Starting a new company is never easy. Some started in their garage. Other people wrote an idea down on a napkin at a coffee shop. It all started somewhere. To have the next big idea, you need good connections, investment money and above all, a good idea.
About 5,000 entrepreneurs attended the recent Seattle Startup Week to be mentored and have their ideas vetted by industry professionals.
“Seattle is a hot location for startups,” said Dave Parker, venture partner for Seven Peaks Ventures.
Parker was the former lead director for Seattle Startup Week. Parker has held executive positions in software development, enterprise IT and professional services, software distribution and hardware companies. To begin a startup, you should give yourself honest answers to tough questions, he said.
“The thing about startups is that there are always constraints,” he said. “There`s time constraints with having a day job. There are capitol constraints. But there is also a bigger risk that you need to take on first and that`s, is this idea a good idea?
You also need to ask yourself is this something that you’re passionate about, and do you have deep knowledge of the product or service you’re trying to build? If you don’t, you need to do research in order to pitch your idea to investors, he said.
“Before you leave your day job, have I validated that this is a good idea? Do people want to pay for it? And how can I de-risk that process before I have to go raise money,” Parker said.
As for the profile of who is starting their own business, Parker said there is a misconception that they’re all millennials.
“Many entrepreneurs are much more in my age group. They`re willing to say, I have significant life experience and I want to do something new,” he said.
There is often trepidation on the entrepreneur to share an idea with others for fear that it might be stolen. But Parker said otherwise.
“For first time founders that can be awkward,” he said. “But actually, you do need to get out and share it because the more you share it, the more you`ll find out if it`s valid or not valid.
The most recent statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that startups in our state are on the decline.
In 2014 more than 4,000 startups began, but also close to 8,500 closed too. But Parker said when he started there wasn’t events like Seattle Startup Week to help him out. Now, there are more resources than ever to get a startup business on the right track.
Parker says tech startups are popular in our region. The small business administration has business development centers at many community colleges in our region, where you can take classes and get some one-on-one feedback on your entrepreneurial ideas. For more information go to www.sba.gov.