The lady entrepreneurs of PBC
There are two key mentalities that I’ve found to have an immediate and profound impact on succeeding as an entrepreneur: “give first, then take” and “be the last man standing.”
Last week, I attended Patriot Boot Camp (PBC), a conference for veteran entrepreneurs that takes place in Denver, Colorado. From the moment I walked into the SendGrid office that first morning, I knew this entrepreneurship conference was different from any other one I’ve attended.
The general format of the conference was the same: guest speakers, a plethora of sessions on all areas of business development, and 30 minute meetings with mentors. But what made Patriot Boot Camp light years different is their mission to help veteran entrepreneurs succeed. I’m sure that’s the mission of many conferences, but actions speak louder than words, and PBC exuded that mission in every respect.
David Brown and Chris Moody answer pressing questions about investing in startups
Startup life is far from glamorous. The highs are exhilarating and daily bumps and bruises are a way of life, but every now and then you’ll run into challenges that feel akin to a devastating blow to the gut. It’s critical for company leaders to stay focused on what really matters during these times, in order for the company to persevere. And in order to persevere, you need a family to help you through it.
In the military we are taught to adapt and overcome, and that team is mission critical. Bad situations are inevitable, but knowing you ALWAYS have a support system to get you through it is what keeps you going.
And in my mind, that’s what PBC’s real mission is: to create a TRUE FAMILY; not a distant cousin you talk to every 5 years, but a true support network. One that gives you solid advice, even if it’s unsolicited; one that makes introductions to VCs, angels, and clients without being asked; one that goes out of their way to give YOU help first, before asking for help themselves.
Being a true family is a core value of our team, and it was empowering going to PBC and feeling like our family grew from 4 to 60 within an hour of arriving. Every entrepreneur and mentor we spoke to wanted to hear about what crazy idea we’ve concocted and how could they help. What intros could they make? What resources do we need that they could offer?
Speaking of solid advice that family gives you, here are a few things I learned through PBC.
1. My elevator pitch sucked going into PBC
First thing Friday morning David Mandell talked to all of us about pitching properly. His statement that stuck with me the most was, “Nobody gives a sh*t what you do…until you show them why they should.” Thank you David for pointing out that harsh reality. You gave me exactly 48 hours to bang my head into a wall, repeatedly, thinking about how to properly pitch our technology (just kidding on the head banging part).
David Mandell and Rockin’ The Pitch
My greatest challenge was how to explain such a complex technology in a captivating way. If it weren’t for our mentor Mike Nichols helping me restructure my entire pitch in 30 minutes, I would’ve put everyone to sleep at the pitch competition on Sunday.
2. The B2B sales equation
Dave Drach took us through the step-by-step process of this equation: from knowing the roles of the champion, buyer, money, and coach, to scaling the “Wall of No” through joint success plans, to making it through the “Valley of Legal Woe” with simple term sheets. Thank you for helping us understand every minute detail that is necessary for mastering the equation.
3. Seeking product-market fit through email marketing
I’ve done an exorbitant amount of email marketing research, but Tony Blank blew me away with various tactics to validate product-market fit through email marketing; ones that never crossed my mind before.
The engagement and mentorship that I experienced with everyone at PBC days 1-2, ensured I was ready and confident when pitching in front of 150 people during the pitch competition.
Here’s me, Rockin’ The Pitch
As we get ready to raise capital, I know that all the lessons I learned and relationships I made at PBC prepared me in more ways than I can express.
And as we said our goodbyes on Sunday evening, I was not only motivated and inspired, but also empowered . I knew that I made 60 new additions to my family and couldn’t wait to help each other succeed.
Thank you Charlotte Creech, Taylor McLemore, and everyone else that had a role to play in making Patriot Boot Camp possible. You will always have a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to come back next year as a mentor for other veteran entrepreneurs.