Real Experiences Inspire Future Entrepreneurs

Chris Ma, Founder and CEO of Vantage LED, is dedicated to helping existing and future entrepreneurs.
To help them prepare for the path ahead, he finds it best to lean on real experiences. Recently, Chris, joined by Ivan Perez, Resource Director for Vantage LED, were guest speakers at California State University in San Bernardino for a class of upcoming entrepreneurs learning about ‘Managing a Growing Enterprise’. At the time, Chris and Ivan felt pretty good about the session talking about real problems and growing pains, but recently, they were given excerpts from the students’ papers that revealed how much impact they truly made:

"…communication in any sized company is very important…"

"…the first takeaway is to focus instead of panicking…and they turned issues they faced into something positive…knowing that…gives me more confidence in holding on to that optimism.”

"The growing pains they dealt with showed me how important establishing systems early can be."

"…it is important to work with what you have and cut costs by researching and networking…"

"There are always solutions, but you have to determine which one is the best fit. This really struck me because a lot of times I don’t think past the first solution, or weigh the costs and benefits before I make my decision. This is a concept that I can use throughout my life…starting now."

"…some stress during development can be a good thing, if it pushes a business to take a closer look at its product development…and refine your product to surpass the competition…”

"Their business tripled in less than a year…so Vantage LED cast a wide net to local technical schools in order to gain employees…it made me more aware of possible solutions…"

"…they see problems as an opportunity. They could have focused on how to fund traditional methods of painting. However, their unique approach yielded better results (regarding Dragon SkinTM). ...Rather than going with convention, I will always try to view problems as nothing more than an opportunity to build a competitive advantage."

"Instead of just fixing any problems, they found ways to better the solution by thinking not just “outside the box” but beyond that. To hear how successful Vantage LED has become in such a short time with so many obstacles is inspiring because there are many small businesses that fail due to lack of understanding and research."

"What stood out for me was when Chris said if every day was the same, he would bang his head against the wall…to do the same thing over again would be aggravating."

Chris Ma founded Vantage LED in 2003 because he saw the opportunity for better solutions and more innovation in the LED sign industry. In 2012, Chris was awarded two Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards: Manufacturing and Best of the Best. Since then, Chris Ma has accepted the opportunity to be in the judging process for selecting future award recipients.

Ivan Perez, Resource Director at Vantage LED, is responsible for networking and finding the talent behind Vantage. He is also the Program Director for Signs of Community. A non-profit dedicated to providing community-centric messaging and helping communities get more involved in city and school programs by raising funds to donate LED message signs.