Ryan Schortmann


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Ryan Schortmann is an American entrepreneur. Ryan started Display Pros in 2018 and is based in Plymouth.[1]

Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display ProsRyan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros

Company

Display Pros

Twitter

@getdisplaypros (2.51K followers)

Career

Early Career

No early career info added yet...

Display Pros

Ryan started Display Pros in 2018. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: [1]

Q: How did you get started on Display Pros?

Ever since I can remember, I have tended to geek out on anything that I’m remotely passionate about – computer building, web design and development, business automation, inbound marketing, and the list goes on for personal pursuits. I love to dig into the esoteric and learn what really makes things tick. I have always been obsessed with entrepreneurship from a young age so that led me to read and study the subject voraciously.

It has been a bit of a roundabout journey to get to this point. I initially started in film school and eventually earned my degree in Business Administration and Computer Science. I’ve held some random jobs over the years working as a PC tech, technical intern for a video editing hardware company, camp counselor, photography teacher, guitar teacher, documentary filmmaker, and retail clerk. That list kind of sounds like Homer listing off his occupations in the Simpsons, but eventually I landed on something more aligned with my skill set.

In 2009, my dad founded The Griffin Groupe offering recruitment and staffing services. Around the same time, I recognized that he could use some help with the marketing side of things. It started slowly at first, with me offering help on the side, but as family businesses go, the gravity there is strong. By 2011 or so I was working full time there and that has been a huge learning experience. I quickly learned how important it is to add value when you are selling commoditized services or products. It doesn’t matter how great your product is unless you also have a laser focus on customer service, delivery, and quality. It is really critical to separate your brand from the competition. For example, we went from offering standard recruitment services to offering additional value-added services like payrolling and Talentbox.io which is a completely managed staffing service for funded startups.

Using what I had learned about inbound marketing and PPC I built out a large recruiting network and have been able to attract business from some of the largest companies in the country as well as internationally. The Griffin Groupe is now a national firm serving some of the most respected Fortune 500 companies. Now fast forward to Display Pros. I’m still the Director of Marketing and Technology at The Griffin Groupe, but early 2018 a seed was planted.

> You can’t test and verify new ideas unless you get them out there. Just launch it and refine it, but don’t be embarrassed to put your ideas out there at a breakneck speed.

One of my best friends, Neil Scordato works with an industrial distributing and manufacturing company (Charter Industrial). He was launching a new product line for the petroleum industry and they needed trade show collateral and a booth display for some upcoming shows. He had checked online for options and was frustrated at the expense and complexity of most of the offerings that were out there. He’s an expert buyer and has experience searching out and evaluating wholesale suppliers for just about anything you can think of. Naturally, he decided to go to the source and called me up to see if I could help out with the design side of things.

We put our heads together on the design including different individual display components and the graphics, I produced it and we ordered the display. When it arrived, we were impressed with the quality and he was excited to take it out to his first trade show. When it came to that first show it was extremely validating because his kit was heads and shoulders above his exhibit neighbors when it comes to quality and professional appearance. If you are not familiar with exhibiting at trade shows, typically newcomers are relegated to their own corner because exhibit companies want to make sure they reserve the prime space for large companies and repeat customers. Once Neil set up his booth, he had competitors coming over asking where he had procured his display. Many of these companies were first-timers that were renting their displays and using wrinkled banners hung with Velcro, etc. Even with these less than ideal options, their costs for rental were likely higher than what you would pay Display Pros for an entry-level display kit.

When Neil shared this with me, a light went off and I knew that this idea had potential. I wanted to start a company using what I have learned so far in business – particularly using what I had learned about adding value to commodity products. I saw several areas that could be improved upon beyond the existing competitive offerings such as transparent pricing, free design service, and financing options. I wanted to create an ordering process so anyone can come to us with their design ideas and have a stress-free experience.

The plan was to take market share by differentiating the business with the following strategies:

  • Time of service
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Quality
  • Design
  • One-Stop-Shop
  • Full Tradeshow design team at your disposal. Expertise not required
  • Stress-free ordering

how-i-started-a-30k-month-business-selling-custom-trade-show-booths

Source [1]

References