My friend Donal Cahalane has been a Hercules for startups. For years he's been helping people get started with their business idea.
He's been encouraging them. But that's never enough - he's been connecting them with other like-minded people. And he's been introducing them to professionals - like lawyers & accountants they need to know.
He's exceptional. He's built a wonderful reputation locally in Cork - and is increasingly admired internationally for his work with Trustev (Irish startup).
I wish I'd been invited to help with this.
This coming weekend (28-30 March 2014) in the university in Cork (UCC), Donal is one of a group of mentors for Irish students. These students think they might have an idea & a dream worth following.
What could I contribute to student startup-minded entrepreneurs?
I'd be no good at technology. I wouldn't know one bit of code from another.
I'd be only a little useful on funding (I know a good few people who have got funding: they know the funding game - but no one's ever funded me.)
I'd be useless at product design (however, I know people who are very good at it).
What I'd be good at is disrupting a particular mindset.
I'm good at undermining the assumptions of people - especially people who put off until later their branding & marketing.
I'm a flag-flyer for the movement that says:
"Design your branding into your product & service - from the start."
"Grow your startup idea into reality by being clear what you stand for - what your story is - why you're doing this - where you're idea came from.
Often people put off marketing until they have their product sorted
- ready for market. Often people build teams to bring a product to market - and they spend hardly any time sorting out what's special & different about their team.
In a nutshell - startups leave branding until they've run out of time & money, too often.
I'd like to help rectify that sort of problem-making.
Grow your business thru more meaningful marketing - from the start. That's the message I feel like carrying into the student assembly.
What Donal Cahalane is doing is global. There are people like Donal all over the world doing this sort of stuff.