Over the weekend, Tomorrow’s Tone, a startup founded by three Cal State Fullerton students majoring in Entrepreneurship and with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator, hosted an open house for families with special needs children. Tomorrow’s Tone was launched to help these families get their children the best education possible and Tomorrow’s Tone aims to accomplish this through a music education approach that they developed. They also recently launched a Kickstarter project to help them acquire the funds they need to teach special needs children music.
I had the opportunity to ask Michael Ruiz, one of the founders of Tomorrow’s Tone, a couple of questions.
Center for Entrepreneurship: Why is Tomorrow’s Tone an important startup that people should take notice of?
Michael Ruiz: Tomorrow’s Tone exists to give a unique opportunity to the Special Needs Community. Music education is not readily available for those with behavioral disorders, so we took it upon ourselves to make it an accessible and affordable option. Music is a universal language that does not exclude those from differing backgrounds, ethnicity, disabilities, nor spoken language. It is a globally recognized and respected voice. We are giving this voice to the Special Needs Community by given them the opportunity to become musicians.
How has your education at Cal State Fullerton and your residency at the CSUF Startup Incubator helped you launch this business?
I had CSUF on my radar 2 years prior to applying. When I decided to pursue my passion of opening a music school, I searched through multiple universities that would allow me to do so. CSUF’s entrepreneurship program is the one that interested me the most because it would teach me the vital skills of being a business owner. My education there was more than what I could have hoped for. The professors are engaged and helpful. The class sizes were great, allowing the professors to give individual attention to each student. The major courses were the most educational. Having courses that let you go into real businesses and consult was as close to the real thing as you could get. After graduation, I still have close relationships with my professors, showing that the school has something more to offer than just an education. It offers lasting friendships, mentors, and guidance long after you graduate.
The CSUF Startup Incubator is the major reason why Tomorrow’s Tone is able to begin helping the Special Needs Community faster than we hoped. We were assigned a stellar mentor, Bill Van Vleet, that kept us on a tight schedule, allowing us to accomplish some major goals in a timely manner. They were even kind enough to let us use two rooms; one as a classroom for lessons and the other to store our instruments. Support, guidance, and friendliness are only a few of the great things the CSUF Startup Incubator has to offer. The team and myself look forward to coming into the Incubator ready to work every day.
As an early stage co-founder, what advice would you give to other students who are thinking about starting up their own business?
First, do it. Being a business owner or founder is a great experience. Just know that it takes risk. There is no other way to start a business without taking some sort of risk.
Second, keep moving forward. The possibility of failure is there, but right next to it is the possibility of success. Even if you fail the first time, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. The most important aspect of failing is learning from your mistakes.
Third, find yourself a team that differs from you. Their strengths should be your weaknesses. I have no idea how to build a website or do high level accounting, but my co-founders do. You should also have team members from varying backgrounds to offer different points of view on any decisions you make for your business.
Fourth, create a business that you genuinely love. If you dislike what you’re doing, the motivation factor plummets and your business suffers. Find your passion and pursue it until the end.
Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help. Tomorrow’s Tone has the opportunity to make a difference because we ask for help from anyone and everyone. The worst thing anyone could say to you is “no.” However, they could say “yes.” They could even take your request a step further and offer you more. You’ll never know until you ask.
CSUF Startup Incubator
Entrepreneurs who are accepted into the CSUF Startup Incubator work with our entrepreneurial experts over a six month intensive launch period that includes: access to office space, quarterly investor pitches our entrepreneurs can participate in, free events, a dedicated one-on-one coaching relationship with one of our more than 700 startup experts, and so much more! If you are ready to learn the right way to go from concept to launch, please go to this page or contact a CSUF Startup Incubator representative at email@example.com.