Entrepreneurs, I know how hard you work to nurture your dreams. And I also understand how eager you are to share your ideas with the world. But for many of us, the risk involved and the “how do I's” can be overwhelming:
- How do I tell the world about my business?
- How do I meet other like-minded treps?
- How do I meet investors who might be interested in funding my company?
I'm pretty sure these kinds of questions cross every treps mind. Not knowing the answers might make you (and me) hesitant to take risks. But risk is really what entrepreneurs do best. For a lot of us, it's all or nothing. So recently, I decided to step out of my comfort zone when I heard about a one-day event in New York City called NY Tech Day.
Stay plugged in to learn about networking opportunities
I learned about this event #NYTechDay, via Twitter. I was intrigued and watched their video. It looked like a good way to network with investors, the media and potential customers. Then, when I learned it was affordable, I took the bait and signed up.
So that doesn't really sound very risky, I know. Signing up for a one-day event? What's the problem? Well first, let me tell you that my company, Kitu Kids, creates animated stories and games to help children learn about the world and spark their curiosity. Now, let me tell you that my first app was not ready to launch by the time NY Tech Day was set to take place.
But my gut told me not to miss this opportunity. My team is overseas and I was the founder, marketing, finance, operations; the all-in-one of a young start-up company. I admit I was a little bit nervous. Four hundred and fifty companies under one roof can be daunting to anyone.
The organizers made it clear to the exhibitors to be creative and be ourselves in our 8' x 8' space. I felt focused and knew I wanted to share my passion and why I am doing this. The challenge was to do so on a very tight budget. I started to look at my own home to see what I could use. This is what some call “bootstrapping”; for me it is to create wonder with as little as you can.
Use what you have
Picture frames on my wall, yes, they came with me; my kids' play-table, my kids' toy chest, they all joined me. My only two big “splurges” were fake green grass, (which now is an addition at our Brooklyn rooftop), and a nice computer screen which I bought the day before the show. Having had the opportunity to see other booths at other shows, I knew how important it was to professionally show your product on a big screen. I will tell you, that was the best $200.00 I have ever spent.
I had been nervous for a couple of weeks leading up to the event; but on the actual day, I woke up energized and ready to talk to anyone that would be interested in learning about Kitu Kids. I knew I would be meeting hundreds of people and would make meaningful connections that would help me on my entrepreneurial path.
Practicing your pitch makes perfect sense
The first key connection was Columbia University Teacher's College EdLab. I felt great validation by their interest and was invited to be interviewed for their “edupreneur” series. A true honor and a great forum to share my story while encouraging other entrepreneurs.
Delivering my pitch hundreds of times that day was extremely useful. I met investors, parents, teachers, lawyers and a graduate student who joined us as our summer intern. My favorite part was meeting the possible customers who made me wish I had my app already available. One of the best moments was when the security guard came over to learn about Kitu Kids and was so excited about getting the app for his children.
Entrepreneurs, I encourage you to open up and start sharing your story and product. I assure you, the road will be exciting and you never know who will come your way to support and encourage you validating your hard work.
Kitu stands for Knowledge, Imagination, Time, and Us! It began as a journey to connect with children through knowledge, play, and quality time. My strongest passion is learning; and for me, the world offers the most interesting stories in history, geography, and culture. A world that is special and full of excitement.
At Kitu Kids we believe the world is vibrant and we need to create opportunities for children to connect with each other through positive learning.
About Daniela Arredondo de Kehoe
With her company Kitu Kids, Daniela has achieved the dream of combining her passions for learning and entrepreneurship. Kitu Kids develops smartphone applications to help children ages 4 through 8 learn and connect with their parents through animated stories and games that transport their imaginations across geography, time, and cultures. Daniela has worked in the private and public sector, but being an entrepreneur is the experience she cherishes the most. Daniela worked for a Private Wealth Management Group, a Latin American Foundation led by world reknown Colombian singer Shakira, and the Mexican Health Ministry.
Born and raised in Mexico, Daniela earned a Law degree at ITESM Monterrey in 1998, and made New York her home after completing a Masters Degree in Public Management and Policy at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.
Connect with her on twitter at @d_arredondo.