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A few weeks ago, I attended Idaho Startup Weekend. Startup weekend is a 54-hour adventure where teams of technical and non-technical people get together to concept and build new businesses. These weekends are held in over 100 cities throughout the world. Although most of the business concepts are web and technology-focused, it occurred to me, many existing small businesses could benefit from a similar exercise. 

Two key Startup Weekend “learnings” for already-formed small businesses:  

1)      You can do a LOT in 54 hours (or even 24 hours). Take one weekend, gather the best and brightest people you know from various fields, and focus on your business and business growth.  When a smart group of people focus on one problem/challenge (food and beverages add to the fun) for a defined set of time, amazing things can be accomplished.

2)      Don’t be afraid to QUICKLY reach out (and I mean “real time” quickly) to more experts. For our start-up weekend team, we needed a mobile application developer and a graphic artist. We sent out requests via twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, plus made a few phone calls. Within minutes (no exaggeration) we had resources available. If you get to a point in your weekend work session where you have a legal, financial, technical, marketing, or other question…have everyone tap their networks. Resources are out there, and they are actually quite willing to help. There is a camaraderie and community built within these types of exercises. 

Lastly, this is somewhat obvious, but worth stating– remember to end your weekend session with an action plan or at a minimum “next steps.” It’s easy to be excited and motivated after a focused period of planning and teamwork; it’s harder to maintain the momentum when everyone goes back to their day-to-day routines. 

10 minute action

Obviously, a weekend session (dare I call it a retreat?) requires more than 10 minutes. But, take 10 minutes to think if this type of exercise would help you in growing your business or overcoming a current business challenge.

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