A Delicious Pill to Swallow: Hard Work


David Cook, beloved serial entrepreneur who's latest acquisition of the Aspen Daily News (which gives  him serious street cred in our community), taught the Art of Pitching on Wednesday afternoon. Lots can be said on the subject of rainmaking, but David left me thinking about the current waters in which startup founders swim. Although deep pools of investor capital exist, it's more challenging than ever to hit a wellspring that keeps your company afloat while nailing down product market fit.  

In reviewing key elements which may compel a funder to pull out their checkbook, David emphasized the extreme value of knowing exactly what makes your company special, or in business school terms - your unique selling proposition. Yes, there's market opportunity and it's size, the revenue model, go-to-market strategy... but, in fairness to the person we're asking to part with their cold hard cash, can't many other smart people determine viable solutions to the problems we're solving as entrepreneurs? Which brings me back to Mr. Cook's challenge to us: why you? What is the one thing your company brings to the table that no one else can? 

As early stage entrepreneurs, we may not have the exact and or correct answer to the USP question. However, the commitment to our "Why" (see Simon Sinek's TedTalk) allows us to stay in passionate pursuit until we discover that magical ingredient that makes us the only ones in which to invest. David left us with this truth, which I believe one's reaction to speaks volumes: there is no substitute for hard work. If this sounds like a delicious pill to swallow, come join our entrepreneur community, you'll feel right at home. 


Julie Engels
Executive Director of AE