Internet Week New York’s Top Advice for Entrepreneurs, from Entrepreneurs
Last week, I was on the “Harnessing the Entrepreneurial Spirit” panel at Internet Week New York where three entrepreneurs—myself included—and an incubator program director had a candid discussion about the startup landscape, mentorship, and the experience of turning a vision into a viable business. In case you missed it, here’s a brief summary of what I consider the top takeaways:
Passion will motivate you to success.
If there’s one theme that resurfaced again and again during the panel, it’s the importance of being excited about what you do. It motivated us panelists—as well as pretty much every other entrepreneur I’ve come across—to build new companies from the ground up and launch against all odds. Entrepreneurs often leave their 9-to-5 job to start a new venture because they don’t feel passionate about their work. Passion needs to be your driving force. If you don’t believe in your own idea, you can’t expect others to buy into it.
Focus will guide you there.
Just like focusing on a specific topic will help make you an expert in that area, being able to stay focused on your goals is vital to your business. From making smart choices along your path—such as enrolling in an accelerator because it’s strategic for your product and vision, not because it’s a fancy name—to following specific people that inspire you, focus is key. As a young company, you will inevitably pivot, but having focus will prevent unnecessary pivots.
Learn from others.
Running a startup is a continual learning process. Whether it’s a best practice, an inspirational story of perseverance, or a new trend in your industry, there is always an opportunity to absorb new information. Developing solid listening skills will also help you get more out of networking. Surround yourself with people that are different and can teach you new things, ask questions, and keep an open mind.
Network, network, network.
This can’t be overemphasized. Everyone on the panel agreed that successful startups are the result of a collective effort by a group of super-talented and like-minded people. Great ideas may be conceived by one person, but execution is always a team effort. Effective networking (along with passion and focus) will help you assemble a valuable group of people—investors, employees, mentors—that are excited about your vision and want to help you succeed.
Dorin Rosenshine, an avid marketer, is the Founder & CEO of Outleads, a Microsoft Ventures accelerator company. Outleads is the first and only 100% accurate, real-time, and automated solution for advertisers to target and personalize online ads based on offline activity. Learn more at outleads.com.