Dane Christianson is the President and founder of Moving Parts LLC, a company that distributes brain games invented by Dane himself. The company's first product is the X-Cube and they're currently developing new toys and inventions with an emphasis on twisting logic puzzles.
In this interview conducted by Startup Savant, Dane shares his entrepreneurial experience when starting a brain puzzle game company. He also shares how his first invention went viral and how he hangs on to an idea that he got a good product in hand.
Dane notes that when running a business, you should be your ideal customer and that you will buy your service/product whenever presented to you.
His advice to entrepreneurs looking to start a business:
Are you your own customer? Would you buy your service? The answer should be yes, and then you have to make one for yourself.To get a glimpse on the latest inventions and developments at Moving Parts LLC, follow them on Twitter!
What ignited the spark in you to start a business? Where did the idea for Moving Parts LLC come from?Starting a business was a bit of an afterthought. I did have in mind that I wanted to start a business at some point in my life, but I didn’t know where to start. The opportunity came after I prototyped my X-Cube, which I was only building for fun at the time. When I showed a video of the prototype online, it went viral. I figured it would make for a good first venture.
Have you faced any failures with Moving Parts LLC? How did you overcome it?Yeah of course. Sometimes we got some bad product back. Sometimes there are huge delays in manufacturing. Sometimes you make mistakes selling to unreputable sellers. You take each mistake as it comes, try to make the most of it, and find ways to avoid the mistake in the future. It becomes a lesson that you pay for. Sometimes they are expensive.
What attitude/habits helped make you successful while starting your business?
- I learned that things don’t always move as fast as you hope. It’s important to keep pushing the business and not be discouraged by obstacles.
- Being organized.
- Set clear expectations of the people/manufacturers you hire, and be reliable in return.
- Ask for help.
What are your visions for Moving Parts LLC? Where do you see it in the next 5 years?I want to release some new twisting puzzles and see them distributed all over the world.
In your experience, what is the best way to find your ideal customer? Are there any mistakes that our readers can learn from?I think you should BE your ideal customer, know where they congregate and be an active member of the community. Our ideal customers are the cubers, people who are puzzle enthusiasts. Since I’m one of them, I know where the online communities are and how resources are shared. It’s important to be engaged and contribute to the community, not just try to sell them things.
What is your greatest fear and how do you keep it under control or harness it?We have a “No fear” philosophy at Moving Parts. We make sure our decisions are not based out of fear, as they will not yield the right results. Not to say, we are massive risk takers—we take controlled and calculated risks when we expand.
When starting a business, do you recommend writing a business plan? Any resources or tools that can help new entrepreneurs write one?No. But do develop a business outline, run the numbers, and understand exactly how you can make money from the start. Then modify and adapt as you go.
Who has been your greatest influencer along your entrepreneurial journey? How did they shape Moving Parts LLC?My business partner, Neil Kane. I was overworked and had no idea what I was doing until he came on to help out. I learned from his example why a product is not a business.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever gotten from another business owner or someone you admired?Ideas aren’t worth anything. It’s all execution. Be organized. A businesses organization system is critical to its success.
Cash is king in business. Watch it closely. But responding to this, I think it’s important to keep in mind that cash is only a tool to accomplish what you’re in business to do, but it does decide the scope of what you’re able to achieve.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in Illinois who have a business idea but don’t know where to get started?Are you your own customer? Would you buy your service? The answer should be yes, and then you have to make one for yourself.
Just make one of your thing, or perform your service once. Only then see if it’s worth your time and energy to do it a lot more, and only then see if you can scale up and serve others.
Don’t get hung up on an idea that doesn’t fly. Move on, and you will make room for something better.