By Vanessa McCray The Blade, Toledo, Ohio.
Entrepreneur magazine's editor-in-chief shared her recipe for entrepreneurial success -- which starts with a "laserlike" vision -- at a speech Tuesday in Toledo.
Amy Cosper, who edits the roughly 650,000-circulation publication that caters to business owners, was the featured speaker at a Thomas H. Cobb President's Leadership Speaker Series event presented by Spring Arbor University at the Toledo Club.
In her 40 minutes in front of an audience of a few dozen attendees, she provided tips on how to succeed as an entrepreneur -- a person she defined as someone who starts something where there was nothing.
Entrepreneurs must understand their revenue model; take advantage of "market-intelligence" available from online, crowd-funding sites; vet their ideas, and focus on their customers and know their stories, she said.
"The most important thing ..., they have an absolutely clear vision, a laserlike vision of what they do. And most of them can tell you in three sentences or less what they do," she said.
Ms. Cosper, who has been with the magazine for six years, said being an entrepreneur requires hard work and is "a little bit about freedom."
She said: "It is being in charge of your destiny. It is being able to socially give back and really just sort of being your own boss."
Entrepreneurs find ways to disrupt the current modes of thinking, Ms. Cosper said, citing Uber, the transportation company that has upturned traditional taxi service by giving those in need of a ride the ability to summon an independent contractor via smart phone.
Her magazine is engaging in some big changes of its own, by redesigning its print publication and changing its logo from a straightforward, businesslike script to a scrawl that evokes a "rock 'n' roll" vibe, she said.
Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson made brief remarks before the speech, emphasizing the importance of entrepreneurs and working together as a community.
"The city of Toledo is on the cusp of doing great things. We have a long history of being the Glass City, and our glass is half full. It is not half empty," the mayor said.
The university based in Spring Arbor, Mich., offers undergraduate and graduate classes in the Toledo area at sites in Lambertville, Davis College, Terra State Community College, and Owens Community College.
The lecture series draws a couple speakers a year, and Tuesday's event drew local business owners and entrepreneurs.
"We are an institution where innovation crosses all aspects of our strategic planning, so in the same way that our integration of our Christian faith goes across the whole strategic plan so does innovation and entrepreneurship," said Doug Wilcoxson, Spring Arbor's executive vice president, before the event.