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Jennifer Perez

3 Things We Learned from Sharon Chen of America’s Startup

May 13 2014, 06:00 AM by

Heart of Business


Our latest Heart of Business guest, Sharon Chen, is no stranger to startups. With a background in finance and investment banking, and a business-owning family, she was practically born to do something special in the world of entrepreneurship.

Enter America’s Startup. America’s Startup is Chen’s shot at creating a reality show about hungry entrepreneurs. The show will not only seek out and highlight the best new potential startups, but crowdfund the winners on the show.

After speaking with Chen about her vision for America’s Startup, as well as her plans to start entrepreneur-focused expos across the country, here’s what we learned:

Good business habits will stay with you forever
When Chen was growing up, she saw how her parents poured everything they had into their business. Building the largest independent pharmacy in Tucson, Arizona, their hard work not only paid for college and living expenses for Chen and her siblings, it gave Chen a lifelong sense of admiration for the business owner. To this day, her parents count as a huge inspiration for America’s Startup, and their “do whatever it takes” mantra has changed Chen’s entire outlook on running a small business.
Great startups need visibility just as much as money
With thousands of startups being born each year, but a lot less actually succeeding, many people assume that all startups need is money. Not true. According to Chen, one of the biggest gifts you can give a hardworking entrepreneur is visibility. It’s a basic notion that money = success in the startup world, but many entrepreneurs can get funds if they can at least get the visibility they need.
Always go back to your core reason for doing things
As Chen assembles a string of startup expos across the country, she’s often gotten lost in spreadsheets and calculations over what to pay for next. Her parents, seeing her struggle to make everything fit, told her “Don’t get bogged down by the numbers. Your numbers will work, as long as you remember why you’re doing this.” This simple, elegant piece of advice comes into play whenever Chen feels like she’s focusing too hard on numbers and forgetting the Big Picture.

Starting a reality show and hosting conventions throughout the country is a tall order, but Chen has both the chops and imagination to make it all happen. For solid advice on how to run your startup, or extremely useful tips on running a small business, Chen’s Heart of Business episode is a 100% must-listen.

Posted in Benchmark Series & Contests, Heart of Business

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