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When considering the optimal number of founders for any new entrepreneurial adventure, the calculus extends well beyond simple formulas seemingly supported by observations of startup cohorts within specific industries. Famous technology twosomes that come to mind include David Packard and William Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple, Paul Allen and Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google. In these examples, it is widely observed that these buddy teams complemented each other well in the early formative years of their companies.
Strategic words are out. Personal search is in. This week, the Kauffman Foundation held a seminar on "Online Branding for Startups" with help from Mark Traphagen of Virante, a SEO marketing firm out of Durham, N.C. I learned a number of things in the hours we discussed branding with entrepreneurs and Kauffman associates, but here are my top four takeaways.
Even with the most intuitive educational material, sometimes the most important thing a students needs is the ability to ask questions. For entrepreneurs, who are often lifelong learners, this is essential to the application of the material to their business. While online learning can facilitate opportunities to learn lessons anytime, anywhere that might not otherwise be available, the opportunity to engage directly with experts creates important connections and discussions.
Stanford Technology Ventures Program's Executive Director Tina Seelig shares rich insights in creative thinking and the entrepreneurial mindset. Her talk, based on her 2009 book, <em>What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20</em>, cites numerous classroom successes of applied problem-solving and the lessons of failure.
Giving back to the community-and engaging one-on-one with charitable operatives, the press, and other local constituencies-enables small businesses to increase exposure at little cost, says the founder of a national moving franchiser.
Many founders have cited the importance of access to mentoring and coaching that the peer-to-peer organizations, as well as industry groups, Chambers of Commerce, and trade associations, have provided for them.
Writing, advising, lecturing - for Andrew Sherman, it's all about educating entrepreneurs.
For entrepreneurial companies and their established counterparts, joint ventures and strategic alliances bring mutual benefits that each would otherwise be unable to achieve independently.
Small and growing companies are discovering lucrative new markets abroad. Developing countries are importing products, tech know-how and system support and offering franchising, licensing and distribution opportunities. If your company is expanding abroad, you need to know what you're getting into.
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