STORY INLINE POST
I would like to focus this article on a phenomenon that I have observed among most entrepreneurs who set foot on an entrepreneurship support platform. I will call it "competionitis." This is this desire to be everywhere, participating in any program or entrepreneurship contest that suits my business, either to win money or gain investment, networking or exposure of our idea or —, why not? — all of the above.
Although I have participated in four platforms that somehow support entrepreneurship, after participating in three consecutively (one per year), I realized I had to stop. And not because participating in these platforms is bad, not at all. That participation gave me solid foundations for my business, exposure, knowledge, public relations or networking and from one of them, economic support for my project. But the fact is that in three years, I never stopped to download the information 100%, to understand what my mentors were telling me, go deep into my business and review point by point to then apply all the knowledge that I was acquiring from each platform. I realized that knowledge without application is useless. It was useless to be in super-interesting platforms, full of people who contributed a lot of value, if I did not apply and above all understand what they were telling me.
I decided to stop participating in entrepreneurship support or acceleration programs until I felt that I had applied all of the above to my business. I also decided to create a kind of manual or book where I could find all the information I learned from each platform, from text to links, books, formats, contacts of providers or people, among others. Once I finished that "manual," I started to apply as much of it as I could in my business.
But it is hard to stop participating in these kinds of events because once you participate in one, you become, as we would say in Mexico, "like a thread of socks" with all the other contests and events that are out there. You find out that a certain company launched one over here, or that the government has launched another over there. Most of them sound attractive and, of course, you don't want to miss any opportunity.
Without a doubt, networking is one of the most effective ways to make your business known and take advantage of great opportunities. For many people, this can be very easy, but for others, it is better to hide behind their computer rather than go out and talk about their ventures as well as socializing. For me, networking is what gave me the best results of the three platforms in which I was participating. Thanks to that, I was able to gain interesting alliances and participation in other elements of my business.
Now, at what stage of your business is it advisable to start participating in these types of events?
There is something for everyone, from platforms that help you polish your business ideas to platforms that help you accelerate your business in its first months or after years of invoicing and other platforms that help you to give it a more solid foundation or in some way professionalize your business when you already have three or more years of invoicing. The important factor here is that you identify the most important need of your business or idea at that moment. It is also very important that you check your time availability, since most of these programs need your attention and time not only to attend, but also to do homework or present projects or complete advance work that mentors may ask for.
- Review the needs of your business or idea. Compare what you need, whether financial support, investment, knowledge, exposure, or to push your idea (or several of them at the same time), with what the call for proposals offers.
- Make sure you have time availability. Check how long the program lasts (weeks or months) and how often you will need to attend in person or connect online to sessions.
- If possible, research the mentors in the program so you know if they align with your knowledge needs or if their experience matches your business or idea.
- Never sign up for two entrepreneurship programs at the same time.
- Take advantage of the space and network, participate and get involved as much as you can.
- Once you finish the project, follow up on the networking you did. It is always good to have a group of entrepreneurs to follow in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
- Download all the information learned to a document that you can later consult.
- Apply as much as you can to your business; put together a project and manage it.
Entrepreneurship programs, whatever the reward (if any), will always be excellent platforms to publicize your business, to meet other entrepreneurs who can later become friends or partners and to get advice from experts, for free. Take advantage of them and participate but above all, also apply the knowledge acquired so that you can grow, advance and continue in this world of entrepreneurship with success in your business.
And last but not least, never forget that you received help, so help others.