Archives For Entrepreneurship

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OB-VI126_Sutton_C_20121112110313 Originally posted on the Wall Street Journal, Wayne Sutton: 3 Factors to Keep Emotionally Balanced As a Founder


Startup life is fun, it’s cool, it can be fulfilling, and impactful. Who doesn’t want to build the next WhatsApp or Instagram and have millions of people across the world using their product. Startup life has always been branded as hard and exciting. Founders follow the cult-like traditions of all-nighters to launch their product or practice their pitch to raise venture capital. Almost every part of a founder’s journey can be an emotional roller coaster. Part of the ride can be a small turn or a slow steady climb to an immediate drop or a complete 360 degree loop. The emotional ride from finding a technical co-founder, trying to get press, connecting with an investor, or pitch meeting after pitch meeting…you get the picture.

Throughout my journey of raising capital, building a team, managing personal relationships and at one point failing at each at the same time, three key factors have played a role in overcoming the emotional challenges. The gym, professional mentors and remembering the “why” kept me balanced.

The gym became my sanctuary, a place where I could go and block out everything in the world and focus on one thing…me. The gym allowed me to manage my physical health and emotional health as a way to release stress, manage depression and anxiety. With time being a major factor for many founders, going to the gym may seem like a huge loss in getting work done. Being a “night owl” I would workout late five out of seven days. My suggestion for founders is at least 30 minutes of working out at least four times a week. Always consult with your doctor before working out. If a gym may be too much for you, I suggest starting with an early morning one-mile walk/run or try the 7min workout.

See what other startup mentors have to say about their personal highs and lows.

As I look at the startup culture, if we’re honest, there’s a lot of drinking, smoking and other unhealthy behavior that leads to emotional outburst or breakdowns. These are signs of when a founder may not be emotionally stable to handle the startup life. Depending on the stage of the founder, they may already have a good workout routine, have great mentors, along with a strong reason why they started the company, but they still need to balance their emotions. We’re seeing more founders practice meditation as a way to stay emotionally healthy.

When mentoring founders, I now listen for stress signals in the categories of sleep, fitness, communication and productivity. I’m also having more conversations about empathy, culture and personal happiness. By having conversations on these topics, it allows the founders to open up about how they are really doing. I won’t settle for “killing it” when we all know a founder is one tweet away from an emotional breakdown.

Mentors are an entrepreneur’s trainer. They provide wisdom, previous experience all while knowing the founder has to make his or her own decisions and do the work. My mentors provided me council to overcome some of the challenges I faced along with tips to succeed in life. Finding mentors can be challenging for the first-time founder. If you don’t have any mentors I suggest to start attending meetups, networking events and connect with individuals who may have domain experience in your industry. Also you should connect with potential mentors on blogs, social media and through personal emails.

There is no magic pill that founders can take while on their journey through successes or failures. The emotional highs and lows of startup life for a founder are the equivalent of being a boxer. A founder must train like a fighter, knowing the risk of being knocked out cold and losing it all. The founder must hold on to the “why” and use the why to drive them during the tough times.

During the lowest of the low times, founders must remember the “why”: Why are they sacrificing their time away from family and friends? Why are they spending hours and hours working to build a product that people may not even use? Why take the risk? Whatever the “why” is during this time of rock bottom, founders must keep the “why” near to their mind, heart and soul to keep moving forward.

As for me, my “why” is to empower entrepreneurs to change the world using technology. I love seeing innovation happen. I love working with founders going from idea to launch. I love building communities and products. I’m also passionate about working toward a non-biased, inclusive technology ecosystem. Those “whys”, along with my son, keep me going.

PitchTo
Today I’m pleased to announce the public beta release of PitchTo. PitchTo is a dedicated platform for managing and rating founder pitches and provides a way for entrepreneurs to get feedback on their product or pitch.

While working with founders on their pitch deck either preparing for demo day or investor meetings I saw an ongoing theme. While in person feedback is great, founders would also like a better way to get feedback on their pitch from their network. Two more areas where I saw an opportunity for PitchTo is talking with investors about how they keep track of all their companies they see at pitch events, one on meetings, hackathons and demo days. Ironically, most investors were either using a note taking application like Evernote, google docs or good old pen and paper. The other space where PitchTo could be used is judging hackathons, pitch contest or startup weekends. Surprisely, a lot of the hackathons and pitch contest still use a pen and paper rating system such as in the photo below.
paper-form

With PitchTo investors, pitch event judges can easily rate pitches and share the rating via email and or on social media sites. But PitchTo is not only for investors. For founders looking to get feedback on their pitch deck or pitch video, you can upload one or both to your profile and ask for feedback or if you’re pitching at an event, ask the audience to use PitchTo to rate your pitch. My thought has always been, during a pitch event or hackathon, it would be helpful for a founder to be able to collect feedback from the audience and not just from the judges.

PitchTo also has with a built in pitch score algorithm based off of nine pitch data points. The PitchTo Score is based on my experience working with founders on their pitches and researching with investors, venture capital firms and angel investment groups. The goal is to standardize how individual pitches are rated using all of the same data points in the decision making process of rating pitches and deciding investments.

The Nine Core Pitch Data Points
Founder: Does the founder has what it takes operate a success business?
Business Model: Does the company have a hockey stick style business model?
Presentation: How well did the founder present their pitch?
Competition Scale: Does the company have a lot of competition? It ranges from none to a crowded market.
Has The Company Found Customer Validation? Does the company have traction or are they still figuring things out?
Size of the Market: What is the big opportunity in terms of revenue, or user growth?
Sentiment: How did the pitch make you feel?
Would You Invest: A simple yes or no.
Would You Use This Product: A simple yes or no.

Additional Pitch Data Points
Rate The Concept Being Pitched: What problem are they trying to solve?
Rate The Team: Is it a “A+” team?
Rate The Design: How does the product user experience and user interface look?
Rate The Originality of the Company: Has this idea been seen/done before?
Overall Polish of the Product the Demo: What was the completion rate of the product during the demo?
Rate The Key Differentiation aka the Secret Sauce: Does this company has something special to increase their chance of success?

PitchTo is still in beta and I’m excited to hear feedback on how to make it even better.

You can join PitchTo at http://pitchto.co/join

tech-startup-jobs-resumebear

Entrepreneur Schools
Source: GreatBusinessSchools.org

American Timeline for Entrepreneurship in Colleges

1947 Management of New Enterprises, first MBA entrepreneurship course offered at Harvard.

1953 Entrepreneurship and Innovation offered at New York University

1954 Small Business Management, first MBA small business course offered at Stanford.

1967 First contemporary MBA entrepreneurship courses introduced at Stanford & New York Universities.

1970 First entrepreneurship center, the Caruth Institute of Owner-Managed Business, established at Southern Methodist University.

1975: 104 colleges/universities have entrepreneur courses in 1975. Grows to 315 by 1982, 590 by 1986, 1,400 by 1998

AND NOW:

16: percentage of 2011 graduates that started businesses. That’s up from 5 percent in the early 1990s

2013: More than 2,000, U.S. colleges and universities offer a course in entrepreneurship.

Top 5 Tips for Picking an Entrepreneurship MBA Program

The Entrepreneurship Community

Learn what the entrepreneurship community is like at each school you are considering. Find out what entrepreneurial clubs, startup incubators, events, and research institutes are available to MBA entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship Competitions

Research the entrepreneurship competitions held by each school. Entrepreneurship competitions allow you to present your business ideas to a panel of judges. Winners get a prize or seed money for their business.

The Entrepreneurship Faculty

Find out about the entrepreneurship faculty for the MBA programs you’re considering. How many members of the entrepreneurship faculty are also entrepreneurs or former entrepreneurs? What kinds of businesses have they formed?

The MBA Alumni Network

Learn about the MBA alumni. Not only will this show you if a school has a proven track record in helping MBA entrepreneurs grow their businesses, it will also give you an idea of the networking opportunities available for that program.

Entrepreneurship Internships and Projects

Find out what kinds of projects and internships each program requires. Hands-on experience is one of the most important parts of an MBA program, because it allows you to apply what you learn as you learn it.

See if the program allows you to conduct research or participate in a capstone project. Capstone projects are an opportunity to apply what you learned in a real-world business setting.

Top 5 Entrepreneurial Schools (Undergraduate)

1. Babson College, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

Babson Park , MA

Tuition: $43,520

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100%

Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes

Scholarships money available: $30,000,000

Recent grads who started a business: 11%

Percentage still in business: 90%

Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 95

2. University of Houston, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship

Houston, Texas

Tuition: $19,848

In-state tuition: $9,318

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100%
Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $95,000
Recent grads who started a business: 41%
Percentage still in business: 100%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 3

3. University of Southern California, Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition: $45,602

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 94%
Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $17,000
Recent grads who started a business: 50%
Percentage still in business: 100%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 5

4. Syracuse University, Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises

Syracuse, NY

Tuition: $38,970

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100 %

Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $2,622,750
Recent grads who started a business: 12 %
Percentage still in business: 100%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 5

5.Baylor, Baylor Entrepreneur Program

Waco, TX

Tuition: $32,574

Percentage faculty who are entrepreneurs: 100%
Scholarships for entrepreneurship students: Yes
Scholarships money available: $3,340,000
Recent grads who started a business: 67%
Percentage still in business: 75%
Number of entrepreneurship organizations and clubs: 6

Top Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurs

University of Michigan’s Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
Babson College, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship
Harvard University’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship
Rice University, Jones Graduate School Entrepreneurship Program
U. of Virginia

Top Online Schools for Entrepreneurs

Oklahoma State U.
U. of Florida
Washington State U.
Southern New Hampshire U.
Drexel University Online

Is it for You? 10 signs you might be an entrepreneur.

1. Hate the Status Quo: You are not someone who wants to just go through the motions or sit by idly. Nor do you like following the pack.

2. Easily Bored – You find yourself easily bored, and others start viewing you as a problem. But nothing is wrong with you except that you are bored with activities that aren’t up to your abilities and aren’t challenging. Think Bill Gates, who dropped out of college to become one of the richest men in the world.

3. Fired from Jobs – You’re too creative for your own good when it comes to working for others.

4. Labeled a Rebel – You have been described as a rebel and rule breaker and would defy gravity if you could.

5. Resist Authority – You have a lifelong record of resisting authority from your parents, teachers and bosses. You don’t go along with the agreed upon norms of the group or community you work and live in.

6. Ready to Improve Everything – You always see how you could do things better

7. Bad at Small Talk – You have difficulty making the kind of small talk that so many people get comfort from. This social pattern of relationship and rapport building seems like a waste of time to you and makes you uncomfortable.

8. Bullied – You may have been heavily criticized, picked on and even bullied as a child or teenager. This has caused you to be driven to excel and to prove to the world that you are a force to be reckoned with.

9. Obsessive – You may have been labeled obsessive/compulsive because when you get started on something you have difficulty letting go. All of the great entrepreneurs become completely immersed in their vision.

FACT: Howard Schultz stuck with Starbucks even when his family tried to persuade him not to.

10. Not Normal – Until you get used to the idea that you are in fact different from most people, it could prove to be a problem–or exactly the motivation you need to acknowledge the entrepreneur screaming to get out.

Still think you have it in you to be an entrepreneur? Here are some facts:

1. The average and median age of company founders when they started their current companies is 40.

2. 95.1 percent earn bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent have more advanced degrees.

3. Less than 1 percent come from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds

4. The majority of the entrepreneurs are serial entrepreneurs.

The average number of businesses launched by respondents was approximately 2.3.

5.Entrepreneurs are usually better educated than their parents.

Most successful Entrepreneurs who went to college (they didn’t all graduate)

MarK Zuckerberg, Harvard. Facebook.
Bill Gates, Harvard, Microsoft
Michael Dell, U. of Texas, Dell Computers
Jerry Yang and David Filo, Yahoo
Larry Page and Sergey Brinn, Google
Steve Wozniak, U. of California, Berkeley

entreprenuer_schools_300

Sources:

http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2013/08/30/20-online-programs-mba-entrepreneurship/

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224791#ixzz2hjzw6JDu

http://www.topmba.com/mba-programs/specializations/entrepreneurship/top-5-tips-picking-entrepreneurship-mba-program

http://www.quora.com/Entrepreneurship/What-is-the-best-major-to-pursue-in-college-if-your-goal-is-to-become-a-successful-entrepreneur

http://www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges/undergrad/0.html

http://www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges/grad/0.html

http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2013/08/30/20-online-programs-mba-entrepreneurship/

http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/10561/12-Facts-About-Entrepreneurs-That-Will-Likely-Surprise-You.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/27/the-10-most-successful-co_n_885319.html#s297894&title=Larry_Page_and

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225359

You need confidence
You are going to fail more than you succeed
Past experiences prepare you
Worse thing is have a partner that doesn’t work hard as you do
Choosing your partners is one of the most important things you can do
Three clicks to book it
There is a lot of stress when starting a company
Investors don’t want Ms they want Bs
Before you quit you have to give it 100%
You need people who will never give up
It’s better to have a few users to love you vs a 1000 users who like you
Do things that don’t scale
perseverance is what matters the most

#startupschool notes: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Facebook

marks early coding project
Why did facebook win? There focus on real world identity and people
It didn’t have to be a college platform
Someone else is always going to have more resources than you
Determination is what Zuck has to lead facebook
You are going to make mistakes just don’t give up
Learn as much as you can as a founder, especially before signing anything
Hire people you learn from
Make decisions as a team
Have a goal to make it a good company as soon as possible
People want to learn about people
Everyday there will be tons to do but each day pick the one thing that matters.
Lockdown: everyone focuses
Marks take serious about connecting everyone