Last Friday, noted Real Estate Developer and Entrepreneur Welcome Wilson Sr. shared great advice for new entrepreneurs along with some terrific jokes at the August Technology Champions event. The Houston Technology Center hosts a monthly Technology Champions breakfast and Tech Champs members represent Houston’s entrepreneurial and technology leaders and experts.
Although the event is focused on technology start-ups, I believe nonprofits and other organizations looking to succeed in this economy can also apply Welcome Wilson Sr.’s “7 Tips for New Entrepreneursâ€.
Tip #1: Never Trust an Expert More than You Trust Yourself!
If someone presents themselves as an expert and their evidence or reports don’t quite add up to you – trust your gut and do some research yourself, and get a second opinion. There are a lot of “experts” out there who are more skilled at taking your money then providing your business with real value if you let them.
Tip #2: It is Safer to be a Copycat than a Pioneer!
Take MySpace versus Facebook or Internet Explorer versus Chrome and Firefox, and remember it isn’t always the person who comes up with the idea first that succeeds. Most successful companies began by taking an idea that already existed and then found ways to improve on the idea, the marketing message or both.
Tip #3: You are NOT Invincible, Despite What You Think!
It takes a lot of courage to start your own company and that same attitude can also lead to an abundance of fearlessness. Take a moment to analyze those big make or break decisions because you can make a mistake and your business can run out of money and fail.
Tip #4: Deal with the Major Set Backs, Then Forget About it and Move On!
Sometimes you make a mistake and some things are out of your control – like the economy. When something happens that steers you off track – analyze your situation to determine how it happened. Think about it for a little while and then if you make plans to go ahead, move on and forget the failure and remember your successes.
Tip #5: Schmooze Important People!
Welcome Wilson Sr. said it best: “Any success is a group effort”. Find people who can help you succeed and then get to know them. Think of what you can do to help them and offer that help.
Tip #6: Never, NEVER Burn a Bridge!
You never know who you may need to partner with down the road, and good relationships are critical in business deals. Treat people with kindness and respect, no matter how nasty they are in return. You’ll earn their respect, the respect of those around you, and you’ll be remembered as a good person to do business with.
Tip #7 “Be Prepared and Show Up!”
This final tip is applicable to pretty much any situation I can imagine in life – you have to show up to the event with the items and information you need to accomplish your objectives.
I’ll conclude with one of the hilarious jokes Wilson Sr. told Friday after proclaiming he and his Alma Mater, the University of Houston are both 84 years old: “You know you’re getting old when you tell your best friend that you are having an affair, and he wants to know who’s catering it.â€
The Technology Champions Networking Breakfasts are just one of many events the Houston Technology Center hosts. This Wednesday August 10th, HTC has partnered with NASA/Johnson Space Center to offer “Resources for Entrepreneurs” orientation meetings at the Gilruth Center in Clear Lake. Register to learn how to find the tools and resources you need as an entrepreneur.