I had the awesome opportunity to attend Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored gathering in downtown San Francisco yesterday – and man, what a day!
Besides hearing about the latest and greatest innovations from folks like David Cush (CEO, Virgin America) and John Donahoe (CEO Ebay), we heard inspiring stories about how groups like Livestrong, Water.org, Cinequest and Solarcity have used innovation in technology and social media to change the world (which is usually an exaggeration, in these cases it was not) for the better.
One of the speakers I really enjoyed was Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership, formerly of Priceline and Malaria No More. He energized this entrepreneurial crowd by talking through his top 10 steps to business success.
Here they are:
9) Get the boring stuff right – i.e. what is boring to most entrepreneurs are things like bookkeeping, office space, etc – but these are the things than can, and likely will, come back to haunt you.
8 ) Capital – If attracting an investor is your biggest problem, your product or service is not good enough. Capital will find you when the equation is right
7) Customer development – Who will pay you? Spend time finding them
6) Focus – If you ask each member of your team what the most important thing to the company is right now, will you get the same answer from each? If not, you have some clarifying work to do
5) Build your network – Both inside and outside of your company, by every means possible
4) Did we mention focus? FOCUS.
3) Embrace the pivot – There are going to be times, 2.5-3 on average, that every company is going to have to change course. When this happens, make sure that you fully commit to your new direction.
2) Team – Select your early employees well, they are immeasurably important to the success of your company.
1) Ecosystem – Invest in your local business ecosystem (yay, PCV!) – and always help those who will help you later on.
I will certainly hope to be back next year!
-Kendra, Business Advising