience progress every day. I find that even small wins will improve my attitude which leads to greater confidence, productivity and success.
What trait would you consider made you the best person and professional you are today?
I’m not afraid to fail. I expect to fail often, everyone does. I view each failure as a learning lesson that will inform my future decisions. It’s essential to understand what doesn’t work in order to discover what does.
Most people are paralyzed by the fear of failure rather than expecting it to happen as a part of the normal path towards success.
What are the top 3 success tips that you would give anyone starting a business in Arizona?
It makes sense to validate any new business idea before committing your valuable resources. You can start with getting input from friends and family but it’s most important to get feedback from an unbiased audience.
Start budgeting early and develop a financial strategy that assumes setbacks will happen. As you experience success and gain support for your business idea, you can adjust your risk tolerance accordingly. If you don’t achieve enough positive results or feedback, don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on.
Take the time to develop relationships with potential mentors, advisors and team members. Learn from the experience of others. These relationships are also important to potential investors who want to see that you understand the importance of surrounding yourself with experienced individuals.
Are you using any apps that help you stay on track from day-to day?
Since I work with various teams in my company, I rely mostly on team communication tools such as Slack, Trello and Skype to organize my priorities and communications.
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
The new mobile era has uncovered many challenges and technology has only begun to scratch the surface to offer better mobile experiences. My goal is to lead my company in expanding our technology in this sector.
What advice would you give to our readers who want to start a business in Arizona today? Where should they start?
There’s no doubt that developing a business idea that offers an effective solution for a customer’s important problem will capture the attention of customers and investors. If your product can eliminate a customer’s pain, you’re on the right track.
It’s difficult to be objective with your own concept so get feedback from as many non-related people as possible that includes a realistic evaluation of your competition.
Once you define your business model and create a plan, your top priority should be to develop a strategy to attract capital to operate your business. Be realistic about the challenges involved with raising capital and the current investment climate for start-ups.
Investors will want to see a demonstration of market traction. Early on, this stage may involve testing market reaction with an online offer. These initial efforts may be enough to convince you to tap into your own savings or to seek funding from friends and family.
In order to increase your audience of potential investors, you’ll need to actually deliver your product to paying customers. Over a period of time, the numbers will tell a story; customer acquisition costs, churn, returns, profits margins, etc. These numbers will give investors confidence that your business model will predictably scale and can lead to a higher valuation for your company.
It’s a good idea to start attending meetings of investment groups to observe the presentations of other start-ups. You can learn, first hand, about presentation techniques, investor critiques and the other valuable details that relate to the fund raising process.