The culture at Jumpstart Foundry is lighthearted and filled with humor. Despite the relentless work ethic these teams exhibit, you can almost always hear laughter in the halls of the Entrepreneur Center. On weekends you can see the JSF 2012 class hopping the Honky-Tonks together, teasing each others’ business plans and developing a library of inside jokes.
The light company culture made it all the more appropriate for Dr. Michael Burcham to prepare the teams for the less glamorous side of small business incubation. In addition to addressing how to face and overcome failures, Dr. Burcham elaborated on a concept he calls “The Post Pitch Blues.”
“You’ll want to hit investors in waves. Your first pitch is not an end-all.” He says. “The best time to seek investment is before you need it.”
The Post Pitch Blues
Michael’s ensuing advice reminded the teams of his reputation for tempering energy and passion with real world expectations. “It’s easy for someone to say you have a great idea, but it’s only a great idea when they write the check.” He then emphasized the importance of surrounding your company with friends and experts in the industry, but reminded the teams to be wary of Yes Men. “Find people who are honest, and take their criticism.”
He then closed by addressing the topic of failure head on.
“If you can’t deal with a no, don’t get in this game. You’ll get 9 no’s for every yes. Have very thick skin.”
What advice would you offer our a startup before they enter the fray?