Lesson Seven

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High Tech Business Startup Basics



Welcome to Lesson Seven!

View this five minute video capture overview of this lesson.

(Click the link - it might take a minute to download.)

         Each lesson recommends four half-hour sessions (per week)

              VIEW some excellent short videos online.
              EXPLORE some outstanding websites for ideas on what you can do

              SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS - Send an email to everyone in the class

              READ OR LISTEN TO:
                             Short articles with ideas on trends and opportunities
                             Mac users have a Text to Speech feature to read documents aloud.  
                             ((highlight the text first)) Select Finder, Services, Speech, Start Speaking Text)

Lesson Goals

1.      Explore the Alaska Marketplace Competition

2.      Copying successful business models

3.      The Art of the Start – Starting a business without a dime

4.    Tech Business Start-Up Basics:
Your elevator pitch, value proposition, market positioning and secret sauce


EXPLORE:  The Alaska Marketplace Competition

The Alaska Marketplace Competition
offered cash grants to great business start-up ideas. They have an E-newsletter and lots of success stories based on great ideas. Some businesses even use Ecommerce and the Internet.

Check out the 2009 Finalists to see some great ideas!

          Check out the Alaskan Entrepreneurship resources

Copying Successful Business Models:

In the past, business as usual was a pattern of writing a business plan in order to apply for a loan which often paid for rental of a store or office, hiring staff, purchasing manufacturing equipment and materials, marketing and shipping your products and ideally making a profit, repaying the loan and becoming wildly successful.  While 86% of new jobs do come from microbusinesses with less than 12 employees, most small businesses fail in the first few years. There are risks in starting a small business and extensive resources and services are available to help you learn all about the risks and opportunities. It can take a fair bit of time to learn all about these risks and opportunities before you feel ready to apply for a loan and start a traditional business. (Lesson one gave you rich resources to online courses from the Small Business Association and others to learn about the traditional business start-up process.)

The Art of the Start – Starting a Business Without a Dime

On the other hand, with 2 billion Internet users due online by 2010, just six months away, doing business online is anything but business as usual. The rules have changed. You don't need a loan, or store front or manufacturing equipment or many other expensive items to start a global business. As many successful online businesses have already demonstrated, many by teenagers, you can create a global online business web site for no money and if you know how to get started with E-marketing anything is possible.  There are many books on how to do this such as "Bootstrapping Your Business" by Greg Gianforte, who started in his bedroom and now runs a $100 million a year company, www.rightnow.com   Another book is “Smartups” by Rob Ryan. You can buy used copies at www.amazon.com

Greg's advice, is the same as many others: Just get a sample product online and ask for suggestions on how to make it better and grow your business based on quality feedback and the results your product can deliver, one small step at a time.  The pace of innovation on the Internet is so fast that books tend to be obsolete before they are published. Web sites, E-newsletters, and simply following the innovations on the type of web-based business you want to create, are likely to give you more current ideas on what is working or not working. It is common for all web businesses to carefully watch their competition for new ideas to copy, often the same day.

One option is to explore Venture Capital organizations who specialize in investing in start-ups. However, they expect to then own a major part of your business once it is successful. Google, Apple, Ebay and many others got started this way. Venture Capital organizations can provide you with the expertise you may lack.

The National Venture Capital Association can be a place to start www.nvca.org

Tech Start Up Basics: Your elevator pitch, value proposition, market positioning
                                                and secret sauce

Any way you look at this, you will have to learn more on what has worked for others so you do not repeat the mistakes on what has proven not to work for others. This lesson will give you a few great resources to begin your education on starting up an Internet business.  If you don't need money to get started, then all you really need is the motivation to try your best.

The Elevator Pitch:

Whether you are asking for money or just telling someone about your business it is common advise to be ready with your elevator pitch one-minute description of your business. The idea is that if you step in to an elevator with a venture capitalist you would have just a minute to capture his or her interest in your great business concept.

EXPLORE:  Spend at least 15 minutes reading the article and
                       viewing at list one “pitch” video at the Pitch TV site below:

Richard Branson is a great model "serial entrepreneur." He has created many interesting new businesses, such as Virgin Airlines and "Pitch TV" below.

Full Story: http://www.springwise.com/tourism_travel/pitchtv/

http://vator.tv "The voice of the entrepreneur" - Connect with and learn from other entrepreneurs like you.

Your Value Proposition:

Your value proposition is simply what your business provides that is so great people should buy it from you instead of going elsewhere. What makes your product or service better?

Your Market Positioning:

Your Market positioning is your description of who you are targeting for your great product or services. As you develop your media literary and watch TV commercials, web ads and other advertising pitches, try to become more aware of who exactly are they marketing to, and why.

Secret Sauce:

What do you have that no one can simply copy and compete directly with you to ruin your business? This unique intellectual property or advantage of your business is often called your "secret sauce." Watch for the term as you surf "start-up" sites and as you look for great ideas to "borrow" keep in mind that somehow your business must have a way to protect you from others copying everything you are doing. Some businesses offer a local service and can be copied successfully in many local communities.

Other business models may focus on niche markets such as www.quiltuniversity.com which offers an online quilting course. The smarter businesses use social media to get the word out about their businesses and to establish a following. The more web sites that have your business web address, the higher your ranking is for google searches related to your business. (See lesson one for links to E-marketing lessons and for tips on finding "the top ten E-marketing tips.")

 EXPLORE: Spend at least 15 minutes viewing “The Rule of Powerpoint”
                    web sites:

As shared in previous lessons, Guy Kawaski has a book "The Art of the Start" and a blog with tips on pitching a business and the whole start-up process. Guy started at Apple and helped create the first Mac personal computer. He is a serial entrepreneur which means he starts one business after another. One of his most recent successes is www.alltop.com which is a blog that provides summaries of the best blogs by topic, for example, see his postings on "venture capital" and be amazed at the value he has created by gathering and sharing the best of the best from many popular blogs.

How to Change the World: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

How to Pitch your idea: http://rockhealth.com/2011/11/guy-kawasakis-six-minute-pitch-advice/

One last unexpected success story

Some guy in San Francisco thought it would be nice to help people post classified ads online for free. He was not trying to make money, just help people. www.craigslist.com  hosts free classified ads in 570 cities worldwide. However, most newspapers depend on classified ads as a major source of revenue and have you noticed most major newspapers are going out of business? At issue is what new business models are "disruptive" which means they destroy other businesses. You need to be sure whatever business model you are trying to copy is not already known to be going away forever.


Revenue at Craigslist Is Said to Top $100 Million

As the newspaper industry and its classified advertising business wither, one company appears to be doing extraordinarily well: Craigslist. The company, which promotes its "relatively noncommercial nature" and "service mission" on its site, is projected to bring in more than $100 million in revenue this year.



Share your thoughts on the themes, links, and readings in this lesson either by posting a NEW POST in our  Google Groups Discussion or by sending an email to everyone via our academy listserv email address:  loneeagleacademy-L@netpals.lsoft.com

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