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Guest post by Matthew Ayoub

matthew ayoub

Being a first-time entrepreneur can be an intimidating thing, so having the opportunity to test your idea in a low risk, supportive environment over a weekend is fantastic.

This is exactly what Startup Weekend is. It’s like a weekend test-drive of entrepreneurship and startups.

It’s a place full of supportive, entrepreneurial people just like you, who are eager to create something. Over the course of 54 hours you will pitch ideas, form teams, validate your business, and share your new company with your peers and a panel of amazing judges.

In one weekend you have the chance to share your idea with a group of like-minded people, this is your chance to inspire them, to gather people to your cause. Forming a team around your idea is the first step to a successful startup. Your team will bring valuable skills, supportive encouragement, experiences, and diverse perspectives to your fledgling business.

Creating a startup not only requires a strong team but also a network of experienced mentors. Startup Weekend provides access to a broad range of mentors with diverse backgrounds and importantly, past startup experience. These mentors can coach you through many of the challenges you will face when bringing your vision to life. Creating relationships with these mentors will allow you to build a network that will be instrumental to your success. Every entrepreneur makes mistakes and the mentors who are available to you have all made their fair share. Learn from them and ask questions to accelerate your understanding and to help you launch your business more quickly and efficiently.

Customer Validation

Startup Weekend lasts for only 54 hours so there is a strong focus on two main aspects of your business. The first is customer validation. When you first form your team, you start with nothing more than an idea. If you want to have a successful company, it’s important to know if there are customers who will pay for the product or service you will be offering. This means you have to reach out to potential customers. Send them surveys, go interview them, talk with as many of them as possible. This information will not only help you understand if there is a legitimate market for you to serve but it will also help you refine your product to better meet the needs of your customers.

Creating a Pitch

The second focus during Startup Weekend is the pitch. Pitching your company is one of the most important things you will learn to do. There will be many times in the life of your business when you need to communicate what you do clearly and passionately. You might need to pitch to investors, employees, customers, or partners. As Startup Weekend comes to a close, you will be pitching to a panel of judges and to an audience of entrepreneurs, friends, and your fellow Startup Weekend teams. Practice your pitch, ask your mentors and teammates for feedback, and iterate. Your business is important, you’re solving a problem and you need to use your pitch to inspire others to join you, whether that means as investors, employees, or customers, help us understand your passion.

When the weekend is over, maybe you’ll have a new business, something that you might eventually come to focus on full time. Or maybe you’ll decide that your own startup isn’t the right move. One thing is certain though…you will come away from Startup Weekend with an incredibly valuable set of skills, a new network of amazing entrepreneurial friends, and a fresh view of the world. Startup Weekend has helped create companies, careers, and communities all over the planet. You too can be a part of it.

What will you start at Startup Weekend?

Matthew Ayoub is an entrepreneur and founder of technology company Media Trove, and Kanoodl – a startup that enables customers at restaurants, stores, and other businesses to influence the music around them.

About Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend is a 3-day event where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs meet up to brainstorm, plan a product/service or business idea, and build out a first model / prototype.

The event takes place at the CNM STEMulus center in Downtown Albuquerque, November 21-23, 2014

Click here to visit the event page and register today

Joe Cardillo