DO! Goes USA 2018 - DAY 3 & 4

The Global Entrepreneur Challenge has officially started 2 days ago at the Virginia Tech University campus. All students were assigned to a host family, where they'll be living until Saturday 25th of August. They've spent the entire Sunday getting to know each other, showing students and faculty members around town and planning out the rest of the week.

Yesterday, all students got to meet their assigned host company that will help them perfect their pitch and prepare them for their big day on Thursday. The faculty members visited the Virginia Tech Venture Lab and went on Virginia Tech's "Innovate Living-Learning Community tour" to learn more about how the entrepreneurial students at Virginia Tech innovate, whilst living together.

Here are some of the learnings from the past 2 days:

  • It's very difficult to change things by fighting the existing reality. To really change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Therefore, instead of trying to make small changes, it's sometimes easier to try something radically different. This doesn't mean that you can't take small steps. Think big and act in small steps to achieve what's not yet considered normal.
  • Potential customers very often lie to you. That happens because you're either asking the wrong questions or because they don't want to hurt your feelings. It's not easy to filter out the lies, because you simply don't realize they are. If you want to know more about how to talk to your customers and filter out those lies, The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick is a great book to delve into this subject! You can find a pdf version here.
  • A business is a never-ending cycle of highs and lows. Don't forget that it's during the lows that you're actually learning. Failing is scary, but it's simply a necessity to improve both your business and yourself. I've heard many people say "Do it afraid", because it's much more important to be doing it than to be sitting around afraid and not take action. I bet you can name many more failures than you can name wins, right? When everything goes well, you're not paying as much attention compared to when things aren't going well. These are the important lessons you learn so that you're prepared for the next time, when things go sideways.
  • There is no such thing as getting rich quick. Patience and persistence are crucial ingredients to making an impact that lasts. Don't forget that it's not just about financial impact.
  • If you're in the B2B space, try to map out the decision making process of everyone involved in that business (with their respective KPI's and motives), so that you have a unique selling point for each of them. This gives you an edge so you'll be able to turn a potential customer into a real one much faster.
  • It's never a bad idea to attend a workshop that covers a topic that you think you're already familiar with. You'll always get access to another perspective that you didn't realize was there.
  • Try to explain your business idea to a 10 year old. If he/she doesn't understand it, you're probably making it sound too complicated.

And again, a few quotes to finish up:

  • "Try to make your past-self jealous every day"
  • "Do it afraid" (I know I wrote this before, but it's an important one!)
  • "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it"

Read our previous update here!

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