This week we had the opportunity to talk to Preston Geeting who is the Co-founder and Director of the company Packform with his business partner, Philip Weinman. Packform is a company designed to help other companies deliver products to their customers quickly and efficiently.
Geeting started out as a sales representative and worked his way up to the top. In this way, he was able to learn about all of the parts of the business and the packaging industry. Geeting found that he was not content with the status quo of the industry that he was in.
“I was frustrated by the lack of technology and innovation and decided that I had to create it because was not finding it in the space that I was participating in which is packaging,” Geeting said.
Geeting then decided to partner with Weinman, who builds businesses and either sells them or takes them public. Weinman also invests in start up companies to help make them more profitable. “I saw this as a good opportunity to put my intel of the industry and his intel of how to build businesses together. In this way we were able to create something very special,” Geeting said.
Packform Co-Founders Philip Weinman, Preston Geeting and Peter Williams.
Packform is an online marketplace for buyers, sellers, and dealers. Geeting and Wienman’s marketplace approach allows manufacturers to sell their products to a large network of customers. These customers in turn, have open access to manufacturers of all types of packaging without the need for distributors that control the market.
“Now that we have created a market technology that does all of the inputs in an online space with products, buyers, and sellers, we can move it anywhere,” Geeting said.
Geeting said that his company has gone against the status quo and has improved the delivery of goods so that companies can get their products to their customers faster than before.
“The status quo is brick and mortar buildings with lots of overhead, staff, inventory, and age receivables that make it hard to make a reasonable profit using this type of business model,” Geeting said.
Geeting said that their business model does not include all of those pain points that are evident in a traditional business.
“We’re not going to hold inventory or own a lot of buildings. We’re not going to have an abundance of staff. We are going to build great technology that automates that process and allows us to deliver the exact same products and services without having all of those pain points associated with our business,” Geeting said.
Geeting said that this type of business model has a lot less overhead and allows for quicker responses and delivery at a much lower cost.
Philip Weinman, Preston Geeting
Geeting described some of the biggest challenges he faced when trying to start Packform.
“There are lots of people who wanted to see this business fail quickly because it was disruptive. Many of the existing businesses did not want to see things change because they saw how our business model could affect their financials. We had a whole different business model that had distinct advantages that traditional companies did not have,” Geeting said.
Geeting added that it was very important for him and Weinman to be cash sensitive and to manage their business carefully so that they were profitable.
“We had to make sure that we managed the business carefully. We had to make sure that we had all the right levels in place to make sure that we were profitable. Luckily for us, we were profitable from day one and we were able to continue that through some really careful financial wielding,” Geeting said.
Out of 10,000 startup companies, Geeting’s company won a Gold Stevie Award for The Tech Startup of the Year and was awarded a Silver Stevie Award for Startup of the Year.
Geeting’s advice to anyone looking to start a business is to surround themselves with people who are in the same industry as them and to ask them for advice.
“If it’s from other entrepreneurs or from other experts in the space you want to be in, just go out and ask for as much advice as possible while you are developing your business model and people can give you good indicators on what to do and evaluate your business along the way. That has proven pretty well for us,” Geeting said.
Making long lasting and meaningful connections with people is a crucial part in developing a successful business, especially in the beginning. Geeting said that the best way to make these connections is to get to know people on a personal level.
“The corporate world really isn’t personal, so if you’re able to meet people's families, and develop a real personal relationship with someone, then that relationship will be a lot stronger and carry on a lot longer,” Geeting said.