When 22-year-old Neal Cook started his summer internship with Lambertville, New Jersey software developer Front Rush LLC this past May, he thought he’d be making coffee and emptying trash . And he did, just like many other college interns in similar positions. But that was the first week on the job. By the second week, the Temple University sports management major was asked to develop - and run - his own technology business.
Running Front Rush, known for its software program that eases the recruiting process for college athletic coaches, is a full-time job for the firm’s co-founders Brad Downs and Sean Devlin. Recently, the pair developed a cloud-based tool that tracks sales online and creates friendly competition in the office, leading to increased productivity. Realizing this could be its own full-fledged business, Downs and Devlin entrusted Cook, the firm’s first college intern, with the full-scale start-up, launch and management of the business.
“Front Rush is not like most companies. Brad and Sean called me into the office to say, ‘We have a product that we developed here, you’re going to make this into a business, and you’re going to be the CEO. We’re here advising in the background, but you need to do this on your own.’ Talk about having weight on your shoulders!” exclaims Cook.
Cook’s first task was to develop the business name, Online Sales Board, and domain name, OnlineSalesBoard.com. Next he researched niche markets, devised a pricing structure, sales projections, logo, marketing plans, Web content, press releases, and SEO, to name but a few tasks. Cook even learned how to pitch to investor companies.
The fruit of Cook’s labor is now available: Online Sales Board is now for sale through its Web site. Geared toward small- to mid-sized sales-driven firms, Online Sale Board technology helps businesses motivate employees and increase sales for a modest $10-20 per month.
“If sales go as Cook has projected, I will have no hesitation converting our ‘Summer Intern CEO’ into a ‘Year-round CEO,’” says Devlin.