I used to think that if you have a great idea, you can be successful. That’s all it took. Something original that solved a problem that everyone wanted to get their hands on, something that made life easier. In theory, yes. After all, the foundation of a startup did start with identifying a problem and creating the solution. However, what followed threw me for a loop.
Of course, anyone can imagine there is significant work to be done when starting a company. But after studying startups, successes and failures, you start to realize that you have to be prepared for absolutely anything. There are so many challenges that can arise. As driven and tenacious as you might be, it is impossible to take on every task of a startup on your own. I mean, hey, there are moments when I feel like I can take on the world. But, I never hesitate to ask for help and that’s how startups pretty much have to function. You can’t hesitate to enlist a team to delegate tasks.
There is so much that goes into creating a business. You have to create the product or content, manage it regularly, deploy marketing efforts (digital, print, radio, etc.), track the results whether it be through ad campaigns or revenue in general, alter messaging to generate results, the list goes on and on.
Through this class, I’ve learned that I don’t have a desire to create a startup…and that’s okay. I have learned things about myself and although creating a startup doesn’t interest me, partaking in one does. Being on a team of a business in its infancy definitely appeals to me. I love the idea of being a part of something bigger and being a part of the process of building something from the ground up.
I guess you could consider the job that I am in currently a startup, perhaps not by most peoples standards. Although Spartan Net did start out in 2001, I am still able to partake in the process of expansion. We have been so concentrated in the East Lansing market that our recent expansion to Grand Rapids has been a large undertaking and a pivotal point for the business. It has allowed us to now explore other future expansion opportunities and my digital marketing efforts are at the forefront.
Our growth was organic for a long time and our marketing efforts have really only taken off in the past couple of years. Being able to contribute in this process has proven to be extremely fulfilling so I could very much see myself on the team of a startup. Creating the content, the ad campaigns, the marketing material… all of that is done on a small scale when a business is starting up. So responsibilities taken on by team members are more likely to go live whereas at a larger, more established company, it would take awhile or possibly never reach the point of going live.
I found that this class was valuable because of the people that we were able to come in contact with and learn from. Listening to podcasts from various entrepreneurs allowed me to assess their journey and learn from their mistakes and successes. This also held true with our trip to Detroit. This was by far my favorite part of the course. Meeting and talking with the people who continue to make a conscious effort to revive the city of Detroit was an incredible opportunity.
They were so open and honest and shared how they got their start. They told us about their failures, what worked for them, what didn’t, and having that opportunity to ask our questions to these people who have been through this already, was so valuable to me. I not only found valuable insights through this but also inspiration.
Although I have decided that creating a startup isn’t for me, I was able to learn so much to take with me as I continue on in my career in digital marketing. In addition to this, I loved conducting the Q & A with a professional in the field that we wanted to pursue. I chose to interview a digital marketing manager at a global company. Why? Because one day, that’s exactly where I hope to be…leading digital marketing efforts on a global scale.
She gave me insights on how she has found success, how she rolls with the constant shifts in technology, what tools and tactics she uses to generate the most results, and how she has mastered managing all of these responsibilities and done it well. These are all things that I will take with me in my career.
The connections that I made and opportunities that I had are what made this class worthwhile. I found that I was constantly engaged in the material because this was not just for a letter grade that I can boast about the friends and family; it’s skills and knowledge that will follow me after my college career ends. So as I walk across that stage in two days, I feel prepared to utilize what I’ve learned and create my own story of successes and failures that hopefully I’ll be able to share with others in years to come.