EFactor took to Philly last week to present “The Ins and Outs of Entrepreneurship” at Benjamin’s Desk, a Center City coworking space for local professionals and startups. The event is meant to teach basics of entrepreneurship, such as dealing with general legal matters, generating business plans and foundations of funding, and was lead by a panel of experts comprised by Jason Sherman, Sean Dawes, Emily Morgan and Joe Lanza.
is an expert networker and researcher, as well as a published author, accomplished film director and music producer and renown. To Sherman, business plans should be a second step, after you form a winning team and create a product to build your business around. Managing a large, abstract staff is one of Sherman’s biggest obstacles as an entrepreneur in the film industry, and trusting the wrong people and ideas has occasionally tripped him up professionally. However, simple marketing strategies like word of mouth, networking and publicizing your brand’s story and ideas are idiot proof, he said.
is the Co-Founder of Rocket Dove, Inc.
, a consulting company which he started after leaving his job as an acclaimed Search Engine Optimization professional. Dawes’ initial spark hit when he realized the money he was making at his full-time job wasn’t enough, prompting him to do his research and grow his own business on the side. Business plans, he said, are mostly for financial reasons -- to assuage any reservations of potential employees. Time management is Dawes’ Achilles heel in the business, and he faced failure when he ended up taking on more clients than he could handle. As for marketing strategies, Dawes advised attendees to keep all their efforts pointed, measurable and adjustable.
A virtual entrepreneur with the motto “making virtual personal,” Emily Morgan
is the founder of two virtual businesses, Delegate Solutions, a boutique virtual assistance firm, and Entrepreneur’s Entourage, an Internet marketing and branding company. Morgan’s initial spark came to her while she was an English major at Penn State, during which time she harnessed the power of remote, virtual business-doing on the side of her schoolwork. This set the stage for an eventual career in entrepreneurship. She doesn’t favor business plans, but rather operates on a goal-based mentality in her daily life. While there are many conveniences to be found in running a virtual business, she did warn attendees of a few obstacles, namely the management of remote employees and trying to understand brand messaging. Morgan said that networking is the most valuable marketing strategy, and that it is important to note there are two kinds of networking: one for business partnerships, and one for developing a role in a community.
iWowWe Executive Director Joe Lanza
functions as a video marketing consultant in the field of visual communications and software development. to Lanza, business plans are very important, as they represent concrete goal sets for your business. An obstacle for his field is communication -- his job is video communications, but it hasn’t taken off as a mainstream channel yet. Adapting to the Internet and harnessing the power of social media, said Lanza, is an indispensable marketing tactic.
Some of our presenters had a little help along the way from inspiring books. Lanza cited a book called “Excuses We Call On” as one that taught him how to believe in himself, set aside excuses and take on new challenges. Dawes swore by a book titled “Deliberate Happiness,” while Morgan stated that the book “Entreleadership” helped her transition from a solo-worker to a team leader.
All speakers agreed that entrepreneurs need to be out and about at events, conventions, happy hours, hackathons and other networking opportunities as frequently as possible, always with business cards and elevator pitches in mind. Being able to define yourself as a businessperson is equally important, said our panelists. When asked to describe themselves in one word, Lanza chose “enthusiasm,” Morgan chose “free,” Dawes chose “driven” and Sherman chose “creative.”
The speakers also advised attendees to always have a vision for the future for themselves and their companies. In five years, Morgan hopes to be continuing to pursue her passions and help clients, while maintaining an understanding of scalability for her company. Sherman hopes to be continuing to do what he loves every day and to be successful at doing so. Dawes hopes to be scaled back to a consulting business, while Lanza simply hopes to be helping people.
We can’t thank our wise presenters enough for sharing their advice, successes and setback stories with us, and we know our attendees left inspired and invigorated. We also thank our sponsor and host for the evening, Benjamin’s Desk, and hope that all local movers and shakers take advantage of this coworking space’s innovative atmosphere.
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