We get asked all of the time, “How did you start your company?”, or “What led you guys to start this company?”. And I guess this is a fairly typical question to be asked of a business owner. Our story is as unique as it is common. Some of the same story traits that you would find with any business start-ups, but with a few twists and turns along the way.
The story begins at a low key bachelor party in southern Oklahoma. A mutual friend of Mike McMahon & Ryan Phillips, Jason Porter, was going to get married soon, so we had to head south and celebrate the occasion with a bunch of old friends, acquaintances, and some unknowns. There was a large log cabin that was rented and plenty of booze and entertainment at all times. There was golf, fishing, corn-hole(bean bag game), drinking, laughing and good times had by all. Throughout the entire weekend, Mike and Ryan hung out and traded ideas etc. One night, after quite a few drinks, Mike and Ryan overheard a conversation about starting a business, and began somewhat serious talks about some of the ideas that were thrown around previously. They decided that the upcoming Monday was time to really get serious about pursuing one of the ideas.
With Ryan’s experience from utilizing 360° virtual tours for the sales of cars online and Mike’s background in film, digital media, and technology, it seemed like a natural fit to start a virtual tour business. As with any start-up, we went through the gauntlet of getting all of our ducks in a row. First it was logo design (the first was a terrible logo, I’ll admit), then the website (not too bad), then the invoice designs, letterheads, etc. After finally getting situated with the necessary due diligence of getting a business started, Mike and Ryan were ready to go. Although it was a sole proprietorship under Phillips360 at the time, Mike was technically a sub-contractor. (We didn’t know what the hell we were doing.)
Obviously clients don’t just come flocking to a new business when it opens. It was going to require networking, getting jobs, building a reputation, building a portfolio and earning peoples’ trust. Luckily going in, Mike and Ryan understood that there is a negative stigma, and we knew we were going to have to develop a trusted reputation and have competitive prices to make a dent in the market. Phillips360 was literally giving away jobs just to build some kind of portfolio and reputation. Jobs that we would charge $1000+ for now, we were doing for $250 and sometimes less.
Mike and Ryan were particularly interested in going after the golf course 360° virtual tour niche since they both love golf and were hoping they could travel around taking virtual tours of golf courses and hoping to get to play for free. This obviously didn’t work out. But one day we got a call from Dr. Bradley Garber, an experienced plastic surgeon in Tulsa. Dr. Garber wanted us to build a website for him. Since this wasn’t necessarily what the business focused on, Mike and Ryan were a bit apprehensive of taking on the job. After a few discussions we agreed to build Dr. Garber’s website and produce 360° virtual tours of his office. The site ended up turning out great and Dr. Garber was very happy with it, and he still gets compliments on it to this day. At this point Mike and Ryan decided there was a much larger market for doing websites than there is for doing strictly 360° virtual tours. This is the first real turning point in the business and Mike and Ryan have not looked back since.
Since then, Phillips360 has incorporated and Mike and Ryan are both shareholders as well as executives. Phillips360 now focuses mainly on web design, web development, 360° virtual tours, graphic design, and multimedia. Phillips360 has become one of Tulsa’s leading web design companies and has even won a few awards in that industry. Phillips360 continues to produce high quality, professional web solutions at very competitive and affordable prices.
The true testament to Phillips360′s success was their ability to adapt into a market, and sustain itself even through much adversity. Phillips360 continues to provide Tulsa, Oklahoma and many other cities professional web design, web development, and 360° virtual tours.
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