Are Entrepreneurs Ever Satisfied?

entrepreneur

In today’s business world, being an entrepreneur seems to be all the rage.  It seems like a lot of people out there is either one, wants to be one, or wishes they could be one.  However, not everyone truly is an entrepreneur, even if they call themselves one.

A lot is written today about entrepreneurship.  Heck, yesterday I saw at least four articles across various LinkedIn groups about entrepreneurship including different methods of  generating new ideas and why successful entrepreneurs move quickly.  In fact, entrepreneurship is so en vogue that now there is a push for intrapreneurs in large Fortune 500 like companies (But that is a different post all together).  But in order to understand if a true entrepreneur is ever satisfied, we need to define what an entrepreneur really is.

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Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012: Starting Up Green: Integrating Triple Bottom Line #TEW2012

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012Welcome to this series of semi-live blogs from the Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012 (#TEW2012) conference in Raleigh and Durham, NC. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

Starting Up Green: Integrating Triple Bottom Line
Presenters: Jason Massey (Sustainable industrial Solutions), Quenton Ankri (Green Sky Wind Systems), Kristen Adams (Afterglow Cosmetics), Matt Kopac (Burt’s Bees)

Questions were asked of the panel members.  These are most of the questions and the answers provided. Read more of this post

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012: Pitch Sessions #TEW2012

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012Welcome to this series of semi-live blogs from the Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012 (#TEW2012) conference in Raleigh and Durham, NC. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

I was able to attend three of the four pitch sessions throughout the week.  Each of the sessions that I attended had multiple entrepreneurs provide a 5 minute pitch about their vetted entrepreneurial company and idea to multiple representatives of angel fund and venture capital firms.  The companies varied in industry, scope, and amount of funding they were looking to receive   Afterwards, the representatives of these firms were able to ask questions of the entrepreneurs for about 15 minutes.  If time allowed, the general audience were able to ask questions, too.  At the end, feedback  thoughts on the pitches and company were provided by the investors.  

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Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012: Government Role With Startup #TEW2012

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012Welcome to this series of semi-live blogs from the Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012 (#TEW2012) conference in Raleigh and Durham, NC. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

Government Role With Startups
Panel: Derrick Minor (Innovation & Entrepreneurship Manager, Raleigh) Mary-Ann Baldwin, Deborah Ross (NC General Assembly), Bonner Gaylord, Casey Steinbacher (Durham Chamber of Commerce)

Questions were asked of the panel members.  These are most of the questions and the answers provided.

  • What are the failures of government in relation to startups.
    • Not listening
    • Getting too involved
    • Access to capital
    • Affordable healthcare
    • Being support of small business, not just business
    • Research funding
    • Large groups being ignored
    • Government averse to failure (lack of risk, government not letting something die if it is bad.)
    • Today’s entrepreneur is the same as the ones in the past and using antiquated solutions to fix the problem
  • How does each organization help me grow my business?
    • Partnerships
    • State of Small Business
    • Understand all the things to start up that business
    • Find someone to help them
    • Convenor, collaborate, communicate,
    • Think about basics: roads, fire dept., Planning
    • Everything is based on value
    • Accessible and engaged
    • Planning to get companies to grow organically
  • Word Association: Entrepreneur
    • smart
    • Strategy
    • creative
    • Passionate
  • Word Association: Government Leadership
    • Visionary
    • Yawn
    • Difference
    • Oxymoron
  • Recently, a startup, Deja me, and their 13 employees were kicked out of their workplace, a residential house, because of violations in relation to operating a business out of a home.  It became a huge social media nightmare for the City of Raleigh.  How do we prevent that from happening again?
    • It is not necessary laws that need to change, but how it is handled.  Use a velvet hammer.
    • Create different culture within city.
    • Look at food truck law only now changes.  Need to figure out how to keep up with innovative ideas.
    • Understand older set of policies and get the community understand the “new” type of community.
    • Try to follow the rules first.  If still not working, then ask for forgiveness.
    • Use resources that are available.  It is your job to find out about them.
  • Talent/immigration/entrepreneurship.  We have a lot of well-educated, entrepreneurial types that cannot stay here because of Visa issues.  Can NC be a visa free work zone for highly qualified individuals.  Is it possible?  How is the interaction with the state?
    • This is an issues that comes up within state Department of Commerce to work with business to keep theses individuals here with more visas.
    • Durham 20th largest use of work Visas and 2nd in intensity in the nation for work Visa use.
    • Does this make it more of an opportunity?
  • How do we help local education with entrepreneurship?
    • Entrepreneurial classes within schools.
    • Most at risk kids are best entrepreneurial…just need to provide a better focus.
  • How can we help entrepreneurs?
    • Young entrepreneurs need to get involved with new Startups.
    • Universities need to develop outreach
    • Change culture, but it is changing.
    • Being intentional about changing the culture.  Paying it forward.
    • If you want to make an impact, you can here in the Triangle.
    • “Have you helped your local entrepreneur today?”

There was a similar panel in last years TEW.  I felt this was a far better panel because of the interaction between the panel and attendees.  Also, Mary-Ann Baldwin brought up a great point that at last year’s panel, the city of Raleigh did not know what they had in regards to entrepreneurship. Now we are a year further into it and we have done some great things in relation to it. I could not agree more with her in this.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012: Triangle EW Kick-Off Event #TEW2012

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012Welcome to this series of semi-live blogs from the Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012 (#TEW2012) conference in Raleigh and Durham, NC. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

Triangle EW Kick-Off Event Read more of this post

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012 Is Here

Triangle Entrepreneurship Week 2012As I mentioned last Monday, not reading a blog having to do with market research related on a Monday morning may seem odd.  But this is the second week in a row where there is a major conference in the Raleigh-Durham area.  During the week, I will be posting shorter blogs related to what I hear about the conferences.  Again, my traditional postings will resume next week.

This week, the second annual year Triangle Entrepreneurship Week (TEW) will be held throughout locations in downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham.  Throughout the week, the purpose of TEW is to “CONNECT entrepreneurs with local leaders, capital and resources so they may successfully COLLABORATE on current and future business opportunities to CREATE new jobs and economic growth in the state of North Carolina.”

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A Big Week for (Current & Wannabe) Entrepreneurs And Startups In The Triangle

Downtown RaleighIt has been a big week in the Triangle area for those in and around startups, or those thinking about a new entrepreneurial venture.

In any given week, there are always good events to network and get re-acquainted with those you may not have seen around. This is true for the Triangle area too. However, this week we saw three different great events to not only network, but learn and understand hoe innovative and entrepreneurial the area really is. Read more of this post

The First Thing Entrepreneurs Need To Be Successful…Focus

Inspired EntrepreneurshipThe other day Merriam-Webster’s released a list of 15 new words added to this year’s Collegiate Dictionary. I am sure by now you have heard some of the ones included. Some of the new words include man cave, systemic risk, and cloud computing. With our ever expanding language, you are bound to hear new words all the time.

Well, yesterday for me, was one of those times. I was ant an event last night and I heard the term “entrepreneurs disease”. I will have to admit that I never heard that one, even though I am around entrepreneurs all the time. It’s definition, although not Merriam-Webster quality, is the basic lack of focus entrepreneurs have because they have multiple concepts and ideas they could pursue. These concepts and ideas may or may not be related to each other.
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Hey Raleigh, It’s Time To Startup and Play!

Startup And PlayOn Wednesday evening, The Flying Saucer in Raleigh was packed full of entrepreneurs, startups and throngs of people who want to be near them.

This is just another example of how dynamic Raleigh (and the Triangle) truly is.  And based on discussions and interviews with Aaron Gerry and Patrick Shampine, who organized the event, they think so too.

Aaron told WRAL “The big idea is to create a groundswell of support for consumer-facing Triangle startups by connecting the companies with the community at large,” He continues to stay that both he and Patrick “strongly that the Triangle community is stronger if we all work together. We want to help bridge the Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh ecoystems through a collective celebration of entrepreneurship.”

“My focus is to foster relationship building and continue to put momentum behind our ever growing startup community in the Triangle,” Shampine told WRAL.

The whole idea of Startup and Play was not only to get people together that had an interest in startups and the entrepreneurial community, but to introduce many of them to the public.  People were able to learn about Matt Senter and his new privacy oriented photo sharing, play the newest game “Plight of the Zombie” by Sparkplug Games, or sign up with LiPi’s to be beta testers for their new platform.

The list of Raleigh-based startups include:

Be sure to check out all of the great companies.  Although these are not all inclusive, these companies are just an example of the entrepreneurial community in Raleigh and the Triangle.

Let me know what local startups are your favorite.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Using Customer Data in Market Research

Birds of a Feather“There are a lot of companies that have data, but not information.” 

I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of that quote at an event during Triangle Entrepreneurship Week in Raleigh and Durham, NC a few weeks ago, where I met a great group of entrepreneurs and small business owners.  The unfortunate aspect of this quote is that it is very accurate.

Being able to utilize data from customers is of the upmost importance when trying to find more of them.  “Birds of a feather flock together.”  Well, this is true in regards to customers.  Similar customers buy similar stuff.  By understanding who your customer is, where they are, and (most importantly) why they buy, you can use that information to attract more  customers just like the ones you already have. 

Today’s market is much more complex and less receptive to media and advertising messages.  However, by narrowing the target of your customer, you can send targeted advertising specifically to them.

How does your marketing process gather intelligent information on your core customer’s needs?  And how do you use this information to target other potential customers?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their customers though a variety of market research strategies.  He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes.  He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research.  He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“.  If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your customers, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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