We talked to Paul Douglas of Govonestop about his vision for easier access to government information and services.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Paul Douglas: Thankfully, we are doing well. We are resilient and communicate regularly.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Govonestop.
Paul Douglas: I am the former Acting Enterprise Architect and Senior Policy Advisor for the State of Washington.
I founded the company in 2014 after over 20 years of helping lead hundreds of state agency e-government and digital transformations.
Government agencies and entities are doing great things to improve citizen’s access to services. However, in the U.S., there are over 20,000 government websites. As such, it can be challenging and time-consuming to “change an address, find COVID-19 info, get disaster updates, start and run a business, do business with government and more.”
How does Govonestop innovate?
Paul Douglas: We innovate and evolve based on people’s needs, feedback, and product value. We place people and businesses at the center of ideas, decision-making, and services – not technologies.
Our MVP govonestop.com is designed around citizen and business needs and life events. Govonestop’s patent-pending technology uses an innovative approach to provide services by people’s locations and needs, rather than government branches. It’s your Government One Stop® for news, information, and services.
Govonestop’s makes it easier to list and find government and related business services and provides a place to connect, share, and collaborate.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Paul Douglas: The pandemic has affected businesses in many ways. When the pandemic first started, Govonestop had actually just launched its MVP with valuable services, including a way to roll up COVID-19 information from local, state, and federal governments. Although we had an innovative solution for governments and businesses, it was more difficult than usual to contact potential customers.
Fortunately, customer telework policies and technologies like video conferencing have now actually made it easier to reach a broader audience.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Paul Douglas: I had to make a difficult choice this year during the critical MVP launch phase. Could I take 3 months out of precious runway time to participate in a startup accelerator?
One of the best decisions I’ve made was participating in the LeadingCities AcceliCITY QBE Insurance 2020 Resiliency Challenge. The program, mentors, and networking opportunities were fantastic.
In terms of lessons learned, startups should research accelerator programs and ask for peer reviews to help make the best decision for their business and team. Start with a business plan and be prepared to pivot. Be prepared to work with and listen to experts and peers that may have very different ideas. Be flexible yet focused.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Paul Douglas: Personally, I eat healthily, take short walks, meditate, read, and love to smile.
For the business, I try to focus on one issue or opportunity at a time.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Paul Douglas: Our competitors are NIC for government web portals, ProudCity for websites, and Google and Yelp for search results.
Govonestop’s patent-pending technology enables you to find and share services by location and needs versus branches of governments. It saves you time and money. Especially small business owners looking to start, run, and grow a business.
In addition to providing a great web portal, we create a community where you network and share your ideas, products, and services.
We plan to stay in the game by listening to customer needs, demonstrating value, and evolving in an agile and strategic way. Feedback and collaboration are key.
Your final thoughts?
Paul Douglas: We will beat this pandemic together. Citizens and businesses are resilient and creative. They are also part of the solution. From ideas and feedback to vaccines and homemade facemasks, it’s impressive to see what we can achieve when we innovate and collaborate.