Saturday’s Nuts and Bolts, Part II

Throughout the day Saturday you may wear many hats. There are a lot of questions to answer and problems to solve. I covered the first three business facets in this postThe final four business facets are interesting and vital to your business’ success. They are:

  • Product/Service Design
  • Product/Service Development
  • Marketing
  • Business Model

What is Product/Service Design?

A simple way of looking at product and service design is understanding and applying user experience. Eric Eriksson at Instagram wrote a great article that explains the what, who and why of product design. I’ve also included an article about digital product design by Andrew Aquino, a product designer at Facebook. 

What is Product/Service Development?

Product/service development takes the design concepts and creates the product or service. Development is the implementation of design. While there can be some overlap between design and development, they are fundamentally different. Also, the product or service can be physical or digital. This means you could have a factory producing vacuums or a digital team creating games.The following articles will help you better understand product/service development.


Marketing is often confused with advertising and sales. Head over and read What is Marketing? A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing and end your confusion. The answers are clear and it covers the four P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.

I have used to learn about marketing strategy and consumer behavior.

The Tronvig Group out of Brooklyn, NY has an interesting way of presenting marketing strategy. Their blog has great articles that I hope you find useful.

What is a Business Model? defines a business model as “the company’s plan for how it will generate revenues and make a profit. It explains what products or services the business plans to manufacture and market, and how it plans to do so, including what expenses it will incur.”

Whew! Luckily we have great resources to rely on when creating our business models. I’ve included “What is a Business Model?” from the Harvard Business Review. The quality of HBR articles are worth the effort of creating a free account. You will have access to three articles. Choose wisely, you will not be disappointed.

One item I wish to include is the Business Model Canvas. I have worked with this in an online course and I know it will be helpful to you. The Business Model Canvas can be found here. Be sure to watch the 2 minute video that shows its power.

We’ve covered many topics today. You will have all weekend to work on your startup project. I hope the links I’ve included help you and your team create a viable business. Watch this space for an article on creating your presentations.

Saturday’s Nuts and Bolts, Part I

Saturday will be a big day for you and your team. There will be research, product/service design and testing, asking customers for feedback, and meeting with mentors. There will be delicious food and snacks as well.

You will be able to interact with several mentors and ask them questions. Our mentors are experienced entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts. They will answer your questions and help guide you towards building a strong foundation for your startup.

Yesterday I mentioned the following list for identifying the key facets of your business.

  • Market Size
  • Customers (go out and ask people for feedback)
  • Value Proposition
  • Product/Service Design
  • Product/Service Development
  • Marketing
  • Business Model

As you develop your business idea, be sure to ask the mentors questions. The mentors have a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer you and want you to succeed. Also, being able to answer and elaborate on these topics will help you create your 3-minute presentation and prepare for the judges’ Q&A. You want to show the judges the strength and potential of your startup.

Let’s use the list above and dive into the specifics that you will discover about your startup idea. I will cover the first three topics now and address the final four in another blog post.

What is your Market Size? defines Market Size as “the number of individuals in a certain market who are potential buyers and/or sellers of a product or service.” It’s important to know your demographics, buying patterns of potential customers, cost margins and more. Check out these great articles from

Who are your Customers?

Your team will want to find your targeted demographics and ask them questions. This is where you get to test your ideas, in the marketplace. These individuals will be spending money and/or time with your product or service so it’s important to collect data on a variety of related topics. The following articles will get you started.

What is a Value Proposition?

A value proposition is a statement of a product or service that solves a customer’s problem, delivers value, and tells the customer why they should buy from your company and not the competition.

For instance, have you ever wondered how Apple™ can transform a phone into something magical? They package the features of the phone into a user experience. An example is cell phone encryption. Apple™ presents the iPhone’s encryption capabilities with its’ easy-to-use Touch ID feature. In this instance, Apple™  simplified a technical topic into a feature that is easy to use and easy to understand and thus is an example of a value proposition. [The Touch ID feature allows the user to unlock their phone with a fingerprint. The key feature is how Apple™ keeps the fingerprint safe since they do not store an image of it. Apple™ converts it into an “intricate piece of math.”]

Visit this link at to understand the details of a value proposition and why your business needs one.

I hope you see the value in developing your business ideas. Creating products and services that solve specific problems is a fun and creative exercise. This is the Startup Weekend experience we strive to create. We hope you are looking forward to this weekend. We are!

I cover the final four business facets in the next post.

What to Expect on Friday Evening

Welcome to Startup Weekend Pensacola! This weekend we will be hosting a 54-hour event aimed at creating new business ideas.

There are distinct steps that occur throughout the weekend, so I thought I would start with Day One.

After a quick registration you will be able to interact with fellow attendees that are just as nervous. Be bold and introduce yourself. Ask others what they enjoy doing, why they decided to attend Startup Weekend, or the standard “what do you do?” One of the best things you will experience this weekend are the relationships you form with different people. Take the time to get to know them.

I know many of you are interested in possibly pitching an idea. Perhaps you’re intimidated or scared. That’s okay because pitching only lasts 60 seconds. It’s almost more nerve-wracking standing in line listening to others’ ideas.

This week make a list of all your business ideas. Spend 5-10 minutes using Google and find out if those ideas have competition and, if so, what kind? Look at their ideal customers, their products and prices, and their attempt to connect with customers. Think of how your idea is stronger or unique. Does your idea capture a different audience, a larger audience, produce a better product or service, or provide more value?

The information you glean now will help you identify your strongest ideas. Select the top two or three and craft a 60-second pitch for each using the following outline:

  • What problem do you want to solve?
  • Why do you want to solve the problem?
  • How will you solve the problem?
  • Why is this problem important?

A strong pitch will help attract people to your idea which is important when everyone votes and forms teams. The top 10 or 11 ideas with the most votes move forward. Yes, you can vote for your own idea.

Once the voting is complete, the projects (ideas) will be announced and team building can begin. If your idea didn’t get enough votes to move forward don’t despair. Use the feedback you received to refine your idea. Perhaps you will pitch a stronger idea at the next Startup Weekend. Now look around the room and join a team whose idea intrigues you.

After quick introductions, your team will research the business solutions and decide on what you will do the next two days. Determine what you need to learn about your new business. The following list will allow you to gather the information you need for Sunday’s Pitch Event. These items will help you identify the key facets of your business.

  • Market Size
  • Customers (go out and ask people for feedback)
  • Value Proposition
  • Product/Service Design
  • Product/Service Development
  • Marketing
  • Business Model

Brainstorming and discussing the business will be an exciting and dynamic time for each group. Value the input of others. Collaborate and create a plan of action. Go ahead and get started or call it a night. Saturday will be a big day!