6 Resources for the Aspiring Entrepreneur
By Hannah Redmond, Flex MBA
In my MBA classes at Rutgers Business School, I have learned that creativity, perseverance, solid business skills, and passionate determination make an entrepreneur. But, there are additional resources that help entrepreneurs along the way. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Inventor sites
A professor and mentor of mine, dt ogilvie, told me about Edison Nation when she knew I had a product Idea. It’s great-people from around the world use Edison Nation to get their innovations in front of retailers and manufacturers, to store and perfect ideas, keep up with inventive friends, and learn what it takes to create and introduce a successful product into the market.
An idea will go nowhere if you don’t know how to communicate it effectively. Every entrepreneur has to learn how to give a good pitch. Shark Tank on ABC offers both entertainment and an education in pitching. I have also been sure to enter every pitch competition available to me so I can practice my pitch and learn what types of questions VCs and Angels will ask me.
3. Meetup Groups
In business school, we are trained to network. Meetup.com provides groups of all kinds of people with similar interests that anyone can join. I highly recommend joining it. When I am looking for a programmer, I go to a tech meetup. When I am looking to find other entrepreneurs for advice and guidance, I go to a cofounder meetup. My current favorites in the NY/NJ area are: Tech Startup Pizza Night, Startup Newark, Scarlet Venture, and NJ Tech. At Tech Startup Pizza night, we fill up an Italian restaurant in NYC, enjoy Pizza, wine and discuss hot topics in the tech startup world. At Startup Newark and Scarlet Venture (both founded by RBS MBA Alumni) and NJ Tech, we give and watch real business pitches, collaborate on projects, hear from great speakers, and have great networking events.
Join a Skillshare class, or connect with an industry leaders who are teaching the courses. Skillshare offers courses in entrepreneurship taught by experts, successful startup founders, and more. Some include “Startup Metrics for Founders,” “Crash Course: Branding, PR, & Social Media,” and “TechCEO Bootcamp.” The last one I went to was at Union Square Ventures, and was pretty amazing.
5. Business Plan Competitions
Business Plan Competitions are a great way to get seed funding, become credible to future investors, and get some insightful feedback on your ideas. Best of all, they usually reward teams with money with no strings attached. Rutgers Business School has a competition each year, as do many other area schools. At Rutgers, both professors and investors judge the plans and pitches, and give valuable feedback that will help you improve your pitch tremendously. It is an amazing experience.Visit bizplancompetitions.com or business school websites to find a competition in your area.
6. Social Media
One of the great things about social media is that you can connect to other aspiring entrepreneurs from around the world and help each other grow. Find and follow mentors on Twitter. Subscribe to your favorite entrepreneurs on Facebook. Start conversations with them, comment on their blog posts, and ask lots of questions. I’ve learned that successful entrepreneurs are generally responsive to those of us just starting out, because they have been in your shoes before. Learn everything you can where people are spending their time and sharing their knowledge, opinions, and thoughts online.
Follow Hannah on Twitter at @hannahlah
Ramya Varma & Hannah Redmond, Co-founders, Taskmapper, 3rd Place Rutgers Business Plan Competition 2012