It Takes a Village to Raise an Entrepreneur
Last month, I had the honor of returning to my alma mater, FSU, to speak at Entrepreneurship Week. “E-Week” is part of the Jim Moran Institute of Global Entrepreneurship at the College of Business. It was really exciting to be back on campus. The institute is amazing. Students can now major in entrepreneurship, and there are a ton of resources and mentoring services available for business owners, veterans and other people wanting to start their own ventures.
I was so impressed and proud to see everything the dean and the faculty at the institute are doing to help prepare future entrepreneurs. It made me realize how much I could have benefited from a program like that in my college years, but I was happy to get reconnected to the place where I got my start and give back.
I spent the first half hour of my presentation sharing some of the lessons I have learned along the way, my personal “dos” and “don’ts” of running a business. I told a few stories and was pretty energized by the atmosphere.
I could have gone on for hours, but I made myself stop and turn the rest of the time into an open forum. I realized before I started speaking that there were 20 other established business owners in the audience in addition to the students. I purposefully engaged the other entrepreneurs to give their two cents.
It was great. Some people shared similar opinions and others differed in their approach to business, but everybody was eager to lend their expertise. I think it gave the students a taste of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. Starting a business rarely mirrors a textbook. It’s a process that requires the support of people who have been there.
Many times young entrepreneurs believe they have to know it all in order to succeed. They suffer in silence and make critical mistakes because they are scared to ask for help. In reality, everybody needs support and encouragement. Ask any successful entrepreneur if he or she had help getting started, and I’ll bet you’ll get a resounding “yes.” Building a business is truly a community effort.