I started working on SLAB Outdoors in 2018 and we had organized a launch timeline for 2020. Obviously, this year has been full of curveballs and I thought sharing my experience may help others in the entrepreneurial world.

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As I was forced to stay home for a few months, I faced the following question.

“Do we delay the launch of SLAB Outdoors or push through during these times and launch as planned?”

I chewed on this question as I dug into manufacturing implications, assessed overall costs, and attempted to foreshadow the rest of 2020. After thinking it through, I realized that launching during a pandemic could be a key piece to the overall SLAB story and undoubtedly strengthen the company’s core moving forward. Our mission statement from day one has been “create durable, portable gear that enhances the outdoor experience” and I felt it would’ve been hypocritical to not battle through the current situation, especially as people spend more time outdoors. The SLAB 1.0 Cutting Board was a product that we invented and it was important to get to market. I did have reservations about selling gear as individuals battled economic hardship and that was a piece of the equation I thought about a lot. …

If you’re a college student with an idea, this article is for you.

I’ve spent the past three years immersing myself in the field of entrepreneurship and was lucky enough to be introduced to the Lean Startup Methodology in an innovation course at North Central College in 2018. Starting a business had been a goal of mine since I was a little kid and ideas had surfaced, but the thought of taking the leap was overwhelming.

Who will help when I’m completely stuck? What if nobody wants what I build? How will I fund this? …

April has been a challenging month for our world, but I’d like to take the time to review the positives I’ve observed throughout the past 30 days. After reviewing daily notes from April, I’ve decided to expand upon a few points that I firmly believe add hope to our current situation.

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Virtual Life

For most of us, life has become much more virtual. Work, school, doctor appointments, and an assortment of other activities are taking place over video chat and it all feels quite odd. …

The month of March was action-packed for humans everywhere, but April may be quite the opposite.

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Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

The Pandemic

The month of March felt like a year and the world is on pause due to COVID-19. Panic and abrupt change fill our lives as we’ve watched the virus take over the United States this past month. We can’t go enjoy a coffee at Starbucks, walk through campus with friends, or watch LeBron take over a game on Saturday night. These are just a few of the changes that may have impacted you thus far. …

First and foremost, the recent pandemic is bigger than sports and I pray our world conquers this in the near future. Health is the number one priority, but I’d like to take this time to address student-athletes.

Dear Student-Athletes:

As a student-athlete, I understand the pain and heartbreak that comes with having seasons cut short. All the hard work, early mornings, accomplishments, and relationships have been taken in a matter of days. Whatever was being “built” at your respective institution has been knocked down and it’s nothing short of heartbreaking.

I’ve spent the past few days attempting to understand this complex situation and have been encouraged to share my thoughts. Student-athletes are a special breed of individuals and I’ve witnessed the sadness that this group, including myself, has gone through. …

A mentor of mine recently sent me the Entrepreneurial Leap by Gino Wickman and its purpose is to help entrepreneurs decide if they are equipped to launch their own business. In fact, the book has probably instilled fear into prospective entrepreneurs based on the in-depth questions Wickman asks readers to answer.

Chapter 13 of the book is titled “ Take Action and Be Patient.” This title seems to be quite contradictory and I had a difficult time accepting it. Wickman explains this title by introducing “Ten-Year Thinking” and this mindset changed the course of my life.

“If you think you’ll build an empire in the next couple of years, in most cases you’re going to be sorely disappointed. If you accept that you have ten years to build something great, your mind and body can relax. You’ll think better and make better decisions.”

Six months ago, I officially filed for an LLC and had no clue the obstacles that lie ahead. As I worked tirelessly to create a line of unique outdoor products, organizing thoughts became nearly impossible. There was endless information pouring in and infinite tasks to complete. A mentor of mine suggested we meet weekly to discuss accomplishments and obstacles, which led to the topic of journaling.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

If you’re in the process of creating something, keep a journal and update it weekly!


I won’t lie, the thought of journaling didn’t exactly excite me and the activity felt very odd at first. Once I created an outline of what had happened with the startup so far, the journal took shape. A week later everything had been updated and tasks were clearly organized. The act of putting everything on paper has benefitted strategic planning and helped note what tasks need to be accomplished. …

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I’ve spent a ton of time studying numerous leadership styles this past year and the published research within this field continues to amaze me. Educational institutions have begun to develop in-depth curriculums around leadership and I’ve been fortunate enough to take a handful of these courses. After completing reflections and observing real-life leaders, I’ve become obsessed with the impact of participative leadership.

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Photo by Mathias Jensen on Unsplash

I’ve had the opportunity to spend quality time around First-Light USA, a company that creates high-performance tactical lighting systems, and the culture deserves to be discussed. First-Light USA is a small firm that is constantly innovating and each member of the team has adopted the participative leadership style. Although First-Light has an exceptional CEO, each department has a director that takes on a ton of responsibility. …

I’ve been studying various issues among high school students for over a year and am taken aback by the statistics that I’ve uncovered. The lack of purpose, low rates of engagement, and high-stress levels have driven me to search for a solution to assist students in high school institutions. There is a systematic flaw that has surfaced in studies of teenage anxiety and I believe creating awareness is the first step to assisting our students.

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Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

According to the American Psychological Association, students during the school year experience a stress score of 5.8/10. This number is clearly above healthy stress levels and is .7 more than adult stress scores. High school is often viewed as “some of the best years of a life” but that is far from true according to studies. Professionals have weighed in on this issue and explained that this stress is having quite the ripple effect. …

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I recently started a research and business development role with a startup in the midwest and quickly realized how badly we needed to set a common direction. I’ve been a part of a few new ideas this past year and have begun to understand certain activities that can drastically improve success.

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Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

Draft a Mission Statement

The company I just started working for is about to launch an innovative new product that, in my opinion, their industry desperately needs. The firm created an ownership team a few months ago and basically jumped right into planning a product launch. …


Tyler A. Jones

MBA Candidate, Founder of SLAB Outdoors, Writer. www.tyleraaronjones.com

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