Innovation Destination Hartford asked 14 Connecticut entrepreneurs: Looking ahead to 2018, what’s the best piece of advice you can offer for aspiring entrepreneurs? Here are their answers.
CARMEN VEAL – EVENT STRATEGIST
Own your truth. You don’t know what you don’t know. The sooner you accept what is or isn’t, you can take the steps toward becoming the best possible version of yourself.
— Carmen Veal
CONNECTICUT PHYSICAL THERAPY SPECIALISTS
Review the successes you experienced in 2017 and use them as fuel for the action plans you have for 2018. There will be challenging days—remember your growth and trajectory and stay focused.
— David Bostic, Founder
IDH INTERVIEW: Successful Physical Therapy Startup With 3 Locations in Connecticut
DESIGN YOUR MONDAY!
Recognize the importance of following your true passion when building a business. Without this sincere joie de vivre and loving what you do, the dedication and effort will be less than exceptional and easily identifiable from a client’s perspective. Despite all the tasks you do and initiatives you take to grow your business, this positive, dedicated energy will be the driver of your success.
— Jennifer Gaggion, Owner
IDH INTERVIEW: Entrepreneurial Center Cultivates Startup Interior Design Company
FACEBOOK: Facebook /designyourmonday
GREEN THREAD CONSULTING
Before you buy things for your business, really decide if you’re a solo practitioner or if you’re creating a firm. This will help you prioritize expenses. In either case, stay as lean as possible so you have resources available for surprises.
— Kris Coperine, Founder and CEO
Being an entrepreneur and starting a company is extremely hard work. Change is constant—each day bringing new hurdles, challenges, and questions. Risks are abundant, and uncertainty is everywhere. The hours are long, and the pay is often minimal. It is not a career for the faint of heart.
While being an entrepreneur might be hard work, it is also exciting. You are constantly learning new things and wearing many hats. It requires passion, drive, and grit. You have to be adaptable, and a good listener. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and know that there is not always a “right” answer.
My advice for a budding entrepreneur is a bit generic, but it would be to surround yourself with talented people. Building a company is not a one-person job. I am fortunate that I have such an amazing team of people working with me at LambdaVision, as well as the support of my family and friends. Being an entrepreneur is hard, but with the right team, passion, and hard work, anything is possible.
— Dr. Nicole Wagner, President
IDH INTERVIEW: Biotech Startup Develops Innovative, Protein-Based Retinal Implant
LIVE LIKE A LOTUS, LLC
Always follow your passion— that’s when the magic happens. Put out into the universe what you truly feel you’re meant to do and it will always, without a doubt, begin to flourish. The universe has an amazing way of showing you signs, but not until you admit to yourself what you’re truly meant to do.
— Felicia Jordan, Owner
IDH INTERVIEW: Hartford-Based Startup Offers Yoga and Life Coaching
In the midst of a tornado of distractions, the most important skill an entrepreneur must have is the ability to focus on solving problems for customers better than anyone else. Don’t fall for the hoopla and so-called expert advice. Put customers under a microscope to learn their needs and wants. When you do, you will possess a money-making machine.
— Anthony Price, Founder & CEO
Take all your notions of what your business should be and throw them out the window. By not having built up expectations, you allow yourself to grow and develop a business naturally—and in that it becomes unique and successful.
— Jennifer Moreau, Founder
IDH INTERVIEW: Woman Entrepreneur Runs Successful Home Design Company
POSH (PERSONAL ORGANIZATION SOLUTIONS FOR THE HOME)
Get out there and put yourself in front of people. Network, network, network. Social media is a great platform, but don’t discount the power of face-to-face networking. Find people who have a similar business and learn from each other, even work with each other if that’s an option.
Stop trying to recreate the wheel. You will be discouraged that your business isn’t growing as fast as you’d like it, and it helps to know others have succeeded in what you do, so just keep on doing it.
— Leslie Raycraft, Founder
IDH INTERVIEW: Entrepreneur Launches Organizational Solutions Startup
I think the best advice I could give to any budding entrepreneur is never give up, stay positive, and don’t let negativity get in your way.
There’s an old saying about the steps required to succeed:
A dream written down with a date becomes a goal,
A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan
A plan backed by action makes your dreams a reality.
— Russ Clay, Simply Jam
IDH INTERVIEW: Connecticut Entrepreneurs Turn Passion into Fruitful Startup
SNAPOLOGY WEST HARTFORD
Understand whether the core product/service of your business is a vitamin or a pill? Is it nice to have or is it necessary? How much is your product/service valued by your customers? If it is a lot, they should be willing to pay a lot. If doesn’t have a lot of value, your customers won’t pay much for it. Making a sale is a vote from your customer about how important your product/service is to them.
— Paras Patani, Owner/Educator
IDH INTERVIEW: Connecticut Entrepreneur Runs Successful STEAM Education Company
SUDOR TAINO FITNESS STUDIO
Stay closer to your authentic purpose and mission for the business than to current trends. Trends come and go but authenticity is timeless. Growing organically has been a wonderful experience.
— Karla Medina, Owner and Founder
IDH INTERVIEW: Entrepreneur Founds Innovative Variety Fitness Studio
“My advice to someone looking to get their dream off the ground is to do what you can with what you have, what you know, and where you are. As important and crucial a solid business plan is, sometimes you just have to roll your sleeves up and start where you are.
“Courage and resourcefulness are the most important traits to tap into when pursuing your passion. Start small, and improve and learn as you go. If you wait until you’re ‘ready’ (which you never will be), you end up spending energy on things that may not matter, and putting your feet in the game and experience will make you more ready than ever!”
— Holly Wheeler, Co-Founder
WE CARE COMPUTERS
Stay close to positive people. There will be great times and there will be difficult times, the people who succeed are typically the ones who can pick themselves up as quickly as possible. Hit it hard out there!
— Avi Smith-Rapaport, Owner
IDH INTERVIEW: West Hartford Entrepreneur Runs Successful Computer IT Company