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Featured Startup: Urban Strength

November 9, 2016


Every now and then we enjoy talking to some interesting folks in the startup world, featuring their entrepreneurial adventures, and finding out what inspires them. This week we’re featuring a Q&A with Urban Strength’s Jason Debel in an effort to learn more about the story behind the company.

Tell us a bit about what you do.

We sell bodyweight training equipment. Today’s commercial gyms are built on what can sometimes look like a “globo gym” scene (see the DodgeBall movie)with generic programs, posing mirrors, and costly membership fees.

Gymnasts are the true icons of functional strength that more people need to model for healthy bodies. We provide the equipment for people to do that in their home or at the park in the glorious sunshine.

What inspired you to start your own business?

My first entrepreneurial venture was starting a cafe. Hospitality can be harsh (as I found out), but it did okay. It got me hooked on the journey of self-employment.

I was at a party when I saw another guy who I went to uni with. I hadn’t seen him in about eight years. He was one of Australia’s top Shopify marketing consultants and wanted to start venturing into his own stores. Our paths collided and we ended up starting Urban Strength together!

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur? The worst thing?

The best thing is being able to choose what to work on. The worst thing is having to choose what to work on.

What’s the most crucial business lesson you’ve learned since launching your company?

The harshest thing I’ve experienced is the time-delay in working with manufacturers to get a product in our warehouse.

My advice is to figure out your minimum viable product and get there fast. I’m not just talking about a physical product. It could be website feature, internal system, a promotion. What is the 20% that generates the 80%? What makes all else irrelevant?

How do you define success?

A person who gives 100% to what’s in front of them. When you work, you work. When you talk, you connect. When you have the opportunity to share, you share. When you see an opportunity to challenge a bias, you spot it and grow.

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself since starting a business?

I have a young family. I love them and they come first.

Starting a business has pushed me into productivity mode. I need to know which tasks have to get done at night when I have the time allotted to work on the business, otherwise it won’t get done.

But I don’t allow it to impede what I love. All the productivity tips are secondary to this principle of “why” the activity is done in the first place.

If you could give people one piece of advice about starting their own business, what would it be?

You do not need to know the perfect plan to grow.

I love the analogy of driving down a dark highway at night to get to your destination. You’ve got to know the end result otherwise every action can get you lost. And you need your lights on to see the immediate path ahead. The path will reveal itself to you as you travel along your journey.

I’ll go to the extent that you don’t even want such clarity of the whole trail ahead, because you enter into business with a closed mindset that attempts to mold factors that are time-consuming to shape.

How has Refersion helped your business?

Speed of implementation is important. You can spend so much time and money developing systems as an ecommerce company or on customizations on pre-built options to get a solution that works how you want.

I am not a programmer, but have a basic understanding of HTML/CSS. I got everything from Refersion set up within an hour.

Refersion has also helped our SEO because the partner promotions link straight to our store without redirects and other messiness that reduces backlink value, which you see in a lot of affiliate management systems.

Anything else you think is relevant to share with the startup world?

Get someone in your life who won’t tolerate your crap. You may already have such a person, but you just need to let them know you want tough love.

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Written by

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey