Kids savor the joy of seeing snow fall and completely cover their driveway and the roads, effectively canceling school for the day, while parents groan at the fact that they are the ones that will be doing the shoveling. However, parents can lay back, relax and experience the same feeling of joy that their kids have.
In the new business class this year, seniors Zach Genn, Chris Cresswell along with juniors Dhilan Shah, Lena Mojsiak and Brittany Weaver created their own business: Shovel Buddy, a shoveling service that partners homeowners who want their driveway shoveled, with students who want to earn some money. Shovel Buddy has officially been registered as a LLC, or limited liability corporation, which means that they are now officially open for business.
“This summer, I was thinking about the most basic, rudimentary ways to make money and one of the things I came up with was snow shoveling,” senior Zach Genn, founder and CEO of Shovel Buddy, said. “I was thinking to myself how people have their subscriptions for landscaping through homeowners associations so what do people do for snow shoveling? I started researching and brought it to class where [my team] helped me out.”
The main concept of Shovel Buddy is quite simple.
“We connect students who want to shovel driveways and make extra cash during the winter with homeowners who want an easy way to get their driveway shoveled or salted,” junior Chief Technology Officer said. “The homeowners contact us and the students sign up. We just put the two together.”
The business class has helped Shovel Buddy amend ideas they’ve had for the company and also brings in speakers that help to perfect their business plan.
“We’ve had a few guest speakers come in who have helped us out with our ideas,” senior Chris Cresswell, Shovel Buddy Chief of Marketing, said. “We got to spend a whole period talking to Jake Sylvester [CEO of FISH cybersecurity company] who’s super successful and started his own company. He gave us some tips on how to make our business better.”
According to Genn, their original idea was to have an app but Sylvester changed their direction to a website, which was easier to assemble.
Additionally, the group works well together and bounces ideas off of one another in order to further their business and make everything work.
“There are a lot of barriers that have come up and it’s a lot of problem solving that we’ve had to deal with,” Genn said. “I don’t think anyone really gets into arguments; everything’s really constructive.”
Doing something new can always be scary and making a business is no different, though it helps to have a team and a whole class alongside.
According to Shah, creating Shovel Buddy from nothing is nerve-wracking because running the business is a completely new experience for the group as a whole and they don’t know what the future holds.
The development of Shovel Buddy wasn’t just an exciting venture for the creators and business owners, but also for the leaders of the Entrepreneurship and Business Management class, which was designed by seniors Beth Wright and Emily Stein.
“It was really exciting to see what we created work out, what the class was meant to do actually happen and see how excited the group was to start their business,” Wright said.
The success of Shovel Buddy so far has been seen by members of the business class and has affected the mindsets of fellow students, even if it’s been a bit intimidating venture for the team.
“We had Shovel Buddy talking about how they’ve been adjusting and how they’ve been doing and actually been getting it out there,” Wright said. “Talking about it with the class has brought motivation because people are like ‘Wow, they’re actually creating this business and I could do that, too.”
Sometimes, the best things aren’t planned and just happen to work out. Shovel Buddy was a group thrown together because of their similar interests and they created their business because of that.
“Our original plan was to have them choose groups, but I made this group,’’ Wright said. “For one of the projects, I put together groups based on the similar interests that they had given to us at the beginning of the year. I put Shovel Buddy together and they worked really well together and they have a really good dynamic. They all work really hard, they all count on each other and they’re all really responsible people, who just happen to click.”
Shovel Buddy isn’t the first group that’s made some noise from the business class, but in the case of Sko Dawgs, the bracelets that championed the wrists of CHS students for weeks, their business venture was not created for the same large purpose as Shovel Buddy.
“Sko Dawgs picked their group and that was the first project we did which was an experimental venture,” Wright said. “We gave them two weeks to come up with an idea, make it and run it. For this project, students are actually taking their time and registering. Shovel Buddy is an actual business, with operating agreements and a bigger audience.”
The class itself was designed not with a rigid plan and schedule but rather with the understanding in mind that certain groups and businesses, like Shovel Buddy, will be ahead of others in the class.
“They’re on a different page than everyone else,” Wright said. “A big thing about the class was being flexible and changing our plans to groups that are fast-tracking.”
Besides deciding what platform to advertise on and how to bring in consumers, Shovel Buddy, like any true business, has to deal with competitors and other problems that arise when running a business.
“In the beginning of the year, they found a competitor and came up to us, unsure if they should continue with their venture,” Wright said. “Emily and I gave them our advice and let them decide what to do. At the end of the day, it’s going to be up to them to decide as a group if it’s going to be good for them.”
The main goal for the business class is to make a business and have it be operational by the end of the year, whether it be a service or a good. Even though Shovel Buddy has already created their business, the goal still withstands for the rest of the class.
“By the end of the year, every group should be a business and should be up and running,” Wright said. “We are giving them the foundation to create a business plan and business model so at the end of school they can pitch their idea to investors.”
For anyone who wants to start a business but has no idea where to begin, and can’t seem to cram the business class into their schedule, both Wright and Stein are the people to go to for help.
“Come talk to Emily and I if you’re really interested in starting a business,” Wright said. “We’d be happy to help you and to help figure it out.”
The entrepreneurship class has been both successful for Wright and Stein as it has in showing students all that they’re capable of accomplishing.
“It’s awesome that we can actually do something with it and that we’ve made something out of the class,” Cresswell said.
Shovel Buddy is ready for the snow to fall and for students to sign up to be shovelers, so go to your computer, go onto yourshovelbuddy.com, click on the sign up link and sign up from there.