Excelerate Labs Announces 10 Startup Winners

Startups are hot right now, despite, or maybe because of a tough economy. Organizations like Excelerate Labs based in Chicago give startups a chance to shine and move to the next level. When starting a business, not every entrepreneur needs the same things. Our roundup focuses on the basics, and some ideas every small business startup should know.

The Startup Scene

The top five. Startups participating in the Excelerate Labs Demo Day are not limited to Chicago-based companies. Firms from around the world competed for the top recognition. Ten companies in all won financial grants and the chance to pitch their companies, products, and services to angel and early stage investors. Here are five standouts from the winners group. Bloomberg Businessweek

The social startups. Social media channels are more than just a way to market your startup. They can also be the basis for clever startups. Take Pinfluencer, which helps retailers and brand advocates track competitors, successful products, and categories by checking “pins,” “repins,” and relevant keywords on Pinterest. The Wall Street Journal

No Experience Required

So you want to start a business. Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell chats in this interview about how she launched her flagship Website, tips on how to grow a business, the challenges she faced making the transition from corporate America to small business owner, and the challenges she still faces today. For more on how to start a business, read this interview. Damsels in Success

Start with a team. If you want to create a great business, start by building a great team. In this post, Toronto-based entrepreneur and founder of customer management startup Commonsku Catherine Graham says the most important part of a business is the people who make it work. Place the emphasis on finding the right people to make your business successful. Sprouter Blog

Dos and Don’ts

Tell a good story. Marketing your startup is a huge concern. The key, says Mike Abasov, is to know how to tell the right story about your product, service, or brand. Unfortunately, there are a number of mistakes many entrepreneurs make along the way. Here are some of Mike’s tips to consider while brushing up on your storytelling skills. Marketing Before Funding

Have loads of ideas. Talk to any entrepreneur and you’re likely to find a long list of ideas they haven’t pursued while focusing laser-like on their startup. Geoff Cudd shares some startup ideas he hasn’t moved on, including some that have since been validated by others. Focus on the best ideas, but have plenty of them too. Don’t Do It Yourself

Be a survivor. The reality is that hard work and great ideas aside, some businesses will fail. New businesses may, at the very least, experience some anxious moments. Skilled entrepreneurs must know how to survive both, and come back swinging. Fortunately, there are some simple tactics veterans of the startup arena can share. Good luck! Open Forum

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.