entrepreneurshipTop of Mind

Commentary & Insights on Entrepreneurship The Top of Mind blog brings an array of editorial views to current events shaping the world of entrepreneurship. Engage, exchange, and expand your own view of the world!

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How To Better Answer the Question 'What Do You Do?'

It happens to everyone in business. You meet someone new who asks you what you do. And before you know it, you've rambled on only to find that rather than peaking the asker's interest in your business, you've left him or her bewildered and confused--and maybe even just a little bit sorry they asked.

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Posted by: Amanda Schnieders
on April 24, 2014
Do You Want To Be Rich, Or Do You Want To Be King?

You're the founder of your business. Then, the big question: Do you want to be rich or do you want to be king? What? You want to be both? Well, it may surprise you to learn that very few founders have been able to do that, including the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson.

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Posted by: Taylor Brown
on March 31, 2014
Creating Your IP Strategy: Employee Policies

What's the most valuable aspect of your business? Is it the bricks and mortar? The equipment? Or is it something intangible? While you can't touch it, feel it or see it, intellectual property when defined as "knowledge" or "know how" is often times the real equity of a business, and if it's lost, it can bring that business to its knees.

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Posted by: Annette Beck
on March 19, 2014
Startups: How to Build Something People Will Buy

"No business plan survives first contact with customers," Steve Blank says. What? Isn't the point of planning that you maximize the likelihood of success in the marketplace? Well yes, but perhaps not the kind of planning you might be thinking about. A business plan conceived on paper, powered by a great idea or invention, enhanced by research on the size of the market and a customer profile, has great potential. But it also has a crucial flaw.

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Posted by: Wendy Torrance
on March 14, 2014
Why Baby Boomers and Millennials Should Co-Found

Baby boomers are micromanagers, work hard, do not understand technology, are stubborn and want to destroy the planet. Millennials are lazy, entitled, tech savvy, want to save the world and don't know how to communicate in person. Although the generalizations of baby boomers and millennials vary, they do share one similar characteristic, they both share particular entrepreneurial characteristics. Millennials crave freedom and earning potential. Baby boomers have a desire to build something.

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Posted by: Taylor Brown
on March 10, 2014
Handling the Stresses When Two Work, But Only One Earns

When a startup first begins, cash flow is non-existent. And it can often fall on the entrepreneur's spouse to help provide for the family while the startup gets on its feet. This can cause a number of challenges, as you can imagine. Recently, I revisited Meg Cadoux Hirshberg's Founders School series, looking to the module "When the Breadwinner Gets Crusty". Meg is an author featured regularly on Inc.com, whose writing focuses on the trials and tribulations a family encounters when one of the members jumps into founding a business.

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Posted by: Annette Beck
on March 07, 2014
Founders School: Surviving the Entrepreneurial Life

When I read Meg Hirshberg's book "For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families" I knew instantly that I wanted Meg to join our slate of Founders School experts. The goal of Founders School is to provide entrepreneurs with crucial skills and knowledge, and to do so with an eye to topics that are important but rarely discussed in typical entrepreneurship education programs. The subject of Meg's book is just such a topic. We all know that entrepreneurs have to juggle a variety of considerations when founding a company: team building, assessment of product/market fit, intellectual property, and how to get that first important customer. What many entrepreneurs and, more importantly, their families, know is that there's a juggle on the family side of the equation as well, but it's one that many entrepreneurs may be reluctant to talk about.

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Posted by: Wendy Torrance
on February 26, 2014
Why A Startup Is Not A Big Company

Once you've heard the insight--that startups are different from big companies--it seems so obvious. Yet too often entrepreneurs, and those that teach them, approach the building of new companies with the same goals, staff structures and assumptions that motivate the management of large companies. Startup founders build teams to focus on engineering, and on the process of creating a product and bringing it to market.

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Posted by: Wendy Torrance
on January 22, 2014
How People-Problems Can Confound Early Stage Ventures

Some of the very first decisions founders must make early on in their ventures are crucially important to the future of the business. Many of these decisions concern the ubiquitous "people problems" that challenge even experienced entrepreneurs. When should I found? Should I co-found with someone? With whom? How should we split the equity? Bad or ill-informed choices at critical junctures could have significant consequences for startups. In fact, research has suggested that 65 percent of new firm failures were related to problems within the management team.

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Posted by: Wendy Torrance
on December 13, 2013
Founders School Live Enhances Learning Through Real-Time Events

Even with the most intuitive educational material, sometimes the most important thing a student needs is the ability to ask questions. For entrepreneurs, who are often lifelong learners, this is essential to the application of the material to their business. While online learning can facilitate opportunities to learn lessons anytime, anywhere that might not otherwise be available, the opportunity to engage directly with experts creates important connections and discussions.

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Posted by: Amanda Schnieders
on November 20, 2013

Twitter Updates

  • RT @KauffmanFS Know Your Business Partner Well. Very, Very Well. http://t.co/Fnpt39uUVW via @Inc
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  • Why @WarbyParker created an unconventional work environment based on a set of core values http://t.co/zXP170UAOa via @KauffmanFDN
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