This course 3 hour course is for one who has an idea which that would like to develop into a business and pitch to get some recognition and/or win some prize money. Take this course to:
-evaluate if your idea is worthy of turning into a business
-learn to talk about your idea/business in appropriate terminology (early adopter, minimum viable product, variable costs, fixed cost, unique value proposition etc.)
This is a mini business 101 course with great attention given to mobile application (app) startups. The course includes lectures that require you to do some writing and practicing of your pitch. Additionally, there are power point resources, supplemental readings and videos.
Welcome to Startups 101: Turning an Idea into a Business
I am going to teach about starting a business with no money. Here are 7 things this class will do for you:
Developing a profitable idea
Arranging your life for entrepreneurship
Customer discovery - who is your early adopter
Developing a business strategy
Business model validation
Pitching to win money in contests or secure investments
Building a team
I developed this course because so many people have an idea for an app or another business and they come to me for advice. This is my effort to tell you everything you need to know to build your business. I’m very available to answer any question you have and talk through the specifics of your business. But first, start this indepth course and then lets talk!
This customer segment lecture helps you define your early adopter, that is the specific type of individual most likely to use your product or service first. The early adopter is a demographic which finds your product or service to be particularly appealing. You should know your early adopter's:
-age range, gender, ethnicity, location, income range
Let's make a meaningful business. Meaningful businesses solve real problems that adversely affect quality of life. You must be able to clearly and succinctly define the problem that your product or service (idea) solves. Remember, we just defined our early adopters. The problem that we are solving should be tailored directly to our early adopt.
1) Define 3 of your early adopter's must solve problems in detail.
2) Define 3 alternatives your customers currently use.
At the conclusion of this talk you will be able to tailor your unique value proposition to the most pressing problem that your early adopter has.
By the end of this lecture you will know how to describe your minimum viable product (MVP). In developing your solution (product/service) you'll want to create the most feature bare product that people are willing to pay for. The reason is that you don't want to spend to many resources engaging in research and development and end up creating a complex, expensive product that the market doesn't care about.
You should create a simple solution that is easy to describe. In a BMW commercial you don't hear about the run-flat tires, complex fuel injection system and the hundreds of other cool things that compose the ultimate driving machine. Instead, the speak to the few critical features that constitute a unique value proposition for your early adopter.
A channel is not a pathway to your customer. By the end of this lecture you will be able to identify the channels that can be used to acquire users or customers.
By the end of this section you'll be able to develop and explain your business model. Let's focus on building ideas that have a business model that can be executed upon the completion of developing your product/service. For the purpose of this class, we'll be strict and exclude 'advertisement' as a business model unless you have a large, exisiting audience of consumers.
By the end of this talk you will be able to identify your variable and fixed costs to calculate your break even point.
Your variable costs are those expenses that vary with the number of sales a company makes. For example, the Society of Davon shirt company will have a variable cost associated with fabrics. The more shirts sold, the more fabric is required and the more money must be spent on fabric.
By the end of this lecture you will be ale to identify which critical outputs you should seek to measure and manipulate to drive your business to success. Acquisition and Activation are the first two metrics to focus on as an early stage company.
Acquisition refers to acquiring customers. For example, in the mobile app space, acquiring a user (customer) is getting them to download your application. This is a metric (number) to pay attention to and drive.
By the end of this lecture you will have identified the future threats to your company's future success. Answer the following:
If my company fails next year, what would have caused it?
What do I need to do to prevent that?
After completing this lecture you will know what an exemplary pitch sounds like and what elements go into developing and performing such a pitch. Please take note of the changes in voice pitch/quality. And, take note of the story telling element. A short anecdote of something that the listener can relate to is very effective.
By the end of this lecture you will know the critical elements that must always be included in an a short pitch. An exemplary pitch contains:
1) emotionalized problem
2) your solution (product/service)
3) business model
After completing this lecture you will be able to word the problem that your product or service is solving in an way that makes it meaningful to listeners. People don't by what you do, they buy 'why' you do it. The lecture provides an explanation of you can associate emotion and meaning with your product/service.
Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) have very no more than 3 features, preferably 1 or 2. In your pitch, you should explain your product referring to the 1 or 2 features that provide a unique value to your early adopters.
When explaining your revenue streams, pick your best card and play it hard. We will know that it is amateur hour if you're mentioning the many ways that you make money before having made your first dime....or prove that even one of your revenue stream ideas actually works.
Consider the business models of your competitors for a starting point on what works.
After this lecture you will be able to identify what kind of traction your business has--even before you have actually made any sales. This talk provides notes on creative ways to explain your "traction" even when you are pre-revenue. Additionally, I've linked a resource on how to develop traction by exploring more channels. Again, refer to the slides for the summary of the lecture.
This lecture summarizes a few points on how to practice your pitch so that you are ready to perform at a professional level in front of an audience. Please reference slides labeled 17 which provide specific notes on how to practice the verbal and physical aspects of your pitch.
Marquett Burton was born in San Diego and raised in Los Angeles where he attended William Blair High, testing out of high school at age 16. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor in Political Science in 2009.
Upon graduation he was accepted into Teach For America's Baltimore Corp. From 2009 to 2011, Marquett taught fulltime in the second lowest performing school district in the country, while studying fulltime for a Master of Arts in Instructional Technology from the Johns Hopkins School of Education.
In 2011, he was honored with becoming a Baltimore City Mayoral Fellow. Following this he was recruited to head a non-profit at Johns Hopkins Medical where he managed over 200 medical professionals and had the pleasure of meeting Mayor Bloomberg of New York. Following this he was recruited to work for EverFi, Inc. an educational technology company for which he helped open up operations in the states of Washington, Oregon and California.
Marquett is a nationally recognized speaker who has given talks at the following institutions:
Bloomberg School of Public Health – Graduation Ceremony
2013 California Financial Literacy Conference for Educators
Chapman University – Increasing Graduation/Retention Rates in the University System
Johns Hopkins Medical – Extending Your Family: Helping Baltimore's Youth
Office of the Mayor – On Reorganizing Baltimore City School District
Teach For America – Alumni Induction Ceremony
University of California, Berkeley – Incoming Student Reception
Union Baptist Church – Positioning Ourselves for Success
Over 30 High Schools – Importance of Financial Literacy
He is currently CEO and founder of SmartyPants App, Inc., a venture capital backed college retention solution that empowers students to organize study groups with three taps on their phone and get quick answers at any hour.