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Wendy Torrance

New Founders School Series: Bootstrap Marketing for Startups

Believe it or not, you don't need a big budget or an army of people to market a product successfully. In today's marketplace, a startup can, with "a little ingenuity, some hustle, curiosity, and hard work" achieve myriad marketing goals, according to Kauffman Founders School expert Anita Newton. Kauffman Founders School is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to create and develop successful startups.

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Wendy Torrance
on May 02, 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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Wendy Torrance
on March 14, 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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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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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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Wendy Torrance
on December 13, 2013
Leaving Presentations to Chance is Like Embarking on a Trip Without a Map

Leaving presentations to chance is like embarking on a trip without a map (hat tip to Amanda Schnieders for the metaphor). If you don't know where you're headed and how you'll get there, you may not reach your destination.

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Wendy Torrance
on November 19, 2013
'Sales is Like Oxygen,' and So is Education

During my years at the Kauffman Foundation I have seen firsthand the effect that education can have on the development of entrepreneurs and their companies. The entrepreneurs with whom I have worked have taken the lessons they have learned and applied them to great effect in their endeavors as founders. These entrepreneurs benefited from opportunities to learn critical skills, and from gaining an understanding of crucial decisions or junctures that often can derail entrepreneurial businesses.

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Wendy Torrance
on November 04, 2013
Khan Academy Launches Entrepreneurship Series

Our founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman, once said: "It's your right to be uncommon if you can. You seek opportunity to compete. You desire to take calculated risk, to dream, to build, yes, even to fail, and to succeed". He was talking to entrepreneurs: those people who create new ventures, building visions into reality. Indeed, entrepreneurs are uncommon in many ways. They create something from nothing. They see problems (and solutions) that others might not. They take personal and financial risks.

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Wendy Torrance
on September 25, 2013
Students Engage in Entrepreneurship Beyond the Classroom

The Kauffman Foundation recently released a set of papers reflecting on the entrepreneurship activities taking place on campuses around the country. One of the things we have learned from the Kauffman Campuses, a program that encouraged interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education programs to discuss common practices and challenges, and from a group of experts we convened from entrepreneurial campuses around the country is that students are taking the initiative on campuses across the country, creating opportunities for themselves, and others, to engage in entrepreneurial opportunities.

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Wendy Torrance
on August 09, 2013
Campuses: Creating Entrepreneurship Opportunity

Entrepreneurship is flourishing on campuses around the country. In classrooms and through co-curricular programs and competitions, students on diverse campuses, at universities large and small, representing disciplines across the spectrum, have the opportunity to understand the role of entrepreneurship in the economy, explore innovation, test their own ideas, and learn what they need to know to be entrepreneurs.

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Wendy Torrance
on August 05, 2013

Twitter Updates

  • Fascinating - Expectations of Billionaire Saudi prince on ISIS and Obama Administration 'obligations' http://t.co/iuZ6EXayMd via @CNNMoney
  • What's different about this 'typical' incubator with 83 companies!? It's in Bulgaria! http://t.co/F8570erEWF http://t.co/5dHj8c8ahq
  • How is this tolerated? According to the Atlantic 53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed! http://t.co/OTFtxr3wbz
  • @suehesse Thanks Sue! Very Excited to be heading out for 12 days spreading gospel of entrepreneurship - Bulgaria, Croatia, Puerto Rico.
  • Indiana and Ohio representing the Midwest in top 10 States for Doing Business. Where's the rest!? http://t.co/m66oFeegiJ

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