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Prepping with Pivots for the Pitch

Prepping with Pivots for the Pitch

Flame of fire in the shape of a tornado

In the last several weeks of the Start-Up Institute at Central Wyoming College in Jackson, life turned into a tornado.

One that’s on fire.

A flaming tornado.

I had to drop everything to pour a fresh foundation for my not-Sheen business. It’s called Upstart Road, and will feature stories of overcoming failure on the way to success. I believe this will be a more powerful way to tell amazing stories about startups and other businesses than my original intentions.

Failures are the reason 9 in 10 businesses fail. Weird.

But what if more people harnessed lessons learned from failures so more people can find the success catapult? ”

Then, when they mess up and want to throw in the towel, they instead throw in extra effort and revive their business in a way that finds them success.

Reframing my whole story was difficult. And I know I wasn’t the only one reframing their story going into the final presentation.

After 9 weeks of hearing my classmates’ stories, week 10 still had fresh surprises as everyone pitched their business to the first real set of listening ears. We all matured through the process of the Start-Up Institute, and learned things that will keep us more safe as we move into the failure-laden business world.

Still, those hard things to learn are what pushed everything to my backburner while I prepared through many near-sleepless nights to tell my story the way it was meant to be told. Heck, my plans to write this blog weekly are among the things that flew out the window leading into finals.

Here is my atonement. The story’s told. Upstart Road is becoming a reality. If I’d stubbornly stayed with Sheen, I can only imagine the problems I’d be facing six months down the road.

In my final two blog entries after this, I’ll tell you about the experience of my final presentation and the plans moving forward for us as a class. We have become a tribe of sorts. It’ll be interesting to see where everyone lands.


This article is the 8th in a series to be published about the Start-Up Institute the way Jackson native Mark Wilcox experiences it in April through June of 2016.