Global Enterprise Week

Mar 18, 2015 | Innovation Resources

Global Entrepreneurship week is a good time to get started

Today marks the beginning of Global Entrepreneurship week (GEW) when activities world-wide are designed to inspire entrepreneurs to start, build and grow their businesses.   Since starting in 2007 it has gone from 77 countries with activities to over 140 and nearly 10 million people participating.  If you have been thinking about entrepreneurship for a while, this is a great week to find inspiration and see if your idea is worth pursuing.  You can get started on your entrepreneurial journey today by trying one or all of the three things listed below.

Market Intelligence

One of the first things anyone considering the leap to entrepreneurship needs to do: dig deep and find out as much information as possible.  I think of it as market intelligence, because it is more than just research.  It is about being inquisitive and sleuth-like in finding out who, what, when, where and why of every aspect of the business and the industry associated with it.  Not only do you want to know as much as possible about your competitors, but find out how to stay on top of industry trends.  It will help keep you out in front of your competition.  You can start with an internet search to see not only who your direct competitors are, but even those that are indirect competitors.  No matter what kind of business you are starting or new product you are inventing, you will take a share of the market away from someone else.  Figure out who and you will have a head start on identifying your future customers.

Talk to Customers

Once you have done some initial market intelligence, you will need to start talking to some of those potential customers you identified.  You will want to exercise caution in revealing your idea, especially if you are intending to patent an invention and be sure you file a provisional patent first.  If you can talk to them in generalities, it is best – that way you do not give away your “secret sauce” but can get a sense of whether or not they are interested in what you are building.  Given the consumer driven environment we are currently in, if you are not in touch with what your potential customers are willing to pay for early on then your business may be short lived.

Rapid Prototype

Prototyping is a great exercise for seeing your idea come to life, whether you are building a business, a product or both. The first prototype you create does not have to be perfect; it only needs to get the idea across.  Prototyping for a product is simple, grab a cardboard box, some scissor and tape.  It only needs to look like what you want; it does not have to function – just yet.  If you are opening a retail store, get some paper, a ruler and pencil and start sketching out your ideal shop space.  If you are considering a service-based business that does not need retail storefront, then use that pen and paper to start designing your list of services and ideal pricing.  Rapid prototyping is a process of creativity that helps bring the idea out of your head and into the world. The more real you make it, the easier it will be to start believing you can do it.

Whether you are looking to jump in with both feet or build slowly over time, GEW is a great week to get something started.  Entrepreneurship is such an important part of the economic vitality of a community and Whatcom County has a number of organizations that can support you in building your business or invention, including the NW Innovation Resource Center, the Small Business Development Center and SCORE.  Additionally there are resources available like co-working spaces and maker spaces that provide inexpensive places for early stage start-ups or inventors to join other like-minded individuals. To help jumpstart the process, there are events taking place during the week of November 17 that are open to the public, including a workshop on crowdfunding and a weekend long startup challenge.  To find out more about these and other GEW events, visit www.startup.choosewashingtonstate.com.

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