WHAT NOT TO DO: ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Jeff Brown, assistant director of BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, has seen hundreds of students pass through his office. They are young and ambitious, hoping to develop their business ideas though the competitions, events, and mentoring services the center provides.

But Brown, who joined BYU in 2006, has also seen mistakes along the way. Here are the three biggest.

1. Knowing when and how to properly take investments

“Students aren’t always equipped to know who to take investments from and who not to take investments from,” Brown says. “We’ve seen students take investments from the wrong people or the wrong type of investment, and they end up getting burned.”

2. Team Composition

“Sometimes startups begin with four people with the same skill set; they’re all business development people,” Brown explains. “There’s no technical person and there’s no design person. You need an interdisciplinary team.

3. Ownership Issues

“Many times it’s much better for a startup to have one person own the majority of the company to really drive the company forward,” Brown says. “Sometimes people think, “Oh it’s all of our ideas,” and then they split it evenly. But then two teammates go off and have full-time jobs, but they’re still on the books as owning a large share of the company even though they aren’t involved anymore.”

That being said, many student-led ventures have found enormous success, Brown says. Companies such as Qualtrics and Omniture have gotten their start with the help of the Rollins Center as well as more recent ventures such as Simple Citizen, KT Tape, and Fiber Fix.

Click here for more information about the Rollins Center and its resources.