Make best use of startup workshops
Aug 11 2012, 11:40 | By Entrepreneur
By Pranbihanga Borpuzari
These workshops are tuned to give people an overview of the startup process and cover the basics of business ownership.
Most touch upon topics like structuring your company, building the company and scaling up, small business marketing strategies, human resource management, finance and legal issues. The benefits that such workshops bring to a startup can be huge.
On the learning curve
Such workshops are of great significance to a startup as they expose one to the core concepts of business and management. Experts in the field can give valuable insights and knowledge on a particular issue.
For startups, various tools and tips that these workshops impart are a huge bonus. Workshops on taxation can be of particular relevance as young CEOs or startups may not have the knowledge or the wherewithal to understand recent tax regulations and judgments, and how best to utilize various tax provisions to one's benefit.
The other kinds of workshop that can be of great relevance are the ones on Intellectual Property (IP). For technology-driven startup companies, it is important to have business expertise necessary to manage their IP assets as business assets.
Unlike a manufacturing unit where the tangible assets are sometimes the most important aspect of the business, for tech and services companies protecting and creating new IP assets, how to manage and monetize their existing intellectual property assets is very important.
Nevertheless, a carefully crafted IP strategy, coupled with the informed use of IP rights, is important for all startups to maintain their competitive edge and also act as a barrier to entry.
It can be a great place to network. The common objectives and similar thinking that most startup entrepreneurs share can prove to be big magnets for collaboration and partnerships which may take place at a future date.
Knowing the right people can make a big difference and open the right doors for you and your business.
Although most attendees at these workshops would be startups, it can also be worthwhile to bounce your ideas with someone who has started up in a similar field and share the pains and gains of the process. Additional knowledge is always a big help in entrepreneurship.
Finding a mentor
People who have similar experiences or positive energy, passion and have succeeded through their hard work and perseverance will have a lot to share with you and help you out with their inspiration and encouragement.
The importance of a mentor is understood by most startups and finding someone who could offer valuable insights to situations that only experience can teach is a possibility at startup workshops.
Experts present at such workshops can help you reduce mistakes, eliminate weaknesses from your business model, bring out your inner strengths and abilities and help you see the future clearly.
Finding an investor
Workshops are becoming an increasingly important arena for the funding community to find the gems they could put their money in.
While it clearly will not be the case that they write you a check the moment they find your business plan or idea interesting at a workshop, the ability to connect with the investing community can translate into useful knowledge. These contacts and experiences will be important when you have to raise funds for your business.
Marketing/PR and media
In many instances, workshops help you get your idea off from scratch, find a partner who shares the same vision for the future of your brand and maybe even help you find the talent who can write that elusive code for your startup.
This story appeared in the July 2012 issue of Entrepreneur.
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