This Month’s Guru Column

Jim Cossler, Youngstown Business Incubator

Jim Cossler is the CEO of the Youngstown Business Incubator, but is better known throughout the country as the organization’s “chief evangelist.”

Cossler attended Youngstown State University where he studied philosophy and literature.

From his position as senior vice president for corporate services for the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, Cossler joined the YBI in 1997 as its CEO. At the time, the incubator was positioned as a traditional, mixed use incubator. He soon became the primary architect of its transformation into the nationally known incubator, accelerator and managed B2B software technology cluster that YBI is today.

Cossler’s primary roles are to serve as a mentor and entrepreneurial expert to YBI’s portfolio of companies as well as to build and manage the internal and external relations and networks necessary for their growth and success.

Cossler serves on the business and computer science advisory boards at Kent State University, the University of Akron, Hiram College and Youngstown State University.

Funding Your Billion-Dollar Idea

So, what does it actually take to successfully secure professional-grade funding for your startup or business?

Believe it or not, it has nothing at all to do with your “billion-dollar idea.”

Ideas have absolutely no value to professional investors. An idea is meaningless without a team, traction and a real product.

Let’s start with your team. The solo entrepreneur is almost never funded. Why? He simply does not have all the requisite skills necessary to deliver successfully.

Investors fund people, not ideas. Better put, investors fund experienced people who have proven they can successfully execute. Why? Unexecuted ideas, no matter how valuable you might think they are, are absolutely worthless.

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