Spending the weekend pitching, brainstorming and building prototypes may not be your idea of fun, but for the business-minded, this is how a weekend should be. Startup weekend is the gathering of entrepreneurs, makers, investors, designers, and other talented individuals who are collaborating to find future co-founders and teammates who believe in their business ideas and eventually start it up.
From the phase itself, startup weekend allows you to possibly start a business in a matter of 54 hours. Some foundation/organisations supports these events because they offer excellent venue for possible business ventures, innovation and education. Startup Weekends have seen 560 new start-ups, brought together 17,000 entrepreneurs in over 120 events all over the world.
If you’re skeptical with what a 54-hour activity with a roomful of people can do to you and your potential business, here’s what you can learn from a startup weekend.
Get out of your comfort zone and unleash your creativity.
Whatever’s brewing in your genius mind can have a place in a startup weekend. If you’re not offered the venue and support for your creative endeavors in your workplace, joining one of these events could be your best bet. Most of the concepts brewed in these events are IT-related which is timely since technology integrated in almost every facet of our lives. However, you don’t have to be an IT-expert to join an event. Your on-ground business ideas may play well with an IT-component, and that’s where the second lesson comes in.
Reach out to individuals with different expertise and skills.
To form an effective startup business, you need several heads working together in one concept. For instance, you are investor interested in a mobile phone app. You can look into the financial and marketing aspect, the programmer focuses on the development of the app, ensuring it runs well in Android phones, and your designer can make a good layout for it to grab attention and stand out. You complement the skills of another and that makes you an effective team. Since startup weekends require you to form teams with other attendees and work with for the rest of the session, you are also likely to be forming your future business manpower.
Make a pitch.
Pitching is an important part of these events because this is where you draw your potential team members to invest their time working on a project you have in mind. You are given one minute to consolidate your speech and you must be able to send a strong and clear message about your ideas. You can innovate your pitching methods so that they will easily visualize the prototype and eventually attract these participants to join your team.
Launch a startup.
You will find an array of individuals joining startup weekends, but they are there for one common reason: launch a startup. After working on your prototypes, experts and consultants will talk about the flaws and what works with your idea. This will help you realize if your project is actually doable and sustainable in the long run.
Several companies and businesses have taken off because of startup weekends. Zaarly is a mobile app that tracks nearby sellers and allow users to place a bid, was born from an Los Angeles startup weekend. Jesse Maddox who developed Trip Lingo found his much-needed team and investors and raised a $200,000 funding for his app. Planely was conceived from a Copenhagen startup weekend when Nick Martin met another participant who almost had the same idea as his and pitched it. Weeks after its inception, Planely has become a sought-after application among airline owners.
I’m a firm believer of spending your time learning and doing does not need to be strict and formal. The lessons we can learn in joining these events can fuel your creative ideas for your company or organization. To recap, joining a startup weekend will give us valuable lessons on:
- Getting out of the comfort zone and unleashing your creativity.
- Connect with talented and intelligent individuals.
- Pitching your ideas.
- Launching a startup.
Startup weekends allow you to take risks, to become persistent and be open in other ideas. You have a vast pool of geniuses waiting for your pitch and if done right, you could be one of the people who are able to conceive a business from spending a weekend the unconventional way.