Guest blog by Rachel Stern, Invest Buffalo Niagara Intern, University at Buffalo WNY Prosperity Fellow
- Investors frequently say “it’s not the idea, it’s the team.” That phrase certainly holds true at events like Buffalo Startup Weekend, which helped kick off 43North Week. Participants can give a 60-second pitch of an idea they have, everyone votes for three favorites, and teams are formed around which top idea they can contribute to the most. The teams with the greatest success – whether at a 54-hour marathon weekend, competitions like 43North, or at established companies – are those with a diverse range of expertise. Startup Weekend gives participants the opportunity to work with new people, expand their networks, and make lasting connections.
- Fail fast, and fail forward. While conducting market research, startups may learn about a competitor whose product or service dominates the industry. During customer validation, they may learn that their intended product is not something anyone would be willing to purchase. Even better, they may learn that their idea will surely fail, and the company decides to take action before that occurs. The notion of “pivoting” your startup earlier in its development will help ensure faster growth into a more appropriate business solution. The coaches and organizers at Startup Weekend assist each team by providing valuable insight to ensure your idea doesn’t end up stuck in the trenches.
- Enjoy the process. The format of Startup Weekend is designed to help spur creative ideas and turn those ideas into reality through collaboration and coaching. The accompanying camaraderie is something to enjoy and appreciate; startups are rarely launched overnight, let alone in a 54-hour time frame. Learning about the target customer, appropriate applications, revenue models, and everything else associated with starting a business can be overwhelming. But when you take a step back to observe your progress, high-five your team, and celebrate success, the feeling of accomplishment is quite rewarding.