Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Special 'Guest' Post: Why The HuB Works

As mentioned in prior posts, Fast Pitch, Inc. has its headquarters located at The HuB - a creative incubator located in the Rosemary District of downtown Sarasota. The HuB was launched by Fast Pitch Co-Founder, Rich Swier about two years ago in an effort to bring together what he calls 'the creative class' of Sarasota.
Rich recently posted to his own blog - which I've decided to copy/paste below for your own reading pleasure. This particular post does a nice job of not only giving you some insight into the culture in which Fast Pitch operates, but also some of the philosophy I share with Rich about how to start and manage a business. Enjoy.
A little over two years ago I came up with the idea of the HuB. At the time - it was more of a philosophy than an idea. I certainly did not have a plan - in fact that was the "plan" - NOT to have one. For years, as an entrepreneur and also as an angel investor it seemed like I spent 80% of my time writing a plan or reviewing a plan. And as much I would like to believe you can plan your way to success... I am almost certain that the time we spend on planning is not just overrated, but completely a waste of time.
Before I go into the basic principles of my argument, let me give you some background into the HuB. Before I started the HuB, I spent a lot of time with entrepreneurs developing their ideas, businesses and eventually watching them succeed or fail. I started to see a trend forming over the years. The trend is not scientific, but it is certainly recognizable (perhaps more in a gut feeling) when working with entrepreneurs. I use the word "momentum" a lot when describing why a venture is successful, but more important than momentum is the creativity of the entrepreneur. It was this aspect that I decided to focus on when starting the HuB - CREATIVITY.
I wanted to build a community that embraced creativity over and above any other aspect to building businesses (or for that matter building communities). In order to do this - I knew we have to embrace the creative process when developing the HuB - which meant embracing these basic principles:
1. GROW ORGANICALLY - This principal is a difficult one to explain to an entrepreneur (and especially an investor). Essentially, what we demand is that a business grow organically without the assistance of unnecessary (manufactured) capital. We realize every venture requires capital to start and grow, but we believe it can destroy a business quicker than any other factor. It is critical for anything to grow at it's own natural pace, and only leverage capital when it is based on demand (e.g. new customers, need new product designs, etc) and NOT on some manufactured plan and spreadsheet projecting growth on no real factual data. Many people call this bootstrapping or starting out of your "garage", which I tend to agree with - but its also speaks to the idea that "plans are useless".
2. BE CREATIVE - This is the core principal of the HuB. Too many entrepreneurs focus on the wrong aspects of their business, and instead of being creative on how they can get a product to market - they tend to find themselves in a holding pattern waiting on an investor or taking too long to develop the perfect version of their product. Anytime we look at a business opportunity, we ask the question - "How can we make this idea happen with the resources we have right now?". If the answer is "We can't" - then it forces us to be creative. We find new paths to make the idea happen. Sometimes we can't and we abandon the idea... but many times we do find alternate paths. Entrepreneurs who are creative will succeed. Unfortunately when we demand entrepreneurs spend countless hours developing a plan - they feel like they can't be creative once the plan is written down - and thus - this typically leads to failure. Don't plan. Be Creative.
3. EVERYONE IS AN ENTREPRENEUR - What makes the HuB different than a tech-incubator, a university or even a start up company - is that we want to create entrepreneurs. We don't want employees. This is a challenge, because most people are programmed to look for a "job" - not to create one. Every person who works at the HuB is an entrepreneur. This is not an easy thing to accept if they have had a job all their life. There is a big difference between having a paycheck and manager - to being 100% responsible for the success of your venture each and every day.
It is these three principles that have been the reason I feel the HuB has been so successful. We embrace the chaos knowing that it is part of the process. Everytime a new creative entrepreneur joins the HuB we expect things to change and we hope it adds another element of energy and excitement for everyone else.
The great thing about NOT having a plan.... is every day is unexpected. And that is the way it should be for an entrepreneur



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