5 tips going into Startup Weekend

The June edition was my first experience with Startup Weekend Dublin and it was worth my while as you can find in my daily recaps here, here, and here.

It’s great to be back this time as a co-organizer working along side a team that allowed me develop both an idea and myself under 54 hours. So in retrospects, here are 5 tips I’d like to share with you going into the weekend to start something amazing.

 

1. Be open to new ideas

My favourite ideas pitched at the last Startup Weekend where those that were thought up during the weekend, so be open to coming up with and listening to people with new ideas. It’s definitely easier to have a new team excited about an idea they all chipped in to form than another just one person brings to the table with an attempt to get a buy-in from others.

 

2. Be friendly and get talking

Smile. Walk around. Say hello to people. The weekend is meant for more of collaboration than competition. Get talking to other people, volunteers, organizers, the photographer, and the chef. They may just be the future customers that will validate your idea or give that priceless feedback. Everything to gain and nothing to lose by being friendly.

 

3. Leave the building

I cannot stress this enough. Get out of the building and get talking to prospective customers. If possible go ahead and make a sale. One thing you want to get out of Startup Weekend is to validate your idea and business model. So spend a good time having customer interviews. Call people up for feedback  and cold call to make sale if need be.

 

4. Network with mentors

These folks are industry leaders, technical superstars, business gurus, growth hackers, and more – and they will be hanging out with you all weekend. Use them! I remember last Startup Weekend when just a 2 minute conversation with a mentor cracked open the code on our business model.

5. And most importantly, have fun

No matter what happens this weekend. Don’t forget to have fun. Work hard but play harder. Don’t go running home and missing out on after-drinks. Take a break, ride the seesaw and try the gaming console. There’s also a #swdubselfie competition so don’t miss out on that.

That’s all for now. Follow @swdub on twitter and vine and share your experience with the hashtag #swdub.








Pitching your idea at Startup Weekend!

full_1381354002photo22Are you going to be pitching an idea at Startup Weekend?

Each person will get 60 seconds to pitch their idea to the audience. Only 10-15 ideas will be selected to move into the weekend. Pitching an idea is not an easy task. It takes practice to sell your idea & vision in 60 seconds.

As a reminder, you can’t pitch your existing business/app. Startup Weekend is designed to be the most effective platform for growing new businesses from the ground up over the course of a weekend. A key facet of the weekend and a central value for participants is the spirit of complete collaboration, buy-in and ownership. We’ve found that having existing businesses in the mix undermines this spirit, in addition to creating an imbalance between those ideas that are truly ground-level.

If you have an idea and you have been doing some customer research, researching on the internet, designed some wireframes, talked to businesses to see if there is any demand, then great! Thats fine. We expect you folks to do your own due diligence before hand. As long as you havent launched, have customers or an MVP of the app.

In 60 seconds you need to:

5-10s Who are you?

10-20s What’s the problem? Use this time to set up the story. How did you discover this problem? How can we (the audience) relate to it? How many people are affected by this problem? Build that connection to the audience to capture their attention.

10-20s What’s your solution? Mobile? Web? Something physical?

5-10s Who do you need? Developers? Designers? Product folks?

Take the time and practice your pitch. Practice in front of your friends and see if you can convince them to vote for you.

 








Idea Trigger un-Happy: A Business is More than Just an Idea (Comic)

#entrepreneurfail Idea Trigger (Un)Happy

Epiphanies strike all the time in the entrepreneurial mind. 

I’m sure you’ve felt it.  You may be in the shower, about to sleep, or in an awkward social situation and BAM!  On the surface you may have a fantastic idea – the answer that all humanity has been waiting for.  But then, before you know it, the bubble bursts.  This is an example of an #entrepreneurfail.

What happened?  You may have done some research and realized that Google/Amazon/[insert any publicly-traded company name here] has already tried and failed at that idea.  Or, you may have found that there are just no paying consumers. Or, even worse, you find that there are already 5 copycats in the market, each one undercutting the rest.

An entrepreneur’s dilemma is never about not enough ideas; it’s about filtering the flood of ideas.  If you have a great idea, remember what you need instead is a great “problem to solve”.  Only then can you find the clients and customers that are willing and able to pay for your products and services.  Also, consider scoring your ideas using key criteria such as sustainability, barriers to entry, and competitive threats.

If you are a true entrepreneur, these spurts of idea excitement won’t ever stop. As new ideas crop up, we’ve learned to always do our due diligence, focus on our point of difference, and remember that it’s the execution that really matters.

Have you ever been inspired with an amazing idea, just to be bitten by reality? Tell us about it in the comments below.

This comic and post was adapted from  www.entrepreneurfail.com.