Innovation Destination Hartford asked nine Connecticut entrepreneurs: Looking ahead to 2017, what’s the best piece of advice you can offer for budding entrepreneurs? Here are their answers.
Matt Connell, Co-Founder Yellowbrick.me
I would say to other entrepreneurs to have a plan and follow a strategy.
- Read our interview: Social Impact Startup Is Building an Online Community
- Visit yellowbrick.me
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @myyellowbrick
Samuel King, Guru of Marketing and Business Development Blue Earth Compost
My advice is to never say no to a new opportunity or to somebody new asking for help.
Regardless of how small the opportunity is, it can lead to bigger things and it helps to build the community and network your business needs and Hartford needs as well.
I think that encouraging a culture of cooperation is very important.
- Read our interview: West Hartford Startup is a reSET 2016 Impact Challenge Winner
- Visit www.blueearthcompost.com
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @BluEarthCompost
Eric Bryant, Founder Text Engine
I’d say that it’s okay to keep your day job and build your enterprise on the side. Doing so doesn’t make you any less of an entrepreneur or your enterprise any less of a real business.
Patrick McGinnis, a successful Silicon Valley businessman, highly praises what he calls the “10% entrepreneur.” This is the entrepreneur who doesn’t do it full time but builds both a corporate career and side business.
This is the path I had to take with Text Engine, and I’ve found it is the path most budding entrepreneurs have to take. Don’t let anyone tell you that entrepreneurship has to be about taking unjustifiable risks or working at a startup 100 hours a week. That isn’t the right path for everyone; we’re all situated differently in life and have varying levels of familial and social responsibilities.
Additionally, your side hustle can benefit your employer by giving you more skill sets and teaching you how to think like an owner.
Your day job benefits your side business by allowing you to be able to build what you want and not worry as much about satisfying market demand—and it gives you a steady income you can use to invest in your business. To me, it’s a win-win if you can approach it with the right mindset and manage your time carefully.
- Read our interview: Social Enterprise Startup Creates Text Message SMS Search Engine
- Visit www.textengine.info
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @text_engine
Doug Breakstone, Founder TruckHike.com
The best piece of advice I can offer a new entrepreneur is to realize that they cannot do it all themselves. They must surround themselves with the best, the brightest, and those with the most impact and knowledge in their chosen industry.
Forming a knowledgeable board of advisors is a wonderful way to increase the new business’ credibility and help to ensure its success. These are unpaid positions filled by industry leaders looking to help an entrepreneur succeed, just as they were helped putting their businesses together. A solid board can provide an entrepreneur with information and contacts they would not be able to generate on their own.
People are willing to help, you just need to ask them.
Kyle S. Reyes, President/CEO, The Silent Partner Marketing
Quit complaining. Mondays don’t suck. Business isn’t bad. The economy isn’t in the tank. It’s all a state of mind...and if your state of mind is that things aren’t where you want them to be, it’s simply because you’re not hustling hard enough and your attitude is in the toilet. Fix those two things and you’ll crush it in 2017.
- Read our interview: Outrageous, Authentic Entrepreneurship
- Visit www.thesilentpartnermarketing.com
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @SilentPartnerUS
Ripi Singh President and Innovator, Plus4pi
Rejection from potential customers and investors is a given. Seeking constructive feedback and acting on it is optional. And that is how you eventually turn the odds in your favor.
Robert Kwasnicki, Founder/Principal, Digital Marketing Partner
The best piece of advice I can offer a budding entrepreneur for 2017 and beyond is be properly capitalized—have an adequate amount of funding in the bank to get you through the first one to three years.
Also, in addition to intimately knowing your market and competitors, be a student of demographics. Understanding even the basics of demographic data can provide your business with an edge over your competitors.
Take care of yourself—eat well, exercise, and make sure you are getting proper sleep when you have the opportunity. You will need all the internal resources you have to push through the challenging times when your faith in your vision comes under pressure.
- Read our interview: Connecticut Startup Provides Marketing Services for Small Businesses
- Visit www.d-m-p.us
- Follow on Facebook
Charlie Bogoian, Co-Founder Kenai Sports
I would advise entrepreneurs to remain adaptable to change—and always ready to quickly identify problems (and their corresponding solutions).
The pace of technological change will not slow in the coming years and many industries are likely to continue experiencing significant changes. The entrepreneurial mindset will allow startups and new ventures to take these changes and turn them into opportunities.
- Read our interview: Social Entrepreneurs Turning Trash into Performance Clothing
- Visit www.kenaisports.com
- Follow on Facebook
Chad Moir, DopaFit
Be impatiently patient. Nothing happens overnight. Work like you wanted it done it yesterday but do not give up if things do not happen as fast as you want. Expectations rarely become reality. Always be ready to adapt.
- Read our interview: Social Impact Startup Dopafit Helps Parkinson’s Patients
- Visit www.mydopafit.com
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @DopaFit