Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How To Ignite Your Inner Entrepreneur

There are many ways that people are exposed to the wonderful world of entrepreneurship but the most influential way has to be through sharing an idea with other people.  Thankfully there are a number of excellent ways to test the waters of becoming an entrepreneur and finding out whether your ideas stinks or has some potential.

Attend a mentoring round-table event.  Yes, it might be awkward.  You don't know them and they don't know you but the best things happen on the outside of your comfort zone.  These take place at a variety of locations and with a variety of people.  Anyone from local entrepreneurs to community leaders attend these events and provide an excellent opportunity to network as well as share your ideas.  The first step in developing an idea is becoming an expert at explaining it.  These people are here to help and if you can't easily explain your idea to others then you need to rethink your approach.

Enter a pitch competition.  Since you have obviously taken my advice to attend a mentoring event the next step is to find a idea competition or more commonly known as a "pitch" competition.  These take place all over and are usually sponsored by a local university or business.  You being the great idea person you are will have a short amount of time (typically 60 seconds) to explain your product or service and why it's awesome.  This is yet another step in the practice of explaining what you do and how you do it.  Once again, I understand that it might be awkward to get up and throw an idea out to a panel of judges you've never met, but think for a moment about what's really is going on at these events.  Yes there are lots of people there, but these aren't just regular folks.  The people that attend these things have the resources and connections that will allow you to take your idea to the next level and even if your idea crashes and burns, there still might be an opportunity to become involved in another project.  Never let the door of possibility close.  Put on your networking hat and make an effort to try and meet as many of these movers and shakers as possible. 

• Call an expert.  I don't know how many times I've talked with people that I really have no credentials or the right experience to be talking to.  You should be attempting the same and you'll be surprised by the results.  The goal is to find an expert in your field or someone that has experience related to your idea and reach out to them.  The type of people you should be after are probably very busy but don't give up hope just yet.  Persistence and conciseness are key.  Successful individuals are successful because they have mastered the art of time management so don't waste theirs.  Keep any email or phone calls brief and make sure to try and set any appointment to have an interview at least two weeks in advance.  I'm sure you are catching on by now but any contact you make should get to the point quickly.  This is another opportunity to explain the value your product or service provides and why people will want it.  Gaining feedback from experts can be a game changer for your idea so don't get down on yourself if you don't hear back, keep looking for new contacts. 

Ideas are nothing until you put action behind them.  I hope that these suggestions help guide you towards developing your idea and reaching out to the right people.  Entrepreneurs are very self sufficient but I want everyone to understand the value of gaining feedback from people that have experience.  



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