Entrepalooza 2014 was held at the Michigan League on September 12. As always, it was a fun and interesting event, with good lessons about entrepreneurship from experienced entrepreneurs of all ages.
As I listened to various speakers, one theme seemed to rise above all others: the importance of relationships with other people to the success of your business.
- Keynote Speaker Rob Pelinka talked about a focus on service, and putting others first. You need others (customers, team members, partners) in order to succeed, and putting them first serves you best in the long run.
- Nancy Benovich Gilby said the “I think/I know” language has to go from the speech of entrepreneurs; they need compassion and empathy for the customer as well as passion for their product and business.
- Doug Cass said it’s easy to start a business, but hard to build the right team; you must surround yourself with people who can do the things you’re not great at.
- The “Pathways to Entrepreneurship” Panel seemed to agree that one of the biggest pitfalls for startups is people. You need a diverse team to execute; people who will get along well but challenge each other to excel. The biggest message was “you can’t do it alone!”
Entrepalooza 2014 was sponsored by, among others, the Zell Lurie Institute, Center for Entrepreneurship, and Ann Arbor SPARK, all organizations that NEF works closely with in support of furthering entrepreneurship.