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Q&A: From Young Entrepreneur to International Business Owner

Sometimes great ideas appear out of nowhere. That's what happened to Greg Rudolph when he was walking across the Arizona State University campus. It was December 2011, when the marketing and supply chain management major saw another student riding a skateboard that had Christmas lights taped to the bottom.

Inspired by what he saw, Rudolph moved home for the summer, and like both his parents who are also small business owners, started a business, Grenada Innovations, using a few thousand dollars in savings. The result of Rudolph's efforts was Board Blazers LED Underglow Skateboard & Scooter Lighting, which are tiny, self-adhesive LED underglow lights designed to be used on skateboards and scooters.

Today, Rudolph has "more than made back my initial investment" since he began selling online in July 2012. Grenada Innovations sells Board Blazers internationally to countries like Brazil, Portugal and Singapore, as well as the U.S., via its website BoardBlazers.com and on Amazon.com. The lights are manufactured in China and sold in sets of four that can be purchased in eight different colors. "Since this is a completely new category of product, there wasn't a road map for what I was doing," Rudolph says.

Even if you don’t know all of the steps to starting a business, you just have to take the first one.

Learn More About Using Online FX

For other young entrepreneurs starting a business on an international scale, it's important to consider the impact of exchange rates on foreign currency transactions. Whether doing business in China or other parts of the world, importers and exporters can rely on the services of a trusted online foreign exchange provider for their currency exchange needs.

Here, Rudolph describes his journey from college coed to international business owner.

How did you start the process of creating a product?

Rudolph: I found some other types of LED lights in the United States, but I couldn't get exactly what I needed specially manufactured in the U.S. I took those products and showed them to a supplier in China, and said, "These are the changes I need to make." I needed to get the lights waterproofed. I also needed the lights to be in different colors and as small as possible to fit under the board. I also needed a way to make the lights self-adhesive. I used a lot of phone calls and emails instead of going to China. I found several suppliers online and contacted them. Some were able to make the changes I needed, and I got several different bids on the product until I found the right one.

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What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs who want to start a business?

Rudolph: It's not as scary as it sounds. Once you've figured it out the first time, you just repeat the process. You can find anything with lots of Google searches and several phone calls. I didn't travel anywhere. I didn't go to China. All the information is out there and easily accessible. Even if you don't know all of the steps to starting a business, you just have to take the first one. I didn't know how to get lights made in China. On day one, I just asked myself, "What is the first step that I need to take?"



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