Nicole Alvino is profiled in this BusinessWeek piece. Here is a money quote about the campus ecosystem “Stanford gave me a fresh start and allowed me to see a path outside the corporate world. All of a sudden I was taking classes from people — Irv Grousbeck, Andy Grove, Paul Romer — who had started companies of their own and wanted me to know that it was possible. All I needed was the idea.” Below are her 5 tips for entrerpreneurs.
1. Find something fun. Starting a business is not a full-time job, it is a full-time life. If you are going to pour your heart and soul into something, it needs to be something you enjoy.
2. Find mentors. Your business is unique, but your problems are not. Writing a business plan, negotiating with partners, raising money — odds are good you know someone who has been through these steps before and can help you avoid pitfalls.
3. Listen to your investors. Fund-raising can be demoralizing, but the smart people you meet will invariably ask important questions you never considered.
4. Have the tough conversations early. I was part of a partnership in business school that fell apart over equity allocations. We waited until far, far too late to decide how we would split up ownership, and the conversation became horribly emotional. If a partnership is meant to be, the issues will work themselves out; don’t be afraid to bring them up and get them behind you.
5. Believe in yourself. Your business may or may not succeed for any number of reasons, but it cannot succeed if you give up.