Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Took a correspondence course on making ice creamDiscovered the only college town without an ice cream store was Burlington, VTHad $8000 in savings and took out bank loan for $4000Rented an old gas station, now make close to $300M/year
Laid off web developer and designer. Husband-and-wife team Mena and Ben Trott developed Movable Type as a tool for Mena’s personal blog posts. When they offered it online, there were over 200 downloads within the first hour. From their apartment, the Trotts (who were also high school sweethearts) launched software company SixApart, now a multi-national provider of blogging tools with more than 10 million estimated users.
BronwenTagoe An 18 year old was born blind but she has her sights set on a bright future. She and her mom, Deb started Braille-a-wear, t-shirts and apparel for the blindBronwenTagoe from Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County never developed eyeballs but she didn't let that hold her back.
One of the biggest myths!! Yes, tough to get loans, people spend less money, people with jobs don’t take risks, BUTRents are cheaperEmployees might be willing to take below-market salariesFewer people start new companies so fewer competitorsRuthless product developmentBigger companies get conservative and wait it out – competitive opportunity
The story of chicken diapers is one of the most clicked-on stories on Entrepreneur Magazines wesbite.
Threadless story, Craigslist is on here too
Innovation is what fuels every industry – as long as there are smart people coming up with better, faster, smaller, cheaper, funner, ways to do things, people will pay for them
So what are some ways to be innovative?QuieterScalableBigger
There are hundreds of quirky characteristics that entrepreneurs have, but 10 are the most important. The key here is not to try to have them all (no one has them all) but to be self-aware enough to recognize where your strengths and weaknesses are and build a team that has the rest.
They look like problemsThey look like people/products who would get along or complement each otherThey look like bad economies (small cars) injustice or unfairness (Toms shoes) or mistakes (i.e. GoDaddy)It looks like giving back: CU and ABC News Looks like luckStory: Entrepreneur Magazine and Amy Cosper
Describe system.Attracting and keeping good talent is something every company is trying to figure out. Sometimes it’s the great office, location, free lunch on Wed, but mostly its an environment in which people feel motivated to succeed and excel. The want to fee like they can learn something and be part of something bigger.Good leadership attracts A players Leadership is a whole other presentation
Most successful companies have a team of founders, mostly two or three, rarely one. One of the first pieces of advice potential investors will give you if you are a sole founder is to find a partner. Mainly because no one can do it on their own. No one person has all those skill sets, or time, or resources. Not a fan of tradingNot a fan of paying in equity (Facebook graffiti artist made millions)
Reality check – is there someone who cares more about building a better product than you do? Unrelenting drive (almost difficult to work with and perfection). Those are the people who have reputations for being hard to work with but drive brilliant innovations. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were not saints to work with but they cared deeply about being the best. Do you want to be nice, or do you want to win?Do you care enough and are you willing to do this for the next 3-5 yearsThere is no such thing as no competition – people who think they have no competition often don’t feel like they have to innovate.
Need the ability to find and process information. Entrepreneurs never stop reading or asking about what is going on in their industry. The more information you gather and process, the better your decisions. Cockpit: Think of info as the cockpit of a jet plane with dashboards that tell you what is happening. That info includes what is going on with your customers, your product, your competition, your cashflow, profit margins, and your supply chain of resources. That information Competitor analysis, what kind of info should they be looking atStory: rental house
There will be lots of opportunities and ideas the get generated. Interesting and smart people will always be coming up with ideas. Part of winning it to pick the one thing you want to be good at and focus on that. Twitter took the most popular part of Facebook and turned it into a company.
There are no sure things in the start-up space. If you don’t like risk, it just means now might not be the time for you. If someone had it figured out already, it wouldn’t be any fun!
You have to choose, sometimes with little data. Its part of the taking in and processing information. Sometimes it’s a gut decision, sometimes you can make it based on data. Get as much data as you can, and then make a decision. Then be willing to be wrong.Example: MalcohmGladwell and Blink
Quote from investors who say they look for a failure
Find people who are smarter than you at certain things and enroll them in being a mentor. Ask for something do-able – can I send you an email once a month? Coffee or phone call? Don’t ask them to review your 30 page business plan without asking them ahead of time. Make it easy to help you and Be a good student and don’t ask for more than you agreed to. If you consistently stop taking someone’s advice, stop asking for advice. Tips on how to find mentors. Find people who believe in you or they believe in what you are doing.Bunker office hoursBlogFrog and TechStars storyExample: about to put demand generation (information marketing) process in place. SEO, SEM, Webinars, email marketing (Marketo, SilverPop), conferences. Have a VP of marketing who just went through it – same target audience, different product.I don’t believe in paid advisor boards. Have 5-10 people you can go to. Dozens are better. Cultivate relationships and give back.
Have a come-to-Jesus talk with your self and ask yourself if you can talk about money. Can you negotiate a contract? Talk a vendor down? Negotiate a salary, office lease, or narrow three trade shows you really want to go to down to two? Do you know how much it costs to make your product, how much people will pay for it, how much money people in the market will pay, and what your profit margin’s are? How long you can last without a paycheck? How much money you need to get your product to launch, what your “burn rate” is? Resource: talk a beginning accounting course or fine a bookYou can get away with not knowing a ton about legal, or SEO, or Java code, but you MUST learn how to talk about money.Not a fan of trades – unless one of you is John Nash, eventually someone is getting the short end of the deal. Never pay for services in equity. Example: Guy who painted Facebooksgraffity in their first office is now a millionaire. Find a way to pay the person or negotiate a higher rate to pay later, but don’t give equity.
Lack of opportunityPoor teamLack of FocusLack of innovationConservative (no risk)Lack of decision-makingNot shifting or pivoting when realize an idea is badNo support team, no learningPoor financial management
The beautiful thing about start-ups and innovation is that anyone who tells you its not going to work is probably just guessing. Innovation is about creating something where there wasn’t anything before so how does anyone else REALLY know it can’t work. Nobody does.
How To Think Like An Entrepreneur
Is Your Idea the Next Facebook?How To Think Like An Entrepreneur @HollyHamann Co-founder, BlogFrog Feb 24, 2012
Photo source: Access HollywoodMyth: This is your typical entrepreneur
5 key questions you need to answer 1. What are you building?• 60% respected brands who wanted to interact with 2. Who are you building it for? 3. How big is that market? 4. Who will build it? 5. How will you make money?
Photo source: spafinder.comMyth: A poor economy is a bad time to start a business
Photo source: Entrepreneur.comMyth: This idea is too crazy
Myth: You have to raise funding to start a company
• 60% respected brands who wanted to interact with There is ALWAYS room for innovation!
Low cost providerLuxuryFasterSmallerStylishHigh QualitySpecial NeedsSocial Good How can you be innovative?
Equity in small business makes up the 2nd• 60% respected brands household wealth, 2nd largest share of who wanted to interact with only to home equity (source: Federal Reserve)
• 60% respected brands setswanted to interact with Top 10 skill who to build as an entrepreneur
Remember these? 1. What are you building?• 60% respected brands who wanted to interact with 2. Who are you building it for? 3. How big is that market? 4. Who will build it? 5. How will you make money?
Yup, still talking about these…… 1. What are you building?• 60% respected brands who wanted to interact with 2. Who are you building it for? 3. How big is that market? 4. Who will build it? 5. How will you make money?
• 60% respected brands who wanted to interact with The lack of those 10 characteristics is also the cause of most failures
• 100respected brands who wanted to interactdon’t 60% % of the shots you don’t take, with go in. Wayne Gretzky
Mark Suster, Both Sides of the Table Ben Horowitz, Bens Blog Paul Graham Essays Fred Wilson, AVC Brad Feld, Feld Thoughts Nivi and Naval, Venture Hacks Foundry Group, Ask The VC Entrepreneur MagazineResources – Books and Blogs