TODAY

TODAY   |  June 27, 2013

Launching your great idea, no MBA required

Successful entrepreneurs Linda Rottenberg, the CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, and Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, share insights on how to turn your great idea into a successful business.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> time for our special series "make it happen today." and the steps to get your business idea off the ground and running. we've heard from the founder of stella and dot and the ladies who founded guild.com. here is deborah and alexa, a financial planner and founder and ceo of learnbest.com. hi, ladies. great to be here.

>> people really want to start businesses but they are very intimidated by just stepping into the pool. it's not that easy, is it?

>> no, but my mantra is that crazy is a compliment. everyone starting out has been told their idea is stupid or downright crazy. you are on to something if you are called crazy and if you aren't called crazy you probably aren't thinking big enough.

>> or it's already out there.

>> someone always has some reason to criticize you. you just have to think as big as possible and believe.

>> start small?

>> baby steps is how you get there.

>> where do you get the money if you don't have the money?

>> in the case of learnbest, i put in a little bit of my savings. not so much i'd be in a position of real danger if something bad happened and raising a round of funding and it was the hardest thing i've ever done. really hard work.

>> but i think that people think you have to have an mba, a business plan . you need none of those things to start. you need an idea and real life customers. sometimes you need to gently stalk people.

>> how?

>> estee lauder . she was 19 years old, her uncle john had this cream. she would go to elevators or see people in the beauty salons and say i have a cream that can cure your wrinkles. she said give me five minutes. if you like this, go tell a friend.

>> so she gave it to them for free. such a smart --

>> can that still in the world of internet and lots of stuff going on is it still possible to work it that way on grassroots and --

>> it seems like it would make it easier because of the social networks .

>> it's important to have a business plan . it's so important before you invest any of your own savings that are probably critical for your family, sit down. i ended up writing a 75-page business plan which was the most boring days of my life. iing it inthink it's important to put a lot of thought in.

>> a lot of people want to keep their idea theirs and patent it. is that an important thing to do?

>> i think it's all in the execution. i think you have to draw people in and not worry about that. i do think, though, a lot of people start -- i finishing you need almost a start-up prenup. they have to learn how to fire their mother-in-law. if they haven't had the conversations early on.

>> that sounds awful.

>> the thing that you need the most is passion. passion is contagious. if you are excited, people get caught up in it, right?

>> i think that's absolutely right. you want to get out of bed every day and really care. if you don't love fashion, don't start a fashion company. if you don't love food and aren't a foodie, don't start a food company. it translates and people know and they believe in you and want to get excited.

>> i think people approach funding as if it's a test they want to ace. it's about a first date and it's about establishing trust and relationships and people if they see the passion and feel a connection, then they are willing to --

>> and they like the produc then they'll come back.

>> and they like the product.