My experience attending Wisconsin Entrepreneurship conference was incredible. With business degree (MBA), my perspective of looking at various things that we see everyday has changed significantly. I appreciate creative business ideas or any product innovation much more than I used to before. It was wonderful to see lot of innovative ideas and listen from some very successful entrepreneurs who have made millions as angel investors. I will share some of the information technology business ideas that I thought were interesting and some words of wisdom entrepreneurs offered.
Some Innovative Information technology Ideas :
There was a business plan contest that was conducted and top 12 business plans(out of 296) were presented to audience. Also, there were panels where successful entrepreneurs were asked to share about their business and insights. Here are few of my favorites:
LIVEyearbook.com : Year books are a big deal in US and there is a big market to it. Every year lots of money is spent by schools to publish the year book. The idea is: What if all of it is all online(LiveYearBook.com) and you can customize and print the way you want with less cost ? It saves school’s time. In fact, this won the grand prize in the whole business plan contest. I think this is a creative idea. There is huge potential for success if all the schools embrace this idea and they pay for the service.
FlyingCart.com: The idea is you can create your personal online shop for your business easily and quickly for less cost with customization. It seems like an already existing idea like Amazon.com or paypal.com, but it is not. You can get your own domain and it seemed promising. The founder Rishi was featured in top 25 under 25 by Businessweek in 2007. I talked to him and he is seemed very talented guy ! FlyingCart.com revenue is generated as users pay for monthly service. They have about 10,000 web shops created as of today in last couple years.
Entrustet.com : It may sound weird…but imagine, if you die today, what would happen to all your digital assets, email accounts, info you stored online, etc ? Who owns them and what if you want them to be shared with your family after you die ? Typically, corporations do not share any email accounts password with their family members even after death or asked. This company Entrustet.com tries to address this issue and create a legal will for your digital assets. It is an innovative idea, because no one really thought about 50 years from now when we see internet old and this problem arises.
NoMoreDorms.com : Anything that is geared to attract college students in America to solve some of their problems will be a big hit. This idea is to address the apartment renting concept for college students. Though Craigslist exists, it is not robust. On the other hand rent.com is more commercialized and not perfect for college students. NoMoreDorms.com is a cross between both trying to address college students renting issues. The revenue is generated as the rental property owners pay to list their property.
Some words of Wisdom by Entrepreneurs :
There was so much information and experience that was shared by entrepreneurs…I cannot write everything… Few interesting quotes. Some may sound cliché…
- To be successful as an entrepreneur, “Fail Early, Fail fast”. The sooner you fail, the better you get and avoid bigger traps in future.
- If you want to be an Entrepreneur, be prepared to work 100 hours per week and do not expect any pay in the first few years.
- To be successful, you have to believe in your business idea and work passionately. If you do not believe in your idea, you may quit when difficulties arise.
- Many students or people do not share business ideas with others, they think others will copy the idea. But, reality is, you should share your idea with everyone and get their feedback. Others do not have the passion you have for your idea…the chances are, they may not do anything because of the hard work and risk involved.
- Someone said, “An entrepreneur is someone who dares to dream the dreams and is foolish enough to try to make those dreams come true”. Seems irony, but some may not believe in your idea at first.
This one is from other business conference, A new business to be successful it should have three characteristics.
- It should solve users’ problem.
- It should be unique and differentiable.
- Others should not be able to copy it easily. If so, you should have some controls to lessen the effect like strategic partnerships.
Anyways, the biggest advantage about starting a business in America is, if the idea is unique and if it addresses a problem, at least some people will appreciate the business idea and you can succeed. In other countries, sometimes your idea may not be accepted by public even though it is creative, because people may not be open to different ideas.
Image Credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/khoraxis/3272149790/sizes/m/