This week I had the incredible opportunity to judge at DECA which "prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe." It was an incredible opportunity and very exciting to see young minds explore entrepreneurship and emerging start-ups.
There were many incredible ideas and concepts that can change the consumer marketplace, however three key elements were consistently lacking in most presentations. I decided to jot them down and provide this feedback to the semi-finalist on Friday and I wanted to share them with you as well.
3 Must Knows to Building Your Start-up:
Have you tested your process or product? On Friday there were way to many start-ups asking for capital for a product or process that they haven't tried themselves! If you're going to create a product and sell it, you better know the ins and outs of it! How can you sell and ask for money for a nutritional beverage when you don't know what ingredients are inside the beverage (true story)? Be your number costumer and fan!
How are you unique and is it significant enough? What makes Starbucks the leading coffee shop? The fact is there are a number of start-ups out there that are trying to make it and there is plenty of room for all of us! But whats going to make you stand out from the crowd? Why should I choose your product over your competitor?
Is your product a need or a hobby that you enjoy? Often times we get so excited and passionate about our ideas that we forget to check what others truly want and need. Make sure your start-up has both your passion and a want from consumers otherwise you may break the bank! Be sure you know the difference between a hobby that's for fun and a hobby that has start-up potential.
If you're building a start-up or thinking about it, these three 'must knows' are crucial to think about. If you're already running your own business, you may want to take a look at how you are hitting these points.
“Every day that we spent not improving our products was a wasted day.” - Joel Spolsky, Stack Exchange CEO