Disruptive. Authenticity. Passion. Define a problem and solve it. These were the top phrases heard at this week's Forbes Under 30 Summit.
Many of the innovators present were known in their fields as "disruptors." They were people who had a business idea and model that was totally outside the norm in their industry. They were able to create a new way of doing something that really revolutionized or transformed a way of living or doing business. It's hard to imagine that every new business can be a disruptor, but those that succeed in breaking through to new paradigms are handsomely rewarded by the market.
Authenticity was a word used by almost every entrepreneur that spoke. Afrojack, pictured in the interview above, discussed how he manages crowds of thousands during his DJ shows. He said the audience has to see and feel your passion. In other words, you need to authentically love what you are doing, or people will see through you. Authenticity naturally leads into.....
...passion. It's very difficult to develop a concept or business without passion. As I can attest first-hand, it's much more difficult to wake up every day and run a business you don't truly love than it is to work as an employee at a job you hate. You have to have passion and love what you do. Starting and running a business requires so much energy, so much time and so much money, that you simply cannot do it without love.
Finally, a great business finds a problem and aims to solve it. Sara Blakely, the billionaire owner of Spanx, talked about needing underwear that looked good under white pants. Finding a huge gap in the market between thongs and pantyhose, Blakely invented an entirely new industry that became known as shapewear simply by chopping the legs off an existing pair of pantyhose. Palmer Luckey, inventor of the Oculous Rift, a virtual reality device bought by Facebook for a few Billion dollars, described how his invention resulted from a dearth of quality and affordable devices in the virtual gaming space.
If you're starting a business, it's worth considering whether you are 1) disrupting an existing industry; 2) being authentic; 3) are passionate about your idea; and 4) are solving an existing problem. If you can manage all four of these, you have a huge chance at success and maybe you will be speaking at next year's Under 30 Summit.
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way.