Before coming to Launch, many students ask if they should be coming with or may bring in their own established idea or company. There is no correct answer to this but there are some things to keep in mind when weighing your options.
Entrepreneurship is not a Solo Sport: If you are the idea originator, it’s important to remember that your teammates at Launch are considered your co-founders which means there should be equal respect amongst everyone. It takes a collaboration across different skills and personalities to be able to start a company, and all must work in harmony and with full drive. Success is more about the team and execution of the business than the idea. The entrepreneurial mindset will be the most important thing you learn leaving Launch, but can only be learned when working well in a team.
Team > Idea: It’s also important to remember that while it might be your original idea, you are now working with a well-equipped team of brilliant peers with whom you need to find a common vision of success – for the summer and the company. Ideas are a dime a dozen, with most having been thought of or even worked on before, so success comes down to execution. To execute well, you need all the skill sets of your team. This includes market research first and foremost, with open-mindedness to feedback. Almost ALL ideas change from their origination to actual implementation, especially in successful companies, and your teammates will be well positioned to bring a fresh perspective. Humility and openness to feedback is key.
Starting Fresh: The alternative to bringing your fully-baked idea to Launch is starting from scratch with your new team. Brainstorming an idea at Launch is the perfect platform to closely follow the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework taught in class. While you may be used to school-based group projects, the difference is that you are starting a real company with like-minded people who are all passionate about creating something real. Because the idea was brainstormed at Launch, starting from scratch tends to increase the likelihood of a healthy team dynamic. We emphasize shared values with co-founders over just shared interests, and the teaming process at Launch provides a robust means of forming well-balanced teams.
Successful Launch businesses have been formed in both fashions and there is no correct way to approach your idea. Those students at MIT Launch who keep an open mind and work towards a collaborative team dynamic are most primed for success both during the time at Launch and beyond.