Lessons from building a brand new business in 2016

Building a new business is hard work. It requires commitment, dedication and determination. Alex Kehr, founder of FilterPop, shares what he’s learnt from launching a new start-up in 2016…

This year, I accidentally created a company. I built out a random idea that I had one Friday evening called GeofilterPlace. That originally idea has now become FilterPop, and it is the only marketplace for Snapchat geofilters. People can quickly make Snapchat filters for birthdays, weddings, baby showers, or any other kind of party, gathering or event.

The moment in business that I’m most proud of from 2016 is FilterPop becoming part of Science, Inc. This is where companies such as Dollar Shave Club (which had a $1 billion exit this year), FameBit (acquired by Google), and HelloSociety (acquired by The New York Times) came to life. Being part of Science will accelerate the growth of FilterPop, while also giving me access to guidance from proven, successful entrepreneurs.

I’ve learnt so much through this process of starting a side project, turning it into a company and now working with Science. But, the most important thing that I’ve learnt this year is how much focus matters. The company that I worked at for over two years before launching my own projects was so unfocused and I think that really hindered their success and growth. I consider myself lucky to have worked for a company that was a mess internally because it showed me that being distracted by things such as corporate politics can derail a great company. Instead, you should set yourself one goal and be laser-focused on figuring out how to accomplish it efficiently.

I have pretty ambitious (but realistic) revenue goals for FilterPop in 2017. However, the most important thing I hope to achieve in business next year is coming up with a way to do some good with this project. I want to team up with foundations where they can create filter categories on our site where 100 per cent of the proceeds from sales of their designs go to their foundations. I think that could have the potential to provide some great revenue to foundations.

I plan to build a lot of charitable aspects into the project once the FilterPop business is more stable growth-wise. The idea of giving back through business is really important to me. My entire business mentality is “do well to do good.” I don’t want to be successful to buy things; I want to be successful to give back. People like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson, are all business idols to me because they all demonstrate how to not use success for selfish reasons, but rather to benefit humanity as a whole.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail image from gettyimages.

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