Passion is everything
When I entered the boot camp for Bridge to Mass Challenge I was totally out of my comfort zone. I was convinced that being an “entrepreneur” meant that I had to be a certain type of person. A person who knew numbers, wanted to work with VCs (venture capitalists), who understood all the acronyms and terminology around business, who could talk finance and figures and show how she was going to make a profit for someone fast. By the end of the three days I realised that was rubbish!! Thank goodness for that! I have a team with me. My strengths is my domain knowledge (what I know about the people who will use Edufolios) and my sheer passion for empowering our profession. It is my passion that has got me to Boston. Sure, there’s a business plan but I know the “problem” and the “solution” so well that I eat sleep and dream it. That passion is what will get me through the peaks and troths of the start up world. It’s what drives me and it’s super strong!
Wealth is more than money
When we’re sat pouring over a problem and unable to see what or How we’re going to solve it there are two other questions to consider. The WHO and the WHEN. Our network is full of people who can help us. Who can solve problems far faster than we can – who have the expertise or the connection to get us past that hurdle and moving forward again. Wealth doesn’t necessarily mean money. Wealth is connections, wealth is support. We were asked to consider our network and to find areas of wealth. Gateways to the people we need to talk to, to connect with to succeed.
To the students I met at the Entrepreneur Story Expo last week, many of whom used lack of funds as their reason for not moving forward with their startup, I challenge you to think about who you know that can help you. Do you need money or do you need advice or skills from someone you know?
Know the value of your idea.
When we created Edufolios we had to think of a price point for our services. We made a judgement based upon the costs of the server we were running. This was not the right way to measure value. Value is about what the product is worth to the user. Edufolios saves teachers a lot of time, builds confidence, focuses their professional learning on reflective practice and much, much more. Our subscribers aren’t worried about the server costs… why would they be? One of the main aims of Edufolios is to remove the need to think about technology at all! The value of Edufolios is measured only by the value it represents to our customers.
Brand is more than logos and colours
Branding is really important to us. Matt loves to make sure that the logos are beautiful, the fonts consistent and the colours perfect. But that isn’t the end of branding. Branding is about every touch point that your customers have with your business. It’s the tone of your voice on the end of the phone, its the way you present yourself at meetings, its the speed at which you reply on your social media outlets, its the responsiveness to ideas and feature requests it is in short – a relationship with your customer. Don’t forget that. A beautiful logo won’t solve your brand problems. A beautiful relationship with your customers is key.
Values are important
At the Entrepreneur story expo last week a student asked a question about business and social good. I suspect that she, like I, might be concerned about the message of startups = Shiny car and mega bucks… rather than Startup = Social good and growth in our community. Starting something is hard work. I have to be passionate about what I do in order to continue growing both Edufolios and Reflect Growth. My passion is not money or flash cars. My passion is my profession. That doesn’t make Edufolios any less of an interesting proposition. You can surround yourself with mentors and investors (if you choose that path) who share your vision. They’re out there! There are investors and mentors out there who will share your passion – even if it’s not just about making money. Social good is an attractive proposition. If your business is about making the world a better place then that is no less attractive than one who’s sole aim is to make money. It’s OK to put social good first, in fact it’s pretty cool to do that. You’ll need money to grow and succeed; to make your dream a reality but it’s ok to build an empire on creating good. In fact, I’d recommend it.