What do entrepreneurs have in common with the rest of us? Well, for that matter, what don’t they have in common with the rest of us? All of us have a little bit of the entrepreneurial mindset inside of us, but shows up in different ways. Entrepreneurs tend to be risk takers. They like to stand out from the pack, and take off on their own path. Their need for supervision is limited or even unnecessary, but do rely on outside mentors to catapult them forward into their next dimension of success.
As an entrepreneur, it’s hard to wear all the necessary hats to make their venture a reality and even become successful at it. Hard work and sweat equity are staples, but how do entrepreneurs get the rest of the world to look to them for the next big thing?
Several months ago, I was introduced to a program based out of the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. The Kauffman Foundation’s mission is to “help individuals attain economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success.” What an amazing concept! I was instantly intrigued. The program that caught my attention is called 1 Million Cups. This program was designed for entrepreneurs, whether they have just opened their doors, to young start ups, as a way to present their business ideas to the world. The idea behind 1 Million Cups is that if each entrepreneur is able to have one million cups of coffee (or other drink of choice) with different people to share their business plan, they will be successful. The power of networking, idea sharing and instant feedback is priceless.
I am happy to announce that my home community of Lawrence, Kansas will be #10 in the country to launch the 1 Million Cups program on August 7. After sharing this concept with a few area stakeholders, and many many entrepreneurs, the momentum to bring 1 Million Cups to my area was rolling strong. I hope you take a minute to check out what this program is all about, and even consider starting a 1 Million Cups in your town.
I had the pleasure of introducing someone who inspires me yesterday. Alana Muller is the President of the Kauffman FastTrac Program, published author, motivating speaker, world traveler, dynamic mom, and all around amazing person. She spoke to the Women’s Association of Credit Union Leaders (WACUL) at the Central Exchange in Kansas City on the topic: Being an Intrapreneur. If you haven’t heard the phrase intrapreneur before, the concept is taking what entrepreneurs encompass (creativity, risk taking, new developments) and creating this same culture for colleagues within your organization. Even if you already have a successful venture, the inspiration that internal and external ground breakers harness needs to be nurtured to continue to grow.
One of the most fascinating conversations I have with others is how they got to where they are today. “What’s your story?” and “Who inspires you?” I love to ask. I am always amazed at the responses I get. For Alana, she found her inspiration in a most unlikely place: Networking. Those of you in the business world, or for any world for that matter, engage in networking on a daily basis. We start conversations with strangers, acquaintances, our best friend and others on the premise of learning more.
Alana found that networking not only opened up new doors for her, but brought forth a new project for her: writing. www.CoffeeLunchCoffee.com was born as a way to share her trials and tribulations on her networking quest. Her networking venture started with 9 months of meeting with over 200 people during the times of a mid morning coffee, lunch time, and an afternoon break to generate new information, connections and an ever expanding knowledge base of the community she serves. The face to face interactions she has with others continues to open doors for her, and allows her to engage and connect in ways she never imagined. I invite you to check out Alana’s blog, buy her book (Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking) and see what inspirations develop.
Excuses are just words. Here I’ll give you some: no time, no money, no resources, I can’t, I don’t know how. Sound familiar?
Not being what I consider computer tech-savvy, I occasionally come across obstacles that prevent me from accessing and producing things and ideas online or through the computer. This experience is not only frustrating, but also creates a level of brain power exhaustion that puts me into the excuse trap. The brick wall goes up.
To get out of this trap, I pull back and start talking. I share my brick wall experience with others, whether they are in the area of my needed expertise or not. I am always amazed at what pops up. People know people who know people. Brilliant! The solution may not always be exactly in the form you were wanting, but there exists the help you need.
Loral Langemeier, CEO/Founder of Live Out Loud www.liveoutloud.com , talks about the value of surrounding yourself with like-minded people. “Seek out people who are developing the same skills as you are or aiming for the same goals. Share ideas and ambitions” says Langemeier. She goes onto say “(s)uccess is impossible to achieve alone. Behind every major success story is a brilliant team of people.”
Use the power of your connections to make it happen. No one expects you to do all of the work for every project every time. You may have skills that are good in a variety of areas, but what skills would you consider yourself an expert? Focus on what you do the best, and reach out to other experts to make your good become best.