Overview of the Entrepreneurial Experience

First you come up with a good idea. Then you think about different variations on that idea. Come up with a simple prototype. Then you talk to customers and experts about your idea and seek validation. Repeat until you know you have a winner. Then you build a minimal viable product, beta test and launch. Scale the company and make it big. At some point in the process you’ll need to get funding and workout the legal details.

General Help

Ideate

Creativity is about making connections. Sometimes finding two unrelated things and bringing them together will spawn something new and useful. In this stage all ideas are good. Try to solve a pain. No one will pay you to solve a non-problem. Follow trends, talk to customers (the real experts) and empathise with them as best you can.

Design Thinking

Ideation Methods

Articles

Books

Videos

Situation Statements

  • Who needs what but can’t because of their hurdle.

Design/Prototype

Build the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) needed to fulfill customer needs and launch quickly. It’s important not to have many features so that you can find what is most important to the customer. Getting a prototype of your product into the hands of your customers will help you improve your designs and better solve the pain.

Cheap help

Network

  • CoFounderslab.com

  • Equitydirectory.co

  • Devmountain

    • They have students graduating every year looking for employment but there may be teammates willing to jump on a project. They also have connections with their alumni and have people to contact.

  • Inspire Action

  • Job Boards

  • Tips

    • Stand out and be unique. Unique statement: “I ___”

    • Do things for others first and they will be happy to do things for you

    • Be personal

      • Call a person the day before their birthday

      • Ask about kids

      • Make a name card

Wireframe Mockups

3d Printing

Website Creation

Manufactured Prototypes

  • Design and Consulting PGN

Videos

Validate

All ideas need to pivot before they can be viable. Validation is cheap, it’s fast and it will make your launch more successful. 90% of new business fail and 75% of new products fail. Don’t be the majority. Learn to validate and validate well.

Invent.me

Quantify your validation by getting scores from customers and experts through the invent.me metric. Very simple. It helps remove feedback bias from sympathetic customers and experts. It quickly reveals how you need to pivot and when you have a winner.

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing business models. It is a visual chart with elements describing a firm's or product's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.  It assists firms in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.

Big Idea Canvas

Before you try nailing and scaling a startup of your own, you need to be sure that your idea passes the "who cares" test. The Big Idea Canvas will take you step-by-step through this process. Download the canvas and fill it out on paper or engage with our digital interactive canvas online.

6 Thinking Hats Focus Group

Other Validation techniques

  • Landing Page: Sometimes a Facebook page will test something out just as well as a fully functional website. The point is to see if people will put there now down as a “preorder.”

  • Cold calls: Reach out to people explaining that you have the solution to their problem. If they get back with you then you have a good idea.

Surveys

Books

Build/Develop

Once you’ve validated build the MVP as fast as you can so you can get to market. Early customers will be forgiving in the beginning stages and it’s more important to get something out there and start making money than having a perfect product.

Programming shops

Most charge around $100 an hour but some are willing to do an equity split or reduce the cost for a little equity.

Manufacturing

Videos

Cloud Services

Hosting Services

3d printing

Accelerators

Books

Leverage benefactors

Business Model

How you decide to charge people is just as important as what you sell people. From subscription to upgrade to pay-to-view models you’ve got to understand your costs, your process, partners, channels and how much money you’ll make.

Tools

Books

Class

Articles

Videos

Beta Test

Prior to a full scale launch, conduct a beta test of your product. Beta testers are the most forgiving and will help you perfect your product in ways that no one else will. Set up small beta testing groups that will provide quick feedback so you can make even quicker changes.

Generate presales

Beta test goldmines

The best way is to find your own beta testers. Don’t rely on these sites but they are options.

Launch

If nothing else a launch can make or break a company. After all the testing is done it’s time to hit the ground running and hit it hard. Find the best ways to reach your customers. Sell, sell, sell. Leverage influencers, use social media, create marketing events are treat your customers like royalty.

Distribution

Entrepreneurial marketing events

  • Allow love group to celebrate the product

Leverage key influencers

Social Media

Engaging Customers

Connectors

Scalability

Anchor customers

  • This means finding the customer like your Costco or your Walmart who can provide consistent business. Just make sure that you can keep up with demand.

Videos

  • Viral Videos

    • 1. Create content customers want to talk about in their circles.

    • 2. Contact influencers--people who are domain experts in certain channels.

    • 3. Use social media hubs to scale.

Price

 For putting an app on the Apple store

Articles

Books

Market Positioning

Where you are in the minds of the customers and what you can do for them is what will make you different from everyone else. Why do you do what you do? What do you do and how do you do it?

Articles

Books

Videos

Nail market position and message

Love group engagement

Marketing Mix

Funding

Bootstrapping is ideal but sometimes that’s just not possible. At one point or another every startup needs money. Each funding sources has its positives and negatives. Although it is hard to obtain, be wary about accepting funding.

Crowdfunding:

  • Kickstarter.com

    • Fixed funding. If you don’t hit your goal you don’t get the money.

    • KickStarter will take 5% plus another 3-5% processing fee.

  • Indiegogo.com

    • $500 Minimum

    • Flexible or Fixed funding

    • Indiegogo will take 5% plus another 3-5% processing fee.

  • Gofundme.com

    • 5% fee plus

Investment

Grants

Loans

  • Microloans

  • Small business loans

Competitions

Pitching

Articles

Videos

How to Pitch to VCs

Legal

Every startup owner needs to be protected. There are a few different types of companies you could create and how they are organized is up to you. Here are some legal links you’ll need as you create your entity.

Books

Forms

Tools

Patents

Overview of a trademark

Copyrights

Trade Secrets

Employees

You’re more likely to be sued by a former employee than anything else. Treat your employees like competition and also treat them well.

Advisory board

Contracts

A legitimate contract needs (1) an agreement--Offer and Acceptance; (2) Mutual Consideration--Value given by both parties; (3) Legal purpose and subject matter--Object; (4) Legal capacity--Ability to understand terms and nature of the contract. The best defense against a contract is to poke holes in one of those four points.

 

A valid offer includes: (1) the manifestation of offeror’s intent to be bound; (2) Definite terms; (3) Communication of offer to offeree.

 

Door-to-door sales requires a 3 day option to back out.

 

Self Improvement

It’s crazy hard to start a business and every entrepreneur should strive to improve their skills. Here are some recommended ways of doing just that.

Books

Classes

Social Entrepreneurship