The Thompson Conference Center at State Fair Community College was full Wednesday morning for the second meeting of 1 Million Cups, which featured SpotterCone and Callis Integrated Marketing.
Sedalia is one of 88 communities across the country to launch 1 Million Cups, which is designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs.
George Owens, of Knob Noster, created the SpotterCone, a vehicle backup assistance system.
“One way to improve something is to go somewhere and find the biggest problem an organization has or a community, and solve that problem,” Owens told the crowd. “I have invented something because I was just trying to fix a problem I was having. … There’s four things that are really nice if you can do with your product or service: increase revenue, decrease cost, enhance efficiency and provide risk mitigation or compliance. What’s crazy is, my idea that I accidentally invented provides all four of those.”
Owens said he was having trouble getting trucks into the right spot at a previous job, and he knows families have problems backing up their RVs.
The system features two cones, each brightly colored and marked with an “L” and “R,” that light up from the inside and have a laser on top to provide a guide for the driver. The cones are placed to mark the edges of the spot for the vehicle and the laser turns red when it senses the vehicle is in the right spot.
Owens said he has talked with new and veteran drivers who are interested in the product, even talking with a driver who has been driving for 25 years who said the SpotterCone makes backing up with a large truck much easier.
Owens received the patent for SpotterCone just four weeks ago after starting the patent process in November 2012 and will get his first shipment June 17. There will be two versions, industrial and recreational. He said he has gone all over the country networking at trade shows and conventions, talking with people in various industries that could benefit from SpotterCone.
Callis founded Callis Integrated Marketing in Sedalia about 30 years ago. He spoke about online presence, including a business’ blog, website and social media websites, which he said needs to be consistent, dynamic and part of marketing efforts on an ongoing basis, and the importance of branding.
“Branding is still the foundation for everything you do,” he said. “The challenge is there are so many ways to impact your brand positively and negatively. Social media is probably the one that has the fastest and most dangerous implication for your business, but you can create solid branding and you should create branding and it becomes the foundation for everything you do. Who you think you are may not be who your customer thinks you are, but over time you can influence what your customer thinks through branding.”
1 Million Cups meetings are free and open to the public. They are hosted at 9 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month. For more information about 1 Million Cups, visit www.1millioncups.com/sedalia.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.