Name: David Bond
Hometown: Springfield, MA
Business: Site Search Partners

David Bond and his brother Robert wanted to take their business idea — software that improves web searches for colleges and institutions — to the next level. So Bond decided to expand his business horizons by enrolling in a Lean LaunchPad course at Elms; he got so much out of it that he continued into our Startup Culture and HR classes.

Now the software is already in use at two area colleges, and the business is gaining ground. “We are moving along with several beta customers and polishing our software. We are formalizing our marketing plan with some outside help, and getting ready to try and move faster now that the software is ready to go,” Bond said.

He learned about the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership program at a Valley Venture Mentors event last year. “I heard that Rick Plaut was at the event and would be teaching a Lean LaunchPad course at the Elms, and I was immediately interested,” he said. Plaut is an adjunct faculty member at Elms, leading Startup Lean Weekends and eight-week certificate courses.

So Bond dove right in. “The Lean LaunchPad course I took with Rick and Jeremy was a terrific way for me to force myself to figure out whether what our team was considering could be an actual business that could make money,” he said. “For me, it was great to be held accountable every week to discuss whether my assumptions about our possible customers was correct, and how much we could learn from potential customers before even investing a lot of time and money.

“It was also terrific for simply getting just tons of practice discussing our startup in front of a large group and getting more comfortable with speaking about our business in general, and answering logical questions people have.”

The course format was a plus for Bond, who also has a full-time job outside of Site Search Partners. “The eight-week, Friday-night-classes format has worked really well for me,” he said.

“The classes afford you a lot of one-on-one attention from the professors. And the campus facilities where the classes are held are very modern and comfortable,” he added.

For anyone considering a business course in the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Elms College, Bond has this advice: “My experience at the Elms has been terrific. I’ve had four professors over three different courses, and every one of them has been excellent. I am currently in a course with Tina Stevens, and she a really experienced and knowledgeable professional and marketing instructor, and has been pushing us in all the right ways to get real marketing work done.”