Technical Advisory Committee at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Karl is a Managing Partner of Material Growth Partners, LLC, a firm focused on working with both new product
developers and the investment community in commercializing new technologies.
Throughout Karl’s time at the Temple SBDC, he has advised numerous successful business start-ups and provided insightful one-on-one business consulting and advice for many entrepreneurs seeking help with their business endeavors. He has had a great deal of experience working in multiple industries such as pharmaceuticals, air pollution control, textiles, and industrial equipment.
Below, Karl discusses his experience as a consultant as well as provides meaningful advice for individuals interested in learning or expanding their skills as an entrepreneur.
What areas do you specialize in?
I specialize in business strategy, marketing strategy, technology commercialization, manufacturing, and science & technology. I work with companies specializing in areas of manufacturing technology commercialization and bringing new technologies to market.
What is your favorite aspect of working as a consultant?
My favorite aspect of working as a consultant is learning about unique business ideas and all the different markets as well as the satisfaction about helping clients and enjoying the clients’ success.
What did you study in college? Do I need a college degree to start my business?
I obtained a MBA in International Business and received a B.S. in Chemistry.
And, No – just ask Bill Gates, Rachel Ray, Russell Simmons, or Michael Dell. There are examples of successful entrepreneurs as young as 14 years old. Formal education and age have never been a barrier to starting a business.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome when you entered the consulting/entrepreneurial world?
Yes – When I started Material Growth Partners, I had to figure everything out on my own. I didn’t know that the SBDC even existed! I had to build my professional network of people in order to get the word out and establish the company in the region.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in starting a business?
Realizing how much time is required to start-up and run a business, and financial issues such as a variability in week-to-week/month-to-month income and having enough funding not only to start the business but to support the growth of the business.
What are some common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when starting a business?
Some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs making when starting their business is insufficient planning, not vetting their business concept and revenue model with an experienced entrepreneur or advisor, and not dedicating their full efforts to their business.
What was the unique business idea you have worked on?
The most unique business I have worked with created a collapsible bike helmet to encourage bicycle commuters to protect themselves: Kova Helmet Website. Not only was this entrepreneur mission-driven to promote safety, but she also had to learn how to develop and fund a new-to-the-world product and utilize her network to get the assistance she needed to make her vision a reality.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Know what you are selling
Know who you are targeting as customers
Understand why they would buy what you’re selling rather than other solutions for their problem/need
Determine how you will make money selling it
In everything, double the amount of time you think it will take
Thanks to Karl for speaking with us and offering his guidance to the businesses who come to the SBDC. If you would like to set up a (free!) appointment with Karl or one of our other business consultants, please sign up here.