Stop Building Products No One Wants

Pivot and Stop Spending Time on Faith-Based Initiatives

Sharon R. Brown | @sharonRbrown1

Taking untested, unvalidated products and services to market is not a smart idea. As an entrepreneur, you must focus on testing assumptions, or you risk wasting people’s time by bringing products to market that no one wants.

Eric Ries makes the point that startups are experiments that are comprised of ideas, products, and services.  Like with any startup, somethings will be successful and somethings will fail.  Therefore, you must be prepared to pivot and change directions when necessary.  Successful pivots include taking feedback and learning from the customer discovery process, and applying the information to a newer version of the product or service.

Successful entrepreneurs take a “zig-zag path” from eventual idea to success.  However, success can be obtained faster when you minimize the time between pivots.  Bottomline; no matter how great you think your product is, if no one is using it, then you clearly have built the wrong thing.

Make adjustments fast.  Milestones and schedules don’t matter if you developed a product or service that no one wants.  Don’t just have faith that someone wants your product, validate your learning

Entrepreneurs should focus on how many pivots they have left, instead of how much money they have left.  Learn from Eric Ries’ mistake; you don’t need to code 40,000 lines of code to know that your customers don’t want your product.  Pivot now and stop building products that no one wants.

Source: Eric Ries



Mastermind Session – Entrepreneur Roundtable on Staying Funded – part 2

eLuminate Mastermind Session Entrepreneur Roundtable

Three entrepreneurs that have successfully raised capital are interviewed about critical issues that they faced throughout the funding process.  A fun, informal-style roundtable that covers key issues impacting new and experienced founders, before, during, and after getting funded.  eLuminate Mastermind Session: Entrepreneur Roundtable was moderated by eLuminate Network founder & CEO, Sharon R. Brown, and covered topics such as:

  1. Structuring the sales process in preparation for funding.
  2. Building a team and getting the right people in place, before seeking funding.
  3. Key advice on getting funded

Register for your free eLuminate membership to get access to access additional clips from the series, when posted. ( | @eLuminateOnline)

Investor Funding – Getting the Wallets Out Of Investors Pockets

Entrepreneur Mastermind Session: Getting the Wallets Out Of Investor’s Pockets

Event registration link:
Join this in-depth eLuminate Mastermind Session that will focus on the rigorous aspects of investor funding for entrepreneurs.
If you are an entrepreneur with an early/late stage startup and you don’t know the answers to these questions, you need to register for this event today:
1. What’s the anatomy of a good pitch deck?
2. How to find Angels?
3. When you should and should not seek Angel / VC investment?
4. Mistakes entrepreneurs make when seeking funding / negotiating with investors?
5. What do investors expect after you get funded? 
Mastermind Keynote from Jeanne Sullivan, StarVest Partners
Presentation from Elizabeth Crowell, Angel Investor
1:00-2pm  Elizabeth Cromell           Insider View on Angel & Angel Networks
2:15-3:30   Sharon Brown              Entrepreneur Roundtable on Staying Funded
3:30-4:00   —                               Give-Get Networking Session
4:00-5:30   Jeanne Sullivan           Getting The Wallets Out Of Investor’s Pockets
5:30-6:00   —                               Q&A
6:00-7:00   —                               Networking Reception
1120 6th Ave (43 & 44th St) 
4th Floor, New York, NY 10036
Event registration link:


eluminate_speaker_STARVEST_Jeanne_2Jeanne M. Sullivan
Co-Founder and General Partner
StarVest Partners

Jeanne M. Sullivan has been investing in and growing tech companies for many years. She is a founding General Partner of StarVest Partners. Jeanne has over 23 years of venture capital experience and has spent 30 years in the technology sector encompassing both extensive operating and investing experience with technology companies. Ms. Sullivan has extensive experience creating “go to market” plans for early and expansion stage companies. Her expertise also includes strategy, a keen understanding of the technology landscape and industry trends. Prior to her venture experience, Jeanne gained her operating experience with AT&T and Bell Labs while serving in product and industry marketing roles.

Ms. Sullivan is a sought-after industry speaker on the subject of “how to get the wallets out of investors’ pocket.” Jeanne serves on the board of the New York Venture Capital Association and serves as a member of the Astia Global Board of Trustees, an organization that empowers women entrepreneurs. Forbes recently cited Sullivan as “one of the women VCs changing the world – grooming the next generation of female entrepreneurs.”


123_linked in_elizabethcrowellElizabeth Crowell
Angel Investor & Entrepreneur

Elizabeth is the co-owner of Sterling Place, a multichannel retail company that sells eclectic antiques, fine home decor and specialty gifts. Built on her passion for finding and giving the perfect gift, the business has gained a well-known reputation for its tantalizing merchandising and white glove customer service. Profitable from year two, the business has steadily grown, with three store locations in Brooklyn, as well as a website. The business has been profiled by the NY Times and Elizabeth has been a repeat guest expert on Martha Stewart Living Radio.

Elizabeth’s own positive experience as an entrepreneur has inspired her to assist others to achieve their dream of business ownership. Most recently, Elizabeth is de-mystifying how to finance and fund businesses by writing a Funding 101 series for the award-winning magazine, Elizabeth is able to draw on her experience from both sides of the table as she is not only an entrepreneur but also an investor. Elizabeth was selected as one of 10 in the inaugural class of Pipeline Fellows, a program designed to train women to be angel investors in women-led social ventures. She is in the process of building out her own angel portfolio, with investments made in such diverse companies as an organic ice cream maker, a non-profit technology provider, and a SaaS marketing campaign optimizer. Most recently, Elizabeth has taken on the role of Market Lead for Astia Angels NYC, a new angel investment group focused on investing in women-led high-growth ventures.

Elizabeth is a member of several boards including the Atlantic Avenue BID, where she spent five years as the Founding Chair and the Leadership Advisory Board of the Girls Scouts of Greater NYC. She also serves on the Advisory Board of a Philantech, a private company.

Elizabeth graduated cum laude from Smith College in 1993, is an active fundraiser for the college. Married with two wonderful school-age children, Elizabeth is blessed with an incredibly supportive husband.

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Startup Success

Startup Success

eLuminate inspires and connects entrepreneurs from around the globe by creating a platform for them to start and grow their businesses.  eLuminate’s core mission is to champion “business for the rest of us” and provide a platform for entrepreneurs to envision their success, become enlightened by new information, and to emerge successfully.

eLuminate highlights the challenges and triumphs of the everyday entrepreneur working from home to the entrepreneur in advanced growth stages of business.  eLuminate digs deep to uncover the best strategies, tactics, and tips for entrepreneurial success as well as reveal the traps and pitfalls entrepreneurs need to avoid.