How to start a business – The successful Tech Start-up

building a successful startup

How to start a business – Building a successful technology start-up

How to start a business ? A tough enough question on its own, but overlay this with a technology based product or service and it has the potential to become significantly more complex. This short five week course looks at the overlap between the traditional business model and its underlying technology. We’ll also look at how the people interact in that sometimes stereotypical clash of managers and developers.

At the end of the course and assuming the homework was all done, you’ll have the building blocks to go on to create the following:

  • strategic/business plan
  • product plan
  • technology roadmap
  • marketing plan
  • operational plan
  • business case

 

Impact Hub Phnom PenhBelow are the resources for the course given at the Impact Hub in Phnom Penh during November and December 2015 by Chris Wray.

 

 


 

Lesson 1 – Your business and what makes a technical product successful

Thank you all so much for an engaging and interesting discussion on some of the key principles behind starting a business. I’ve attached the slides and also the questions that were asked by you during the “Post-It-Note” exercise. I will endeavour to ensure they are all answered as we progress through the course.

Homework for Lesson 1

  1. Write down all the reasons why you are choosing to start a technology business.

Think about the 5 Why’s when you answer your own questions. We all want to be millionaires, but that’s rarely the main reason why we do it. This exercise will help you understand your core values and principles as you build your business.

2. Answer the question: What does your business do ?

This is your elevator pitch as they call it. There should be three versions.

  • The one liner – eg: ” I help people and small businesses realise their potential” in my case. This should be really easy to understand, even for a 5-year-old.
  • The 3 minute elevator pitch. – A longer more detailed version.
  • The presentation pitch – If you had 15 minutes and an engaged audience, what would you say ?


Lesson 2 – Creating a product that customers want to buy

Again, thank you for your time and input on today’s class.

Homework for Lesson 2

  1. Create your core product, describe it in as much detail as possible.
  2. What is the minimum viable product you can ship ?
    1. What price are you selling your product or service for. If you’re selling multiple items detail them all. Are they low-cost, medium cost, or high cost products ?
    2. How many products do you need to make a living ? It’s really important to look at your business in terms of selling a number of products or services to achieve your goals. Sale Price –(costs to produce, market, and distribute) = Gross Profit
  3. Plan your business for growth. By this I mean consider how your business looks if you were to grow by 50%, 100%, 200% or whatever seems reasonable.


Lesson 3 –

Understanding your customers, competitors and market research

Thank you all for what was a bit of a whirlwind ride through a topic we could have spent months, if not years on.  Trying to cover market analysis, customer segmentation and branding all in an hour and a half was challenging to say the least. However, we did get a sense of the frameworks which will allow you to complete your homework and produce some high level analysis.

Homework for Lesson 3

  1. Create the Porters 5 Forces framework for your business. Examine the impact of changes within that framework and some of the potential changes you would make to recover or build a stronger position.
  2. Create the customer profile(s) of your target customer. As we discussed, the more you know about your customer, the better chance of being able to adapt to their needs.

links

Course Notes:

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog – A great resource for affiliate marketing and passive income generation.

The Brand Gap – A slideshare presentation well worth watching.


Lesson 4 – Delivering and Planning

Delivering your products and services through project planning.

Similarly we could have spent many months on what is an incredibly broad subject. I picked managing projects as the core subject for this lesson as its one that features in so many of my mentoring conversations. We did divert to some other topics based on your questions, but they were equally valid as good subject matter.

Homework for Lesson 4

  1. Create your initial launch plan, or plan for the next 3/6 months. Make this as detailed as possible.

2. Identify your key risks. Look for mitigating activities – what is your plan B ?

links

Course Notes:

The V Model – The Wikipedia page covers the broader topic, but the Validation Phases were the item we covered in the lesson. Having read this, similarly to many ‘text book’ models, everyone seems to adopt their own slightly modified version.


Lesson 5 – Finance, Business Plan and Summary of the course

Similarly we could have spent many months on what is an incredibly broad subject. I picked managing projects as the core subject for this lesson as its one that features in so many of my mentoring conversations. We did divert to some other topics based on your questions, but they were equally valid as good subject matter.

Homework for Lesson 5

  1. Create your financial framework.

2. Validate all of your numbers and your assumptions.

3. Monitor, review and reforecast.

links

Course Notes:

If there are only two things to take away from this course they are:

  1. Continue to build assets for your business as often as possible. Be that products, blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates.
  2. Validate your financial forecast regularly. At least monthly. As we saw in the examples, cashflow is the killer of small businesses.

 


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