Small-business tips from grand prize winner, Access Trax
Empowering people of all abilities to access the outdoors
Meet the 2020 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Grand Prize Winner, Access Trax. Access Trax empowers people with physical disabilities to safely and easily access outdoor areas and recreation through a portable pathway system. While attending the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Diego, CA, Kelly Twichel and Eric Packard were inspired
to help local adaptive surfers cross the sand to the water’s edge in their wheelchairs. Now, Access Trax is able to provide their product to families, adaptive athletes, adaptive sports organizations and government entities, such as the National Park Service and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
We chatted with Kelly for a little Q&A to get answers to some of the top questions and challenges asked by small businesses looking to grow their business.
How do you handle your distribution and shipping?
Currently, when a new order is placed, it goes to a local mom and pop shop in San Diego that we work with, who puts together the panels – they drill the holes, shape the edges, they have the hinge slits, the logo and batch number. I then pick up the order, bring the panels back and conduct quality control checks. I hand sand every panel, cut the hinges and assemble it. We had custom shipping boxes made since our product is large. I box it up and drop it off at FedEx so they can go to their new home.
Is it challenging to ship your product since it’s large?
We work closely with FedEx since many of our customers want to ship directly to their home to manage all the pieces. We also ship internationally and there were different paperwork and processes I had to go through, but we’ve managed to get that process down and we’ve been able to ship to places including Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Costa Rica and Israel. It’s incredible.
What is your biggest market?
Our largest market right now is adaptive sports nonprofits and organizations. They have immediate needs for their events and want to help their participants achieve greater independence and safety. They’re a huge sector for us. We also have families who purchase our product so they can set it up in their yard, when they go to the beach or when they go anywhere outdoors. This provides them easy access since it’s portable.
What are your top 3 tips for small-business success?
- Savings, savings, savings. The most challenging aspect of starting a business was making sure I had enough cash to cover the next big expense. I recommend keeping a close eye on your accounts, so you don’t ever have to remove your product from the market, especially when it’s a product like ours that helps people.
- Set specific goals. I learned early on as an occupational therapist to write specific, measurable goals and set time constraints to achieve them. Be realistic with the goals so you can achieve them in a specific amount of time.
- What is your why? I was inspired by Simon Sinek's speech on finding your "why." I recommend entrepreneurs use their "why" to develop their brand.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest winners like Kelly and Eric are doing creative and exciting things in their businesses. See more inspirational winner stories and get insights for business success from past grant contest winners, plus other entrepreneurs and small-business experts.