(The following was submitted by Anna Ritchie from updayton)
Starting your own business can be a terrifying thought. In 2004, Christian Prince set aside those fears and went full speed ahead with his dream. He started Acclimate Technologies, a supply chain software design company that allows data transmission between businesses with no human interaction. The software Prince has created with his colleagues enables other corporations such as Walmart and Honda to move data efficiently and cheaply, using fewer resources with the lowest number of human errors. Since starting his company, Price has proven his software data and materials can get from one place to another more efficiently without human interaction. He wants to do data the right way, the first way—coining the phrase, “The Power of Once.”
Prince has developed two pieces of software since his beginning. A devoted and loyal Ohio State football fan, his Simplic IT Software Suite, which works as a translator, is code named “Brutus” after Ohio State’s mascot. Additionally, his shipping software is code named “Tressel” after the (former) Ohio State football coach, Jim Tressel. These two software systems are vital to the existence of his company and how well it functions on a daily basis.
Although Prince can build a software application with ease, the financial aspects of starting Acclimate were challenging to understand. Prince jokingly stated, “I am a geek, not a businessman.” Unfortunately, he was rejected from The Entrepreneur Center (TEC) five times before they allowed him to set up his company within the firm, which teaches entrepreneurs the values and skills they need to succeed. With continuous hard work, he learned what he needed to begin his business and turned his technology expertise into a revolution in software data systems.
A leader at heart, Prince believes he wouldn’t do well working for other people. Fortunately, he does have a board of advisors to keep him from running into the ground. Although he enjoys running his own business, with all of the responsibility on his shoulders, he doted that he’s married to Acclimate. Prince, who calls himself a “workaholic,” begins his typical workday at 8:30 a.m. and doesn’t quit until he picks up his children at 6:00 p.m. Once he is home, he takes time to be a husband and father, cooking dinner and assisting his wife, Shannon, with putting the children to sleep. After spending time with his wife, he works from home, troubleshooting systems, answering phone calls and developing new software. Some days end as late as midnight. Although his workday can be as long as 18 hours, he has a passion for what he does and truly enjoys his job. He feels privileged to do something he loves.
Continuing to explain, Prince said 70% of becoming a young entrepreneur was passion and having his values intact. Mr. Prince believes that skills will only get you so far, bringing the entrepreneur to a brick wall. He explained that passion gets you past that brick wall. He created his value system in the form of a pyramid, putting God first with wife and family coming in second and third. With this pyramid he is able to achieve his goals without losing his morals and obligations.
Along with his devotion to his family, Prince is passionate about what he can do for future entrepreneurs in Dayton. With the rich history of entrepreneurship in Dayton, such as the Wright Brothers, Patterson, and Paul L. Dunbar, Prince feels we have an obligation to keep the reputation of intense entrepreneurs afloat. He wants to inspire young individuals to start their businesses in Dayton. For potential young entrepreneurs who are striving to start their own business, he has several tips for taking the initial leap. First, he explained, digging deep into your contacts is crucial to starting up and being successful. Prince had several contacts from working as a consultant for other data systems before he began Acclimate. These contacts became his potential customers. This taught him that reflecting upon and relying on prior experience is vital to beginning a new business venture.
After looking to the past, he emphasized the importance of identifying a target market of potential customers in order to adapt your product or service to that person’s wants and needs. Prince used this principle, basing his concept on potential customers’ user stories, developing software that suited everyone. Lastly, he said, “Do something you love for now, don’t let other side pockets get in the way where you think you can make some extra money.” Princes shares that their were several times when colleagues would seek him to start other ventures but he learned to decline to continue his primary focus on Acclimate.
In addition to personal tips, Prince thinks local leaders should focus on supporting and promoting young entrepreneurs in the Dayton region. Dayton could be a city of confidence, encouraging young entrepreneurs to chase their dream, he explained. The city of Dayton is filled with simple people with great ideas, but he thinks we fail miserably in inspiring entrepreneurs to take that next step. Prince suggested a solution could be offering young individuals a place where entrepreneurial resources can be found, instead of sending them away with false hope. To do his part, he is creating a radio spot that provides young entrepreneurs the leads and contacts needed to start their dream. With Prince’s devotion to Dayton’s young, talented citizens, the groundwork is being laid for a community of youthful, bright entrepreneurs to bring our city back to the top.