It’s easy to dream big.
Creating a real, marketable product from that idea is a different story.
“It’s important to understand your personal goal. What do you want to create in the world?” explains Justin Heacock, Entrepreneurship Center Coordinator at Florida Polytechnic University.
Giving students the tools and coaching they need to bring their ideas to market is central to Justin’s role at Florida Poly. Entrepreneurship is high priority for University leadership, and they’ve backed up that commitment by bringing on a team that works one-on-one with students and their inventions and invites high-profile industry leaders to campus for talks about their path to success.
This semester, for instance, Lighthouse Networks CEO Jared Isaacman shared his journey of starting a business in his parent’s basement that now processes $14 billion in credit card payments. Florida Poly students are on a trajectory to match that level of success. Logentix, for example, is an after-market product created by students that gives autonomous capabilities to existing vehicles. The team is in talks now with companies about updating their truck fleets with the product.
Justin advocates an evidence-based approach to developing ideas. This method is about validating or invalidating key assumptions of your business idea as fast and as cheap as possible before building a final product. Justin says this helps eliminate “building something no one wants, which is the number one reason why startups fail.”
“I teach students to get away from the mindset that start-ups are risky. You can test your idea for under $100. If it looks like it could work, then you can take it from there,” Justin says.
Of course, not every idea is a success, but that’s OK. It’s about learning and turning that knowledge into growth, according to Justin.
“The amount of knowledge you’re gaining is immense and it gives you breadth in understanding how the world works,” he says.