If you need a little incentive to hit the trails or bypass the elevator for the stairs, Walker Tracker is just what the doctor ordered. The company works with cities, schools, and companies across the country to design customized programs that increase wellness by collectively tracking a group’s physical activity.
Here’s more from President & CEO Taylor Welsh:
The spark that inspired the birth of your concept: Walker Tracker began 10 years ago when founder Ben Parzybok purchased pedometers for all his family members for Christmas to start tracking their steps. He built an online platform to record and track progress. From there, the community picked up a following and soon after the business was born.
The problem it solves: We see sedentary lifestyles as a huge (and growing) issue, especially in the United States. We’re hoping to provide a safe and inspiring social wellness space that changes this. Humans tend to repeat the habits that are rewarding so we aim to make the interaction with our platform easy and fun. What we’ve found as the key to long-term engagement is community. Though people initially come to the site for a challenge, device, or incentive, they ultimately stay because they find a support system, friends, mentors, and community.
How you differentiate from your competition: Some competitors have focused on building a broad wellness suite of offerings. We’ve found this approach to be less than ideal, as it tries to solve too many problems at once and unfortunately loses the attention of the user. We focus on what we do exceptionally well—social and activity challenges and initiatives. We value inclusivity, and we partner with our customers for the journey, not just an event. We’ve made it our business that customers have a fantastic experience and focus on empowering the ‘admin’ leading this initiative in their company.
How you make money: Our customers hire us to provide both software and service. Walker Tracker offers both short-term and annual engagement options. Our customers are companies, cities, and schools—really any organization that is looking for an experience unique to their group. We support the leaders in the organization by providing tools, training, and collateral to promote their initiative and make it a success.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur: Creativity and freedom. I love strategizing and thinking big picture, then taking those dreams and making them a reality on our roadmap.
The biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date: My gut knows way more than I do. I’ve learned to follow my instincts; being over-analytical stalls decision-making and growth. Seek help when you need it, and ask advice from people who have been in your shoes, but ultimately, it’s your journey/business and you own the decisions. My path may not be typical by traditional standards, but it’s my path and I choose it every step of the way.
Your biggest success: The Walker Tracker team – they lift me up every day. It feels like a huge success that we’ve created a culture of wellness from the inside out, focusing on trust and empowerment of our teammates. I deeply value every employee we have and know that they have been essential in the success of the company.
What keeps you up at night: When the day is over and all the noise subsides, I start reviewing the to-do list, which can certainly keep me up. I also tend to get my best ideas at night, and it’s those ideas that energize me.
The best entrepreneurial advice you have received: Ask yourself, “What am I not going to do today?” When your to-do list is a million miles long and growing, sometimes it’s hard to decide what to focus on, and easy to get lost in the details. Ben Kaufman gave me the advice to shift my focus and allow a little space. Figure out which issues are not the most important and let those go. Relate back to your mission and core values often to decide what are the most important and focus your energy there.
Your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur: Don’t be afraid to look silly or stupid. Ask questions! Fall down, get up and learn from your mistakes.
The #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur: Good to Great by James C. Collins. My father gave this to me and I go back to it often.
What wild success looks like: Success can be defined in so many ways. If I define it based on the positive energy of my team and the happy customers that continue to use the platform and send us great feedback, I feel we already are wildly successful. So, when Walker Tracker becomes wildly successful by industry standards, we can provide programs for thousands more clients worldwide. Success means that we inspire change on a mass scale; touch the lives of many individuals and groups; create a culture of wellness and happiness at work; and foster a supportive, accessible community.