Babson Entrepreneur Experience Lab

Elements of the Entrepreneur Experience

Stories

Entrepreneurship Inside

Voice of the Entrepreneur

Over 400 video, audio and narrative stories from new venture entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs inside. Use the controls in the right sidebar to sort by entrepreneur type or entrepreneur experience element; or, add demographic filters to refine your results.

Bennett

Bennett talks about the difficulty of being an immigrant starting a business.

Bennett

President, BMaKK Group

Bennett talks about the difficulty of being an immigrant starting a business.

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Jessica

Jessica talks about connecting with people in the industry.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about connecting with people in the industry.

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Mark

Mark talks about entrepreneurs not having access to the "right" capital.

Mark

Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman, Hayneedle

Mark talks about entrepreneurs not having access to the "right" capital.

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Kamal

Kamal doesn’t feel like he has very many resources within his communities.

Kamal

Owner, Sublime Donuts

Kamal doesn’t feel like he has very many resources within his communities.

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Chris

Chris explains how not to taint relationships.

Keeping centered and maintaining perspective is huge! Without those elements you can go off the rails and lose clients and or people you rely on either by them leaving or tainting the relationship. If you handle things calmly then you almost always come out on top or at least get respect and maintain your relationships for the future.

Chris

CEO, Handcrafted shoe mfr., Family business

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Kamal

Without many support services, Kamal feels like he’s “on an island."

Kamal

Owner, Sublime Donuts

Without many support services, Kamal feels like he’s “on an island."

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Laura

Laura had a great network of supporters when she started her venture.

Laura

Founder, OneForty

Laura had a great network of supporters when she started her venture.

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Jeff

Jeff talks about uncertainty and enemies along his path.

Jeff

Reverend

Jeff talks about uncertainty and enemies along his path.

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Mike

After leaving Microsoft, Mike had to build a new business network from scratch.

Mike

Founder and Chairman, Front Seat

After leaving Microsoft, Mike had to build a new business network from scratch.

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Jessica

Jess describes the transition to a new space for her new role.

Jessica

Digital Storyteller, Nonprofit

Jess describes the transition to a new space for her new role.

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Bennett

Bennett almost lost a contract because a new client didn't "know him." However, his banker stepped in and saved the relationship.

Bennett

President, BMaKK Group

Bennett almost lost a contract because a new client didn't "know him." However, his banker stepped in and vouched for him and saved the contract.

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Diane

Diane has a proven track record, so she feels even if she had a lousy idea, she could get investor support.

Diane

President & CEO, Communispace

Diane has a proven track record, so she feels even if she had a lousy idea, she could get investor support.

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Tina

An incubator opened up a lot of networking doors for Tina.

Tina

President and CEO, PetsMD

An incubator opened up a lot of networking doors for Tina.

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Mike

Mike talks about the downfall of so many opinions being counteractive towards forward progress.

Mike

Member of Media Working Group, Self-Organizing

Mike talks about the downfall of so many opinions being counteractive towards forward progress.

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Jessica

Jessica talks about managing conflict.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about managing conflict.

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Danielle

Danielle describes her role within the organization.

Danielle

University President, Nonprofit

Danielle describes her role within the organization.

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Nathaniel

Nathaniel talks about some required skills for entrepreneurs inside.

Compassion, strong listening skills, authentic communication styles are some required resources change agents need when they encounter resistance. Some important questions to ask: What is the resistor really communicating by their actions or lack thereof? What do they need?  How can their strengths feed the change you are proposing? What changes can you make to your plan/model/innovation that accommodates them?

Nathaniel

Ind. Consultant/Strategist, Self-organizing

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Rachel

Rachel talks about the push back she gets from others.

Whenever I've proposed a new way of thinking, I feel like the first response from institutional folks is a naysayer's voice -- I've heard why my idea is defective, disrespectful to those who have come before me, etc.  But, when I've achieved success, some of those same folks are eager to claim me as their own, celebrate my creativity and hold me up as the poster child for their institutions.  Hmmm....

Rachel

Rabbi/Founder, Religious org.

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Startup Chicks

Being part of a particular group can have a cascading effect on social networks and access to resources.

Startup Chicks

Being part of a particular group can have a cascading effect on social networks and access to resources.

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Emily

Emily talks about navigating social situations.

The primary thing I would share is the risk of social capital and credibility. In trying to make change within an existing organization rife with long-standing personalities, your idea might fail, not because it was poor, but because change (period.) was going to be resisted by folks already in the organization. In order to ensure success in light of this reality, you are going to spend an intense amount of your time navigating social situations - more than most would expect (and definitely more than I expected). For someone that gets great satisfaction out of "doing" and "making" - this can be crushing and make you feel as though you are spinning your wheels. Those are times when I almost give up - which brings me to understand success as a constant that exists until you quit.

Emily

Exec. Dir., Co-op support and education, Nonprofit

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Jimmy

Winning a local competition that came with a relatively small investment was enough to really get Jimmy's second company off the ground.

Jimmy

Chief Architect, Rockdex

Winning a local competition that came with a relatively small investment was enough to really get Jimmy's second company off the ground.

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Alex

Alex found that having social "capital" is vital to his business.

Alex

Student, Babson College

Alex found that having social "capital" is vital to his business.

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Jessica

Jessica talks about being aware of your relationships with others.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about being aware of your relationships with others.

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Meg

Meg talks about the importance of community.

Meg

Founder, Maternova

Meg talks about the importance of community; mainly the importance of her investment community.

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Jonah

Jonah talks about bring an idea forward.

Jonah

Founder & Worker-Owner, Cooperative

Jonah talks about bring an idea forward.

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Bennett

As an immigrant, Bennett does not have access to many of the social networks and relationships he might otherwise have.

Bennett

President, BMaKK Group

As an immigrant, Bennett does not have access to many of the social networks and relationships he might otherwise have.

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Peter

Peter's experience on what happens when you succeed.

If successful in your efforts or at least stepping up and taking risks to explore new ventures, you'll gain visibility from senior management and key people from across the organization.  Collaborating across the organization will be valuable in sharing ideas, challenges, and learning more about others' projects, skills, and opportunities.  You may be sought out for future efforts.

Peter

Principal Econ. Business Analyst, Govt.

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Robin

Robin gives advice on not being afraid to switch jobs.

One thing that I would recommend is to get experience and don't be afraid to change jobs, either within your organization or outside. First, you will learn a lot from each new experience and organization and second, by changing jobs, no one remembers how you may have messed up in the past.

Robin

Sr. Vice President, Investment co.

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Rich

Rich feels he can't get to where he wants to be alone.

Rich

Founder, BigStove

Rich feels he can't get to where he wants to be alone.

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Diane

Diane talks about not having role models to follow when she decided to start her venture.

Diane

President & CEO, Communispace

Diane talks about not having role models to follow when she decided to start her venture.

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Amy

Amy explains how she goes into meetings prepared.

[I agree with] ‘always [coming] armed with a solution to the issue you are addressing.' I couldn't agree more. I think the more effort I put into those important meetings beforehand, really thinking through how the conversations will play out. It helps me get to 'yes'. Related, my organization is governed by a Board of Directors, and I have learned the hard way, to never put an issue to a vote, unless I'm positive I know what the outcome will be- it's not quite opposition research, but I think the ability to anticipate is an undervalued skill.

Amy

Special Projects Manager, Public Transit, Govt. agency

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Scott

Scott talks about having a strong social network while maintaining innovative operations.

Scott

VP, Prevention & Wellness, Health Insurance Company

Scott talks about having a strong social network while maintaining innovative operations.

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Nathaniel

Nathaniel talks about the importance of "people power."

I love developing and implementing strategies that leverage social capital – community, collaboration, and partnership – in other words: people power... Organizations can be powerful structures for coordinating collective action, but in a networked age, they need to radically adjust their practices. Intrapreneurs understand this and develop a strategy for innovating within organizational contexts.

Nathaniel

Ind. Consultant/Strategist, Self-organizing

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Peter

Peter talks about leveraging social networks outside of his organization.

My efforts to challenge the government bureaucracy and personal intrapreneur efforts are related. Connecting with people across the organization, industry, and thought leaders in other industries. Leveraging Twitter, LinkedIn, and other websites has been invaluable for collaborating to generate ideas, mature strategies, and implement solutions. Breaking out of the standard roles and org chart communication channels has helped me. Transitioning from the strict command and control org structures to a more dynamic model with self organizing teams, leveraging the web to collaborate, and crowdsourcing solutions and innovations.

Peter

Principal Econ. Business Analyst, Govt.

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Mark

Mark describes his technique in increasing his social network.

I think it’s my job to get others to see the misalignment [of goals]. It's a real world social networking challenge. The hierarchy is a chain of command but it doesn't mean you can't (or shouldn't) talk to more senior people. I find opportunities to meet the execs. I go to company wide meetings. I make a point of asking questions. I stay after the meeting and I try to get a moment to talk to the presenter. Often the speakers are VP's or EVP's. Be genuine. Be direct. Don't go in with an agenda to circumvent. Meet and greet to know and be known. Sometimes I'm turned off by the person, sometimes I end up on a committee and sometimes I just put myself out there so they know where to find me. After you do all that, report back to your peers, your manager or anyone that might find what you learned relevant. Become a conduit for positive information flow in both directions. It takes time and patience.

Mark

Advisory Software Engineer, Corporation

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Jessica

Jessica describes mapping her relationships with people with each project.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica describes mapping her relationships with people with each project.

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Jamien

Jamien discusses keeping everything in writing for clarity for herself, and clients.

Jamien

Owner, Small Business Support, Corporation

Jamien discusses keeping everything in writing for clarity for herself, and clients.

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Scott

Scott talks about "embracing the unbelievers."

Scott

VP, Prevention & Wellness, Health Insurance Company

Scott talks about "embracing the unbelievers."

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Brian

Brian talks about the importance of micro-networks from accelerator programs.

Brian

Co-Founder, Gazehawk

Brian talks about the importance of micro-networks from accelerator programs.

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Jessica

Jessica talks about risking her relationships with others in her role.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about risking her relationships with others in her role.

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Scott

Scott talks about risks of being in his position within an organization.

Scott

VP, Prevention & Wellness, Health Insurance Company

Scott talks about risks of being in his position within an organization.

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Jessica

Jessica talks about her shift in roles within the organization.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about her shift in roles within the organization.

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Jamien

Jamien discusses the requirements she created for herself when starting her organization.

Jamien

Owner, Small Business Support, Corporation

Jamien discusses the requirements she created for herself when starting her organization.

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Scott

Scott describes his process of moving concepts forward.

Scott

VP, Prevention & Wellness, Health Insurance Company

Scott describes his process of moving concepts forward.

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Janis

Janis talks about entrepreneurship for different ethnic groups.

Janis

Founder and Managing Partner, Paladin Partners

Janis talks about entrepreneurship for different ethnic groups.

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Ed

Ed always looks for opportunities to increase chance of buy-in from others.

Always look for opportunities and always consider meeting someone, as an opportunity to gain buy-in, or an opportunity for future collaboration. I would never close any door and wouldn't deny inviting any kind of social capital into the project or long run. An interaction or event may not be useful for your business, but could potentially be useful for your larger organization's business.

Ed

Research Analyst, Higher Education, Coalition

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Patty

Patty talks about risking credibility.

Because you have to be willing to take risks without proven results, which is often difficult if not impossible for "if is not broken, don't fix it" types to understand, you do put your credibility on the line. And you put other's faith in you on the line. And you put potential future backing by the organization on the line, if your idea does not pan out.

Patty

Comm. & Dev. Director, Nonprofit

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Brian

Brian talks about the value of Y-Combinator.

Brian

Co-Founder, Gazehawk

Brian talks about the value of Y-Combinator.

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Jessica

Jessica discusses striking a balance between pushing ideas and maintaining relationships.

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica discusses striking a balance between pushing ideas and maintaining relationships.

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Christine

Christine talks about having the ability to listen.

The biggest skill is the ability to listen -- not just hear what people tell you, but to read between the lines and understand what they're saying and NOT saying.

Christine

VP, Global Council Mgr., Corporation

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Jessica

Jessica talks about not being afraid to "ruffle some feathers."

Jessica

VP of Strategy, Planning, & Special Projects, Non-profit

Jessica talks about not being afraid to "ruffle some feathers."

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Eileen

From the very beginning Eileen was a building a team – the so-called kitchen cabinet – and leveraging her social networks to develop the business model.

Eileen

Founder, President & CEO, Blurb

From the very beginning Eileen was a building a team – the so-called kitchen cabinet – and leveraging her social networks to develop the business model.

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Emily

Emily gives advice on how to maintain social capital.

You maintain social capital in two big ways - 1) by communicating about your intentions and visions to folks in curated ways - telling everyone the A to Z of your entire plan is not wise. You must read people and give them the amount and type of information that will make them feel involved, considered, and informed (even if they really aren't that much); and 2) by not failing.

Emily

Exec. Dir., Co-op support and education, Nonprofit

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Sabrina

Sabrina feels it is important to have champions in your life.

Sabrina

Grant Writer, 1221 Grant Services

Sabrina feels it is important to have champions in your life.

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