Last week, Altar Live CEO Stephanie Leathe and COO, Andrew Amann, had the opportunity to speak at Open Coffee, a weekly startup story hour held at Gordon College through the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Open Coffee is designed to encourage young entrepreneurs to explore and learn about the opportunities and challenges that come with starting a business.
The conversation was led by Bri Rivera, a Gordon student and guest leader. It was a morning of rich conversation and Dunkin Donuts, while also being a full-circle moment for Stephanie, a Gordon College and CEL alum.
Andrew and Stephanie discussed all things Altar Live ranging from our mission to origin story. Then, they encouraged Gordon students to look at the broader scope: How do you come up with a good business idea? How does one learn to have the mind of an entrepreneur? Here are three helpful tips.
1. Acquire a diverse set of skills
Startups are like a team sport. The myth is that one person comes up with all the ideas and runs the whole thing. But in reality, it is essential for a startup to have a team of people who can ideate, challenge each other, and then execute - over and over again. When you find people who welcome brutal honesty and trust deeply, that’s where the magic happens.
2. Fall in love with your problem, not your solution
The key to starting a business is not coming up with the most amazing solution - it’s becoming an expert in the problem. No matter how the need evolves, you have to be adaptable, test assumptions, and step into your customers shoes. To truly meet a need, you yourself have to experience the problem you are trying to solve. It’s the hardest part of a startup, but if you can develop those muscles, you will inevitably succeed.
3. Be willing to start over
When starting a business, you constantly have to pose the question: “Are we focused on the right thing?”. The reality is, you will have to throw out things you’ve built, ideas, and processes multiple times as you learn what actually works. If you can’t let go of something when it’s not working, your startup will die.
Starting a business may seem daunting, but these tips can make your journey a little bit easier. Like most things in life, startups can only flourish after trial and error. Keep troubleshooting, posing questions, and maintaining adaptability.