Carlson School of Management News

Alum Uses International Support to Start E-Commerce Business

Friday, September 27, 2013

Alum Uses International Support to Start E-Commerce Business

Baogang Zheng, '12 BSB, came to the United States from a small town in China just over four years ago with limited English proficiency. He was accepted and enrolled at the Carlson School and says the experience he had here transformed his life. Using the skills, entrepreneurship insight, and confidence he built as a student, Zheng now runs Miami Muscle, an e-commerce company that provides muscle building instruction online.

Zheng and his roommate Ean developed the concept for Miami Muscle after looking for accurate and affordable muscle-building training. With no room in their budget for a personal training, the gentlemen started searching for online tutorials however the information was difficult to find. Zheng noted that most videos were not detail oriented so he decided to develop his own online program using advanced animation and credible information from world champion body builder Moji Oluwa.

The company is still in the early stages of development but recently raised over $18,000 through crowdfunding. Miami Muscle selected the crowdfunding website Indigogo to launch their campaign because of its strong international presence. The founders of Miami Muscle discovered an extensive fan base for their product in countries such as Greece, Singapore, and Canada and wanted to be able to utilize those international resources for fundraising.

Miami Muscle also looked internationally for talented contractors. Using online marketplaces, Miami Muscle employed a graphic designer in Romania for its logo while also hiring a company in India for the website design. Zheng says the most exciting part of the business is getting to work with people from all over the world. In the future, Zheng would like to make Miami Muscle even more multi-cultural by creating body building instructional videos in other languages and with instructors from different ethnicities.

Zheng frequently relies on the financial planning skills he built as a finance major at Carlson to strengthen his business. He is also grateful for the business communication class he took because it helps him negotiate contracts and pricing with vendors. The advice Zheng would share with current Carlson School students interested in entrepreneurship is to simply take action. "Look for talented people and test your concept to make the first dollar."

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