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Entrepreneurial Mindset

  1. Take responsibility
  2. Get results
  3. Create value
  4. Earn a profit
  5. Solve customer problems
  6. Create competitive advantage
  7. Customer and quality driven
  8. Generate wealth
  9. Share the wealth with those that create it

Our Purpose in Life

Ahhh, that classic question: What's the meaning of life?  Hmmm ... suppose it really is "42"?! (You'll have to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for those details.)  In the meantime, here's a chart that may help you with your answer ...

Potential Business Models

1. Design physical product/merchandise
2. Manufacture physical product/merchandise
3. Sell physical product/merchandise

Scientific Method

  1. Purpose ... what do you want to learn?
  2. Research ... find out as much as you can!
  3. Hypothesis ... try to predict the answer to the problem, an "educated guess" ... "If I (do something), then (this will occur)".
  4. Experiment ... design a test or procedure to confirm of disprove your hypothesis.
  5. Analysis ... record what happened during the experiment ... collect data.
  6. Conclusion ... review the data and check to see if your hypothesis was correct
  7. Iteration ... change what didn't work and test it again.

Buying a Hot Dog Decision Process Flow

Even a relatively simple purchase may have a fair amount of complexity. Take buying a hot dog as an example ...

Traditional Venture Plan Outline

COVER PAGE
  1. Venture Title
  2. Tag Line
  3. Logo
  4. Principles and Positions
  5. Contact Information
  6. Copyright and Disclaimers

Lean Startup Terminology

minimum viable product (mvp)
A minimum viable product (mvp) is the "version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort" (similar to a pilot experiment). The goal of an MVP is to test fundamental business hypotheses (or leap-of-faith assumptions) and to help entrepreneurs begin the learning process as quickly as possible.

How to Start a New Venture

Go on a DXpedition:

The Discover Phase ...
Form initial core entrepreneurial team
Identify problems or opportunities

Easier Way to Create a Venture Plan

A good approach to creating a business plan to present to prospective investors and collaborators is to start with a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.

PowerPoint is an excellent tool ... it has good graphics capabilities built in, creating individual slides for each topic tends to force clarity in thinking, it allows for adding hidden (or not) "speaker notes" to each slide, and more.

Calibrating Financial Objectives

1]  Start with a "Use of Funds" list with three key figures: minimum funding to get your venture off the ground and test the waters, nominal to hit stability (self-funded, break-even?), and optimal (move fast to grab market share before others can do so).  In the example below, this company nominal number is $140K.  You DO need a chart that clearly explains your use of funds. Yes, you should include salaries to the key employees.  And you should know how long it will take to get to stable ... the money will come from a combination of sales revenue and your start-up funds.

How to Solve a Problem

  1. Define the problem
  2. Define a set of criteria for a good solution

Basic Financial Statements

There are a variety of tools used for pro forma financial objectives planning and post-facto reporting ...
  • Assumptions: a thing that is accepted as likely to happen ... the probability of a particular customer placing an order in the next 6 weeks, for example
  • Budget: an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time
  • Income Statement: provides performance information about a time period. It begins with sales and works down to net income and earnings per share (EPS)
  • Cash Flow Statement: the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business; a positive cash flow is good.
  • Balance Sheet: a statement of the assets, liabilities, and capital of a business or other organization at a particular point in time.

How to Mentor a New Business Venture Development Team

Successful business ventures continually introduce new product, service, process, and positioning innovations; they keep improving internal and external transformation methodologies; and they continually monitor goal and objective achievements. New venture development teams are wise to model their venture plan on these core concepts.

The SCORE SLATE Mentoring Guideline

The US Small Business Administration SCORE program has a well-refined guideline for business mentoring, using the acronym SLATE ...

S] Stop & Suspend Judgment
L] Listen & Learn
A] Assess & Analyze
T] Test Ideas & Teach with Tools
E] Expectations Setting & Encouraging the Dream

As important as what mentors do is what they don't do: they don't make decisions for the venture team.

[1.03]

The Entrepreneur's Creed

  1. Do what gives you energy ... have fun!
  2. Figure out what can go right and make it happen.
  3. Say "can do" rather than "cannot" or "maybe."

Potential Sources of Differentiation

Every successful business is differentiated from its competition ... it could be very unique and significant, or it may be seemingly small and minor. But customers choose one enterprise over another for a reason. Following are some potential sources of value and differentiation to use as a guide when creating a competitive advantage strategy ...

Questions That Must be Answered in a Business Model

  1. Who are the target customers for this business venture?
  2. How will this venture create and deliver value for these customers?
  3. What, who, where is the primary competition for this venture?

Marketing Brochure Prototype

A prototype marketing brochure is a good tool for "testing the waters" with prospective customers.
  1. Easy way to test a new product, service, solution idea
  2. Easy to iterate a concept

Starter Toolbox for Innovators and Entrepreneurs




Stages of Venture Evolution

Successful business ventures typically move from a] problem/solution ideation to b] planning to c] startup to d] stable to e] sustainable to f] scalable.

Another perspective ...

1. Opportunity ... gap in market, new technology ... maybe, just maybe, we can do something here
2. Idea ... clear problems, viable solutions ... hmmm, looks like there is something here