Why NMotion accelerator was a “no brainer” for Nobl’s Brett Byman
I learned at an early age that as entrepreneurs, the odds are against us. That's because I grew up in a family full of entrepreneurs. I grew up cleaning public toilets at rest areas along Interstate 80 in Nebraska. My parents own a janitorial company that had contracts with the state Department of Roads and
Founder Friday is a weekly guest post written by a founder who is based in or hails from the Silicon Prairie. Each month, a topic relevant to startups is presented and founders share lessons learned or best practices utilized on that topic. June’s topic focuses on sharing experiences from and lessons learned in accelerators.
About the authors: Brett Byman is co-founder and CEO of Nobl, a startup that aims to improve patient satisfaction by making the process of hourly rounding more more efficient, meaningful and effective.
I learned at an early age that as entrepreneurs, the odds are against us. That’s because I grew up in a family full of entrepreneurs. I grew up cleaning public toilets at rest areas along Interstate 80 in Nebraska. My parents own a janitorial company that had contracts with the state Department of Roads and several banks.
It was a dirty job, one I was not passionate about. But during college I founded CEO, Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and took nearly every entrepreneurship class the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s business school offered. When I set out to pave my own path after I graduated in 2012, I had a few choices: go for the MBA, find a cushy corporate job or start my own company, like how my parents started theirs. (No toilets for me, though).
I knew if I didn’t follow my gut and do the latter, I would kick myself in 10 years.
So I did, after competing in a contest put on by Bryan Health hospitals and the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. Nobl, then known as SynerScan, was a direct result of the problem that Bryan Health wanted to solve: make nurse rounds more effective.
But then what? None of us had any knowledge about health care or really where to go from there.
At the same time, Brian Ardinger, someone I met during CEO, started Lincoln’s first accelerator, NMotion. It was a concept I was familiar with, but it was definitely something new for the state.
Acceleration was a no-brainer
We needed the best opportunity to learn as much as we could in a short period of time. It was the best chance for personal and professional growth, too. We came in humble, understanding we needed all the help we could get.
What we didn’t expect with the NMotion program was the great access to human and financial capital.
Since we didn’t know much about health care, leveraging vast health care experience from our mentors was vital. It also gave us exposure to strategic investors in the area whom, without which, we wouldn’t be here today. We had some of Lincoln’s most successful and powerful professionals investing in our success.
You learn so much making mistakes and living the consequences in those three months. That’s where you learn, by failing, iterating and learning.
My best advice
I’ve worked with various young entrepreneurs at UNL and I understand that most times, the hardest step is the first step.
The odds are against the entrepreneur. Accelerators help push those odds in your favor.
The overall value is this: your company is under stress and (healthy) pressure for three extremely fast-paced months. It’s a great way to push yourself and your team to the limits, fail faster and learn more than you ever thought possible in such a short amount of time.
This is how to make the best time of it:
- Take the first step and apply. Sure you could do a summer internship and make a few grand, or you can apply to an accelerator and make your dream, your idea into something real.
- Go in with an open mind. Be open to learning. You don’t know everything, and if you are an entrepreneur who thinks you know everything, then you’ve already failed.
- Be vulnerable. Lay it out on the line. Be honest with yourself, your team and your mentors. Tell them when you have no idea what to do next. That’s when you have a network around you that says, “We’ve got you. We’re here to help.” That’s when real problems are solved, when you totally open up and not try to be the all-knowing entrepreneur people expect you to be. That’s a myth.
- Have fun. We’re all entrepreneurial for a reason. Our minds work different than most. It will be one of the busiest, most stressful times of your life, but have fun while you’re at it. If you’re not having fun it’s the same as hating your life as an accountant or some other dead-end job.
Overall, the NMotion program was a phenomenal experience I highly recommend to anyone interested in starting a company or paving their own life path.
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