In my 9 prior startups where I've been a founder/co-founder, they've all been in software or healthcare. Those are comfortable markets where I have backgrounds, plus I personally enjoy the complexities of building go-to-market marketing and sales plans in these demanding markets. My forays into consumer products have been limited to a medtech product sold in chain pharmacies and to outerwear apparel working with the genius of legendary CB Vaughn at CB Sports.
Tags: how to write a marketing plan, jack derby professor at Tufts, marketing planning, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts
There are certainly more than a few universities both locally and across the country that feature entrepreneurship programs. In fact, every university and most standalone colleges have an entrepreneurship program from the giants of Babson, where entrepreneurship is their DNA, to the halls of MIT, where I also teach, to excellent programs at BU, BC, UNH and across all the campuses of UMass. Very simply, a university cannot be taken seriously without entrepreneurship studies in their program at some level since. in fact, entrepreneurship is not about tech startups. Real entrepreneurship is about innovation and very few universities are as well-equipped as is Tufts, which is recognized as one of the top research universities in the U.S.
Tags: Tufts marketing projects, interns for marketing projects, jack derby professor at Tufts, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts
So, just what is entrepreneurship?
A very appropriate question this morning as we kick off at 10:00 the finals of the annual "Tufts $100K Competition". As the largest non-athletic event at Tufts, the $100K finals today will feature 15 entrepreneur teams divided among three tracks of "General Technology", "Social Impact" and "Healthcare and Life Sciences" reflecting the diversity of research and innovation across all our 11 schools.
Tufts is among the most highly ranked research universities in the U.S. covering every discipline of engineering, nutrition, social impact, medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science. For me, this process beginning earlier this year with hundreds of submissions from students and professors, followed by mentoring sessions leading to quarter and semi competitions and now today's finals provides a perfect example of entrepreneurship at its best!
In my years of having the privilege of teaching at Tufts, "The $100K" has always been a "must-attend" event often including my own students. This year made even more so with the official dedication next week of the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts.
Obviously, you have a fully booked day packed with zooms, sales discovery meetings and hopefully a deal closing or two, but if you have 30 minutes here and there, or just maybe a couple of hours, click on here and get a free registration for a virtual view.
Entrepreneurship for the rest of us
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that my family history for generations has been filled with entrepreneurs. My GGF left rural Vermont in 1860 at the age of 17 to "Go West". My grandfather left that same VT village at 22 to open his first retail stores in Harvard and Davis Squares. My father rebelled from the family business by beginning a jazz band on the vaudeville circuit until his father put his foot down saying "enough, you're working in the stores!", which our entire family did for decades.
Interestingly for me personally, the first time that I ever heard the word "entrepreneur" was not at BC, not in the Peace Corps and certainly never in my career at Becton Dickinson. It was not until I attended a lecture at the then tiny volunteer-led startup of the MIT Enterprise Forum that I first understood what the word meant. Becoming active myself as a volunteer and later as Chair of MITEF, I then began my love affair not just with the experiments of starting companies, but with understanding the science and the analytics of what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Years and years later, I think that I finally understand what it takes...I think!
- In excess of 90% of non-restaurant startups are not tech-based as a product or service
- Between 90% and 95% of startups fail
- Most failures occur within 4 years
- Only 0.05% of non-restaurant startups seek organized angel or venture capital
- 75% of those companies that received formal angel or venture funding fail
The bottom line is that succeeding in any startup is wicked difficult, but having said that, today there are extraordinary support mechanisms in every community and especially in major cities which house universities, medical centers and have a rich history of entrepreneurship. For any guidance, you can just connect with me...and countless others in Boston.
With that as background, I'm very excited about speaking on this theme I am developing on "Entrepreneurship for the rest of us" at next week's event being held by The Financial Executives International of Boston at their annual academic awards granting 10 scholarships to Juniors from area colleges and universities and recognizing an Outstanding Senior from each of the schools.
With that, I'm off to today's $100K", but one more Tufts-related request!
With this semester too-quickly winding down, I am already signing up companies for marketing projects for the fall. If you are interested in knowing more about this unique process which provides teams of six juniors and seniors to create detailed marketing plans over the period of the 13-week semester, just let me know, and I will send you an outline and the instructions.
IT'S TIME TO RE-FORECAST YOUR '22 SALES PLAN
As that infamous philosopher, Mike Tyson, once noted "no plan survives the first punch!". It's time this coming week to spend a day with the team and walk through the details of your entire tactical plan for Q2 and Q3.
Here's our 2022 guide to help or why not just connect with me anytime! There's no cost to a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about sales.
Tags: Tufts marketing projects, Tufts university, Tufts internships, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, social entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022businessplansuccess
Snowing heavily at 6:00 this morning out by the Vermont barn, as I'm sure it is wherever you are here in New England. Looks like 13-15" on the hill today, but unfortunately for me a packed day of sales calls and zooms. When it snows, I always worry about the mechanics of dealing with it even with three snowblowers at various houses and a superb plow service from the team at Homestead up the road a piece. It's just my normal belt and suspenders approach to way overthinking too many details.
Tags: entreprenurial, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, 2022 sales planning, 2022businessplansuccess
With the Olympics underway, what do you think?
As I listen to some people this week, the feedback I too often hear seems to focus on the surrounding negatives of Covid, the cost, the lack of attendance and the decline in viewership...all of these external factors which, in the real world of the athletes, have nothing to do with the extraordinary athleticism that is taking place.
I've had the privilege of teaching at MIT and Tufts for 20 and 15 years respectively. The experience...
- Blends in perfectly with my other passion of consulting in sales, marketing and business planning
- Reminds me of just how much I still do not know, and my requirement to be a life-long student
- Provides me with continuing opportunities to catch up with and engage my alums.
By the end of a normal Friday morning, the front of my brain would have heard, dissected and categorized some hundreds of ideas, and I would have figured out one thread of hopefully a meaningful subject to twist around my travels to Vermont, my teaching at Tufts or my working at the NH beach. This Friday is complicated by way too many jumbled "new normal" activities...not any different from any of you, I'm sure.
I've probably listened to, coached or presented in 10-20,000 presentations.
- Early volunteering and chairing the MIT Enterprise Forum, was my first love!
- Being involved in the leadership of 4 or 5 other entrepreneurship associations
- 20 years of teaching at MIT in early stage business planning
- 14 years of teaching at Tufts in entrepreneurial marketing and sales
- Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center & Cummings Professor of entrepreneurship
- 9 of my own startups-a few very good, some just ok, and some "what was I thinking?"
- A venture guy in three early stage venture firms and chairing Common Angels.
A couple of years ago, when we took over what has now been rebranded as the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, we knew we could most importantly take entrepreneurship to the next level at this extraordinary University with 10 of the highest ranking research schools in the country. We're really urgent, so we quickly moved ahead breaking more than a few rules along the way always focused on creating the absolute best student experience!
How many times a day, do we use the word "Team"?
Almost every email I send to my board members, my students, our faculty and the senior managers in our companies, starts with "Team".