ACS Member Resources
for Budding Entrepreneurs
Do you dream about starting your own business one
day? ACS has a wealth of member-only resources to help
budding entrepreneurs turn their dreams into a real-
ity. Explore the ACS Career Navigator on the ACS website
www.acs.org/careernavigator to find valuable information
on starting and growing your own business, including:
• ACS Entrepreneurial Resource Center
• ACS Entrepreneurial Summit, which provides technical
expertise, business advice, mentoring, customer services
reviews, and discounted professional and legal services
for six months to participants.
• Self-assessment tools, including a values inventory and
experiences and strengths inventory.
• “Working for Yourself Career Pathways” course, which is
offered at ACS regional and national meetings.
• Resources for developing a business plan, including key
elements, a worksheet, and a business plan template.
• Applying for a patent.
• Getting funding and raising money.
• ACS Webinars on chemical entrepreneurship.
how can an upstart company like Better Life gain a foothold in
such a market? For the first several years, Tibbs notes, marketing was largely through word of mouth. “Once we could get our
products in people’s hands,” he explains, “they became huge
fans.” But getting to that point was very difficult.
The entire dynamic has started to change in the past couple of
years, thanks to several fortuitous public relations and marketing
wins. The first was a series of appearances on the Home Shopping Network (HSN), where Tibbs has served as a guest host —
basically acting as his company’s star pitchman. He has also traveled to various trade shows and sales presentations across the
country to talk with buyers about his products’ advantages and
provide technical details regarding their formulations.
But things really started to happen when Tibbs was invited
to appear on the ABC television show Shark Tank. The prime-time show gives a handful of entrepreneurs the opportunity to
pitch their companies or products to a panel of venture capital
investors — and in front of a national audience. Tibbs appeared
on the show in 2013, and because it was one of the more widely
watched episodes when it first aired, the network decided to
rerun it a few months later.
“Shark Tank was a wonderful opportunity to pitch our prod-
uct to some of the world’s most accomplished businesspeople,”
Tibbs notes, “and it definitely created a lot of excitement for
our company and brand.” But at the same time, he explains fur-
ther that it created a challenge,
since the company’s manage-
ment didn’t know what (if any)
impact the appearance would
have. “We really weren’t sure,”
he explains, “whether sales
would stay flat or increase by 10 or
20 times, or even more.” As it turned out, Better Life saw a
tremendous bump in sales on its website when the show first
aired, and another bump when it was rerun.
Tibbs and his team have been busy pursuing other initiatives
as well. For example, one of the most exciting developments is
a trial distribution relationship with Target Corporation, which
has agreed to offer Better Life products as a market test in 150
Target retail outlets. “It’s obviously a huge opportunity for us,”
Tibbs shares, “with lots of market exposure to a group of con-
sumers who very much align with our target demographic.”
The market test began with initial product shipments in August
2014, and if the test is successful the impact on sales and rev-
enue for the company could be enormous.
Tibbs is clearly ambitious, but unlike some entrepreneurs, he’s
not driven solely — or even primarily — by dreams of financial
“After I started looking into the household cleaning products
industry,” he notes, “I was sure that I could make something
that not only performed better than the existing chemical
cleaners but was also safer for people and the environment. I
was also sure that there was a tremendous market for this type
of product — and that with my chemistry background, I could
help fill a need.”
Tibbs’s career is a good fit for him, he observes, partly
because it allows him to maximize his strengths. “I feel like I
have a lot of creativity and the ability to solve problems. I also
love the fast pace of business and not having to go through lay-
ers and layers of bureaucracy to effect change. It would be hard
to think about going back to working for anyone else!”
Another aspect of the satisfaction he gets is simply from
being in a position to create products that improve people’s
lives. For example, even though he admits to occasionally “get-
ting a few butterflies” right before he goes on the air at HSN,
“as soon as the camera starts rolling, I feel like I’m in my ele-
ment. I actually find it fun and exciting to talk about our prod-
ucts — and there’s nothing better than hearing a call from a
customer who says that buying our products literally changed
their life! When I hear that kind of feedback, it keeps me
inspired and motivated.”
Putting in time at the bench
Tibbs is not your typical industrial tycoon. He actually prefers
to stay closely involved in the science behind his products, and
works at the bench nearly every day. His typical day starts with