Software entrepreneur James Kappen is the founder and CEO of Proposable, a company providing access to a highly efficient web-based sales proposal platform. Kappen, whose previous entrepreneurial experience played a major role in the creation of Proposable, has quickly ascended to prominence in his field by making his web-based platform available to the global sales force, and his reputation among his peers is reflective of his commitment to innovation and creativity in solving the key problems facing sales professionals in an incredibly wide range of industries.
Kappen, who graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara, continues to reside in the city in which he attended college, earning a degree in economics in the process. The fact that Kappen continues to call Santa Barbara home might surprise some in the administrative offices on the UCSB campus, as the software entrepreneur combined his final two semesters into a single-semester course load requiring special approval from the dean.
While the university’s administration officials may have thought Kappen was in a hurry to depart the school’s campus for some far-off or exotic destination, the impetus for this massive academic undertaking was nothing more than a simple desire to begin pursuing the entrepreneurial ventures that would eventually lead him to his current role as founder and CEO of Proposable.
With his penchant for innovation and his clear proclivity for creative pursuits, Kappen designed the web-based sales proposal platform in a manner that would streamline the entirety of the sales proposal process through a balanced approach to customization and standardization. Sales proposal creation is just one component of the Proposable platform, as it also enables users to track the effectiveness of each proposal, and each sales team member. The platform’s capabilities are all in keeping with Kappen’s goal to make the sales proposal process more efficient and more effective in every possible sense.
What was your best/favorite subject in school?
I was fortunate to attend school in that had some fantastic teaching staff. Its funny, because I really only excelled in the classes that weren’t related to my economics major. It was tough for me to get excited about complex economic theory, because I was far more interested in the practical application of economics, aka, starting and growing a business.
What was your first job?
I started my own publishing company, but I quickly came to the realization that publishing was very much a sales-driven industry and I wasn’t great at it.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I experienced how the time and energy I was putting into creating and delivering media kits and sales proposals was having a negative impact on the creative side of my venture, so I decided to develop a platform that would streamline the whole sales proposal process while also generating valuable feedback at the same time.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
My previous experience has been a key component guiding the approach I’ve taken with my current venture, mainly because Proposable is very much a response to the inefficiency inherent in my previous endeavors.
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
Shortly after we launched Proposable and provided prospective customers with free trials, I started to receive phone calls and emails praising the innovation of the platform we had created. I wasn’t too confident during the initial launch, but that first wave of positive feedback was extremely validating.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I’ve always been intrinsically motivated in entrepreneurial matters as well as creative ones, so I don’t make any conscious effort to stay motivated each day.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
I’ve always loved the challenge of creating a solution for a problem that seems too difficult to properly address, so I’m often excited to see anyone tackle the biggest and most complex problems through entrepreneurship.
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
Yes, as a matter of fact we have. The most effective technique, however, has been simply offering customers a free trial of our services. Once they see how the platform works, it’s clear how valuable the Proposable platform can truly be.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to apply my creative mindset to each one of my personal and professional endeavors, whether it is music, software development or even sailing.
What wisdom you would have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
There are so many things I’d love to tell myself when I first started out, but I wouldn’t want to avoid any of the mistakes I made early on since they have played such a central role in what my business has become. I would mainly encourage myself to not get impatient, but to simply push forward and make small adjustments everyday and eventually, the results will come.