This past semester I took Entrepreneurship 320 “New Venture Planning”, this class consisted of the students teaming up and creating profitable businesses from the ground up. This class was not to be seen as hypothetical, everything we did actually mattered to the business. At the end of the semester we had a pitch competition in front of potential mentors and investors, I am proud to say that me and my partner won 3rd place with a prize of $400. The long nights, early mornings, success and failures taught me invaluable lessons that I will carry with me throughout my entrepreneurial journey. That being said I want to give you all 6 essential start up tips that will help you throughout this long process.
Find a problem and solve it.
It’s just that simple. Make sure your problem matches your market. If you or your team can’t think of a viable problem, go out and ask real people about 3 problems in their life (even personal problems, this will make it easy to get them to use/purchase your product or service); that should give you the results you need to began brainstorming.
Don’t fall in love with your first idea. Keep brainstorming and be open minded.
This was a hard pill to swallow for my team. After the first day of brainstorming, we were so excited and thought we found our golden idea……turns out it wasn’t the best idea and it was too complicated. It’s tough when you’ve fantasized about something and it just doesn’t work. In class we did an exercise where every team would write the problem they were trying to solve down and pass it around the room; this allowed other teams to write down viable solutions that the team could go through and figure out which one they wanted to use if any.
Once you come up with an idea, go out into the real world to see if people would even use your product/service; doing this will save you time and money.
This is very important, your team may feel as though y’all have hit the jackpot with your solution but here is the kicker: You won’t know if people will actually use your product or service until you ask them. My team and I interviewed so many people for weeks to see if they would actually be interested in our idea. The consumer feedback helped so much with the tweaking of our service.
Find out who your market is early in the game.
My team started out with a very large market, although that sounds good there were only a small percentage of people that our service would actually benefit. We had to go back and pinpoint who are service was for and that became our market. Once again, we went out and talked to people who would fit in our market about our idea and how they would use it in their everyday life.
Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page.
If your team isn’t on the same page, the whole business will fall apart. Everyone needs to have a role and fulfill their role efficiently.
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR IDEA – PIVOT! PIVOT! PIVOT!
Pivot: a shift in business strategy to test a new approach. This concept will be so important to your startup especially in the beginning stages. Your idea will have to transform itself many times before it is out to the public. Don’t be scared to pivot, you can always go back to square one … it doesn’t hurt to try new things especially if your idea has the potential to be profitable.
Link to my previous blog post about my experience in the startup space …. https://hairstonhustle.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/swiftbeauty/
Business model canvas that we used to structure our start up:
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