Taking Advantage of Resources
Starting a business isn't easy. You don't know where to turn and have very few resources at this point. I ran into this problem, especially when trying to start a business in college.
DELU is a physical product. It is a tailgate type game. It combines elements of cornhole, skeeball, washers, golf, and fun into one fun game. The game wasn't created to be a business, rather the business idea came after everyone who played the game loved it. I have always had a desire to be an entrepreneur and I love having this game be the product I am bringing to market.
I knew nothing about starting a business with a physical product. They don't teach you that in class. I started my long start up journey freshman year, but didn't really dive in until my sophomore year. There were a few entrepreneur resources on the UW Madison campus (where I go to school) that I explored, but none seemed relevant, so I kept searching.
In my search I stumbled upon the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic. This is an amazing resource. Law students help area entrepreneurs. It is a win-win. The students get real world practice and the entrepreneurs get free (and high quality) legal help. I couldn't be happier that I found this, especially when I have little capital to work with and can't pay for a lawyer. My student was great and helped a lot. This fantastic resource led me to MERLIN Mentors, which their website states: "The Madison Entrepreneur Resource, Learning and Innovation Network (MERLIN) is a Madison-based group of volunteers who have masterfully started and managed new ventures. These mentors use their skills, experience and enthusiasm to guide emerging entrepreneurs in early stage ventures to boost the potential of business success."
I presented to some of the group and accepted me. I was paired with a few mentors and they have been excellent. I am still working with them today and they have helped me so much. I have little business experience, these people have a lot. I can ask them any question and they will do the best they can to help me out or find me someone who can. I run my thoughts and plans by them and they help guide me and provide lots of advice. I am grateful to be a part of this program and be able to work with the mentors I have. They led me to Madworks, a business accelerator program.
Madworks is what got me off the ground. It was a great 10 week program over the summer where I got to talk with more mentors that also guided me. They critiqued me and pushed me to think outside the box. It was another wonderful group of people, all willing to take time out of their day to help entrepreneurs. We also learned a lot about the small details of starting a business that I haven't come across or thought about. It was a wonderful program that started pushing me to make moves and get the game rolling. At the end of the program we got a small grant, which is being put to good use and is also helping the business get off the ground.
Lastly I have made a great contact. One day I reached out to the creator of QB54 (https://playqb54.com/), another tailgate game. I had a question about his boxes, so I sent him an Instagram message. He was extremely willing to help me out with that. He said if I had other questions I could just shoot him a message. I have asked him many questions and he has been super helpful with everything. This is a connection that was on a whim, but a great connection.
Who knows where this will take me next, but I am excited to find out. You can't make this journey alone. There are so many resources out there for entrepreneurs. Find the ones that are relevant to you and make the most of them.
See our DELU Success page for more information on some of the resources I have used so far!