Small Business Spotlight of the Week: SpotHero

OK, I don’t know about you guys but parking in my neighborhood in Chicago is TERRIBLE. It takes me at least 20 minutes to find a spot and if we want to go out to eat around town… well, forget about it; you have to take a cab or public transit. For this reason I was drawn to a web design project I found on the site – SpotHero.

SpotHero is an online parking reservation system and they are crowdsourcing parking spots! Anyone with an extra parking spot in their garage, driveway, or street that show no risks of tickets or towing can register their parking spot and lease it out for a selected amount of time. Pure genius if you ask me!

Jeremy Smith is a 24 year old entrepreneur who lives in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2008 and after running into countless problems with parking tickets and being towed, he thought of this great service to give people and businesses a way to make a little extra money and drivers to find a sanctuary for their cars without the risks. Jeremy and his business partner, Billy Vong, are embarking on getting this idea off the ground so, to them, we say good luck!

I got a chance to talk to Jeremy, the ‘genius’ behind SpotHero, who is hosting this website design project and here is what he wants to share…

1. How did you get things designed before crowdSPRING?

This is actually my first true project.  I recently tried out 99designs for a logo design, and was pleased with my final product.  Having had a positive experience there, I wanted to try out crowdSPRING to get access to different talent pool.  My other options consisted of finding local design companies and friends, however those prices are a little bit out of my budget range.

2. Why in the world did you decide to use crowdSPRING?!

I decided to use crowdSPRING, because I wanted to get a chance to see multiple designers concepts of the site.  I knew that there was an idea of how I wanted the site to be laid out, but seeing how each designer attacks it differently has been very valuable for me.  I was initially drawn to crowdSPRING from various positive reviews I had come across online.  People seemed pleased with their product and the price, and I wanted to look deeper.  I went to the website and was really impressed when I was able to browse submissions for open contests.  The ease of use, and access to top notch designers got me excited and that’s how I ended up listing my post for a website design.

3.  What’s the single best small biz resource that you’ve found (magazine, website, blog, etc.)?

The best small biz resource has been the people in my life who have started business themselves.  There is not one single route to take in starting up a business, and they have really tried to ingrain that into me.  More important than a full game plan is getting the ball rolling and having a direction, and making tweaks along the way.  Hopefully version 1.0 will be a success with the help of crowdSPRING and the talented designers competing!

4.  If your best friend told you they were going to start a business, what’s the ONE piece of advice you’d give them?

I would tell him to take the idea and get the ball moving.  You will learn and adjust as you go, but if you never take the chance you will ultimately fail.  As the great hockey star Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take”.  I find that quote stays true for almost all situations we encounter.