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Student Start-Up Advice (via Twitter!)

Last week was Global Social Media Week and as our home city of Glasgow was one of the twelve cities hosting the event, SIE decided to participate by facilitating a Q&A session on Twitter. Our aim was to ‘crowdsource’ advice that would be useful for new businesses, tapping into SIE’s tremendously supportive twitter followers.

We approached the event with trepidation, half expecting to have a conversation with ourselves. However we needn’t have worried. Throughout the hours leading up to our on-line event, there was a flurry of anticipatory tweets using our hashtag #SMWSIE, and it seemed like people were looking forward to our live session.

Over the two hour session, the #SMWSIE hashtag was used 181 tweets, as comments and responses to our questions flew across the twitterverse. We were even trending! The numbers were  fantastic, but the quality of responses were what made the whole experience really valuable, and we will definitely be repeating the exercise on a regular basis.

I’ve listed the questions below, and summarised the responses so that everyone can benefit from the great advice we got. Huge thanks to all that took part in the event, too many to mention here. More blog posts will follow, featuring some great comments. It’s fantastic how much can be shared in just 140 characters.

Question 1: What makes an idea a good business idea?

The common thread to the responses were to have a viable idea, that did not have to be unique but had to be well executed. Passion for your business idea was considered to be absolutely essential. Oh, and it ought to be a team game!

Question 2: Once someone has an idea, what should their first steps be?

Some great advice here! Start by writing it down, but don’t worry about producing a fully detailed business plan at this stage. Then test your idea on as many people as possible, don’t rely on family and friends who may not want to give you a less than encouraging response. Research, network, plan, research, test it out…

Question 3: Does anyone have any tips or advice for funding a student start-up?

There were plenty of ideas here, demonstrating that lack of cash does not stop a true entrepreneur! There are plenty of free business tools for start-ups, and many people are willing to help out in practical ways. Sharing resources with others can reduce costs, and business competitions are a great way of winning some cash.  

Question 4: Can you grow your new business without sacrificing control?

The consensus here was that, unless you plan to stay very small, eventually you will have to pass some of the responsibility for the business to others – and that is a good thing. 

Final words of wisdom from our great twitter participants
  • Just go for it. Running your business is an entrepreneurial rollercoaster, full of thrills and spills, an incredible journey via @tartancat
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be afraid to make a mistake, do be passionate and surround yourself with top talent via @bloomvc
  • Have fun. Enjoy what you do. Work hard. Help others when you can. And above all, be honest with yourself and everyone else, always via @tartancat (she’s awesome!!!)


6 responses to “Student Start-Up Advice (via Twitter!)

  1. If you want inspiration: Good to Great by Jim Collins and Richard Branson’s Business Stripped Bare will do the job!

    “The New Business Road Test” – what to do before writing a business plan. We were recommended this book at SIE bootcamp 2010, and it’s brilliant!

    Also Re. question 2, sure talk about your business idea, but if it’s an invention, just keep the “magic” part to yourself. just talk about the benefits of your product, and not how it gives those benefits.

    Enjoy yourself, and just go for it. The worst that can happen is you vastly improve your CV!