Apr 12, 2011

DemoCamp Boston: 10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Know

[Editor's Note: This article was originally written for BostInnovation]

Hosted by the Hult Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, last night DemoCamp returned to the Hub with a session packed with: entrepreneurship advice and startup demos.   Keynote speaker Brad Harkavy – President of Harhador Partners – opened the night to talk about: 10 things Entrepreneurs Should Know:

1. You are not the only one with your idea. If you think among the world’s 7 billion human beings you are the one-and-only holding your idea, this is a wake up call: you are not! Harkavy, thought 2 of his companies Vert Inc and The Uno were the only ones in the market, but other companies had similar ideas.

2. Timing is everything. You might not own the original idea, but the key to success relays on the ability to execute: in the right place, the right time by holding a killer product.

3. Secrecy rarely helps. Non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) and secrecy, slow down early stage businesses dramatically and you need to talk to your potential consumers and get as much feedback as possible. So go out there and talk smart about your business idea.

4. Your company will survive one or two direct hits. You are an entrepreneur, downfalls happen, crisis are out there – specially financial ones – so take a deep breath and keep on working.

5. Understand your market size (TAM). Make sure you are aware of the total available market, then triple-check if you can keep up with the demand and keep your sales goals realistic.

6. Media coverage is really fun, but also a huge distraction. Being plastered in the media is great but make sure you remember what your purpose is: to grow your business.  It is ok to use the media but don’t believe the hype.

7. Your business plan will change. “Startups need to get ready to pivot their idea many times, without losing focus on the business.  The ability of changing and/or readjusting your business plan will increase the chances of success, the rest will fall in line”, Harkavy shared.

8. Patents are a marketing tool. Specially if you are an early stage starup, you need to make sure you put your dollar investment in the right place.  Filing for a patent might not be the brightest move unless you are ready to overturn other patents.  Only if you are within biotech, patents alone are rarely a winning strategy.

9. First to market is not enough. Being the first to launch in a market category doesn’t necessarily convey company success, so don’t get discouraged if you have many competitors out there.  You need to define the personality of your product/service, integrate your business strategies, stay coherent and be consistent.

10. More Oxygen in startup offices entrepreneurs. Go-getters and doers who work countless hours – sometimes without seeing the day light – and a comfy office environment will directly benefit the company’s progress.  Set up a working space where your team feels comfortable in and let the ideas burst.

Followed by Harkavy’s talk, the presenting startups of the night got ready to pitch about their business ideas:

DailyFeats has a pretty cool motto: “People should be rewarded for doing good”.  DailyFeats is an online community where people share and earn real-life rewards for their positive contributions to different xxx. Learn how it works here.

Vizibility one of my favorites from the night. SMO meets personal branding: this tool helps upgrade your or your company’s visibility on the Net.

Rate it Green this online community was created for people interested in finding and sharing the best in-green building and design products and services.

Embed.ly was another winner of the night.  Emded.ly provides a service which makes every URL on the Internet embeddable for any website or web app in which is posted.

Instant Night Life For those party-hard folks, this real-time info service tells you what’s good before you go out.

peerTransfer is a secure streamlined payment solution, saving time and money for educational institutions and their international students when paying tuition and fees.

MassInnovation Nights Ever connecting innovators with the social networking, main stream media, the marketplace and each other through website and event.


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