This year, I am delighted to be organising Startup Weekend Education in Dublin. An event that focuses on ways to solve problems for the Education sector, usually a digital solution. It’s my first time to be at an event that brings ambitious entrepreneurs, designers and developers together. 54-hours to build a startup? Yes, it’s possible!
I have never participated in an event that requires such a short time to build a startup. However, I have accelerated my own business through the Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers. I will never stop telling people the help I received was phenomenal, especially when you’re a 17 year old (at that time) and haven’t a clue how to start a business!
An Entrepreneur? Yes, that’s you, the risk-taker, the person with the idea. Walt Disney once said “if you can dream it, you can do it…”. Take a step back and think. Everybody has dreams, either it’s being an international singer or the next Elon Musk, but what actually makes a person successful? It’s taking that first step, a startup is all about execution!
I am going to explain a few important things you will learn as a startup, whether it’s at Startup Weekend or accelerating through an incubator. You will learn these concepts as a startup in any business course or support you partner with throughout your startup journey.
- Know Your Market
You have an idea, but it needs to be solving a problem. A problem that is big enough that it is a NEED, not a want. Who are the customers? Go and pitch to everyone you meet or grab a quick coffee with them (if your market is enterprise companies, find the right person in the business and ask for a quick chat over coffee). The more people you talk to, the more insights and feedback you will get for your startup idea. In fact, you may even completely pivot your original idea and discover something bigger that the market needs. A good way of help through research is looking at your competitors. Look at what they are currently doing, how can you do it better? Nothing is perfect, but it’s all about trying until you “get it right”.
You’re an entrepreneur and if you’re going to be shy, you might as well start re-thinking your life. You may be at a networking event or a conference, just speaking to the person beside you is a connection you have made. I can tell you myself, every person that I have met, whether or not they are somewhat related to my business, they have often been of help to me. Either referring them to someone I know or vice versa. Going to meetup events is so important, meeting someone who is a step ahead of you with development on their own startup will help you and can advise you on direction, these people become your mentors, or even a friend. The one powerful thing about business is who you know.
- Pitch, Pitch, Pitch
The Founders Institute once said “nobody is going to steal your stupid idea”. You came up with the idea and yes you were probably not the first one, but you took that step towards execution. Give yourself some praise. The fear of your idea being stolen is true to every entrepreneur, but not everyone is like you. You took the time to go out and speak to your market, your knowledge is an advantage and also the team you have built. All this is time consuming, not everyone would give up their salary paying job to risk in executing an idea that could either succeed or fail.
What are you waiting for? Come and pitch your idea at Startup Weekend this September! , who knows what will happen tomorrow? As Emil Motycka of Motycka Enterprises says “the earlier you start, the more time you have to mess up.”