Pitching Your Startup Idea

by admin on November 15, 2012

There is lots of articles and resources concerning crafting the killer pitch and slide deck for an investor meeting, but there are really only 3 things you need to convey to investors in your initial conversation / 30 second elevator pitch.  Many entrepreneurs do not have the connections required to set up investor meetings quickly and will get their first chance to “pitch” an investor when meeting them for the first time at a startup focused networking event.

Be ready to capture their interest and get a follow up meeting by presenting the 3 areas about your company clearly and precisely.

1. The problem
2. The solution
3. How you are making money – even better if real numbers can be mentioned

Everything else that is important for an investor to understand about your business at this stage in its life cycle will come out of additional discussions concerning these three areas, i.e., the team, the market opportunity, existing competition, financial models, etc.  When meeting with potential investors it is critical to quickly define your business and reason for existence.  Precise answers to these three items will help you do that and allow the conversation to proceed according to the interest of the investor versus going on and on about details of the business that do not really define who you are and why you are important.  A sophisticated investor will be able to quickly build a picture of the company through understanding the basic essence of the company helping them to ask appropriate questions to further evaluate you as an opportunity.

The Problem
What are the pain points that your business is trying to solve.  How can you sum up the problem in 1 or 2 sentences.  If it takes longer than a couple of sentences to describe the problem than you are making it more complex than it really is or you are not presenting the idea to an investor that understands the space and would be a likely match for your company anyway.

The Solution
How is your company tackling the problem.  What are you doing that is so unique and special that it warrants interest from an investor.  Again, hit this point home in a couple of sentences, you do not need to explain how you are developing & implementing the solution, but simply explain what the solution is to the main problem that the market currently faces.

How to Make Money
From the perspective of an investor, likely the most important element of your 30 second pitch to them is how you are making money and can provide a substantial return to investors.  Even if your revenue to date is minimal if you have any traction in the market to date this should be pointed out and mention how that is going to grow.

There will always be significant amount of time spent discussing the team’s capabilities, the market and existing competition in detail, and other very important elements that impact the investment decision, but these do not need to be answered in a quick introduction / 30 second pitch. If you can not get them interested in the company in a quick pitch when you get your chance to bring up the business you may not be able to get to those next conversations.

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Vetting a Startup Idea

by admin on November 7, 2012

It is critical vet your startup idea properly before deciding to develop a minimally viable product and start engaging with the market at large.  There are several ways to quickly analyze a new idea prior to spending significant time and resources to fully develop a new product.  The following includes suggestions on things to consider and research.  We do not believe it is necessary for a start up to be focused on writing out a formal business plan at this stage, however it is very valuable to write down core product and business ideas so that you can make an honest assessment of your next great idea.

  • Problem – What is the problem that your startup is solving?  Everything that you are working on from a product perspective should be wrapped around solving this problem.
  • The Solution – How does your idea solve the problem in the market?
  • Unique Value Proposition – Why is your idea special?  Will you be able to protect your solution with patents?  Can you be first to market?
  • Competition – How can the competition circumvent your idea / solution?  Who is the top 3 -5 companies that directly or indirectly compete with your solution?
  • Target Market – Who is your ideal customer?  Be detailed in your description versus general demographics, who is your early adopter market?
  • Marketing Plan – How will you reach your target customers?
  • Development Costs – What are the costs for developing your product and service, consider both time and resources?  What are the costs associated to your marketing plan to reach early adopters?
  • Business Model – How do you intend to make money?
  • Timeline – Set  rough milestone for the initial phases are critical for the business.

The answers to these questions do not need to be written out in an elegant business plan, however you will want to be able to speak intelligently on each of the main areas with anyone that you are discussing your new company with. Jotting down a paragraph or two for each will help you flush out the idea and be prepared for identifying the path to creating a minimally viable product that will allow you to test the validity of the idea, first as a solution to the problem and second can you get buy in from early adopters?

Written by: Chris Zelenka

Brainstorming new products and services is often an enjoyable activity for most entrepreneurs and there tends to be an endless supply of great ideas when evaluating what you want to build. This is a very helpful exercise to go through when trying to discuss opportunities with a potential co founder,friends and family, and with potential customers that you have existing relationships with.  This will make sure that you can articulate your idea properly and answer basic questions related to getting the startup off the ground.

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Kids in Africa Hacking Android Tablets

by admin on November 4, 2012

The One Laptop Per Child program is seeing amazing things happen with Android tablets in a small village in Ethiopia.  The article on Mashable “Given Tablets But No Teachers, Ethiopian Kids Teach Themselves” is an inspiring read. Tablet computers such as the Motorola Xoom’s that are being used by OLPC to provide to children in remote areas are being used in ways that none of the program’s staff thought would be possible,  In a simple experiment of dropping off a closed box of tablets with no instructions awesome things occurred.

Nicholas Negroponte the founder of OLPC describing the situation.

Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

Elaborating later on Negroponte’s hacking comment, Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer, said that the kids had gotten around OLPC’s effort to freeze desktop settings. “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different. We had installed software to prevent them from doing that,” McNierney said. “And the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”

While providing a tablet computer to a child that is not able to attend a regular school class can help them learn and read it also may be building the next generation of entrepreneurs.  These children with very humble backgrounds not only can grasp the basics and learn from the device they proved they can improve it and make it better.  Children naturally question and investigate the world around them and when provided with the freedom to explore they can come up with amazing ideas and inventions.  There certainly will be more inspiring events to come from this program and hopefully from more children around the world as they embrace technology and are exposed to innovation.

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Urgent Business Care was created solely to help out the small business owners who have the determination to thrive in our economy; however, struggle with everyday business issues that threaten to close their doors.

The Urgent Business Care team focuses on advising clients to make effective business decisions to keep phones ringing, to drive revenue, and to implement best practices to ensure that the priority list of items are in place to continue building a foundation for a successful business.

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Our team continues to work closely with all business owners to examine ongoing support infrastructure and verify if the allocation of monthly resources is driving the best business performance to maximize the owner’s return on investment (ROI).

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Providing Tools for Small Business Success

by admin on October 31, 2011

Whatever size of business you may have, the mantra “faster, better, cheaper” continues to rule the day.

According to the Business Journal, nearly all businesses in America are classified as small business. This is an indication that people are investing savings and resources into new business ideas and creating products and services to provide local and nationwide communities to work towards making money and starting a new future.

Because business owners are under constant pressure to grow their businesses profitably, they may make the mistake of searching for answers on their own. Whether it be surfing the web, confiding in a legal attorney and/or accountants, etc., Access Growth Urgent Business Care minimizes the process of questioning quickly and effectively. The Urgent Business Care team jumps into the trenches with clients in to order to get in and out with one focus –to keep your small business afloat while pushing paths forward.

A key component of Urgent Business Care support is market information, provided in a form that is actionable and tailored to the client’s needs, thus allowing companies to make those critical decisions to maximize growth and minimize competitive risk.

Access Growth understands that the foundation of any business decision is based on the most updated, valid, and reliable information. The Urgent Business Care team equips clients with heavily researched information about customers, competitors, channels, technologies, and regulation, to name a few. Simply put, businesses under the support of Urgent Business Care have a far greater chance of succeeding.

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