Alumnus Launches beefjockey.com
August 26, 2014 - by Lauren Reihl ‘16
You can find anything on Craigslist – even cows. But Andrew Ruffing ’13, of Republic, Ohio, decided that there was a better way. While enrolled as a student in Mount Union’s entrepreneurship program, he discovered that Craigslist was being used to sell livestock and became inspired to start his own business.
After further researching the industry, Ruffing decided to start Beef Jockey 365 LLC, an online livestock marketing company for private treaty sales and auctions.
What Ruffing did not initially realize was that there are many difficulties that small business owners face.
“Starting a business is hard,” said Ruffing. “There are a lot of downfalls but none have been devastating. I would say the biggest downfall so far has been timing. Our web development took a little longer than expected and pushed our launch back preventing us from being able to take advantage of the fall cattle sale season. That made things tough, but not impossible by any means. It gave us extra time to think and learn so that we have things working great for this fall season.”
After working through the struggle, Ruffing began to see a prosperous future ahead.
“The initial launch was small, and we were only able to do classified ads,” he said. “It was interesting, and I learned a lot, but we had a long way to go. After reworking my business plan and developing my idea, I attended the Reppert School of Auctioneering. I have gained my apprentice auctioneers’ license and have learned more than I could have ever imagined about the business of auctions and sales. We just re-launched in March. It has been exciting, and we have had a lot of interest from prospective clients. We have also landed a few well known clients, and that has made things very enjoyable.”
Ruffing is now working on a similar site geared toward marketing of used landscaping equipment via private treaty sales and auctions. This site will be called ScapeXchange.com.
An exercise science major, Ruffing gained most of his business knowledge through mentors and the entrepreneurship program.
“There are a lot of people who have helped me along the way,” said Ruffing. “The most influential was Todd Pugh, CEO and founder of Todd’s Enviroscapes, Inc. He has been a mentor to me throughout the whole process and really helped get things off the ground. Professor Michael Kachilla and the Entrepreneurship Program helped my idea evolve and become a growing business with a lot of potential.”
Ruffing offered advice to students interested in starting their own businesses.
“I would tell anyone who was looking to start their own business to look into the Entrepreneurship Program,” he said. “It helped me learn so much and helped me develop my business in classroom so that i could take it to the real world. I would also say that if you would like to start a business, talk to several people in the industry. You can learn a lot from just a few phone calls, and you might even make a connection that could last a lifetime.”