Its 9AM and you only 8 hours left and there is still so much to do!
Validation never stops. You can never have too much feedback from your potential customers. Keep at it.
By now you should have a refined MVP that is either working on the web or on your local laptop. You will be working on it till the last minute before your presentation so keep building!
There will be some coaches and mentors coming around on Sunday as well. Use this time to get some feedback on what you have done over the 24 hours.
Preparing your presentations
All work stops and presentations start at 5PM sharp. You will have 5 mins to present your idea and demo the app. The presentation is followed up with 5 mins of QA from the judges.
Nick Stevens, an awesome organizer out of the UK has put together a great mini-guide on creating your Sunday presentations: http://www.slideshare.net/NickStevens1/sw-prishtina-presentation-101 and https://medium.com/startup-weekend/presentation-101-c4a356fcb16e
In NYC, we like to hold “presentation dry runs”. We have the teams pitch what they have done so far in front of some coaches/mentors to get some feedback. Each team will get 10 mins (5 mins for presentation, 5 mins for feedback). This is completely optional.
So hopefully this mini-guide helps you throughout the weekend. This guide is a living document and will get better over time with feedback from you folks. So if you have a suggestion on how to make this guide better, send them along!
Its Saturday morning. You are sipping on your coffee/tea while eating your bagel and wondering, “OMG WHAT DO I DO NOW?!?!?!”. Don’t worry! Here are some suggestions on where to go from here.
Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas allows the startup to document the 9 key areas of a business model. Rather than writing long paragraphs, each of the boxes is filled in with short notes to document the hypotheses associated with the specific sections of the business model. This approach allows the initial business plan to be documented in a couple of hours rather than months. Here is a great breakdown and explanation of the canvas along with some examples: http://www.slideshare.net/esaife/business-model-canvas-101
You should have your first version completed by lunch time so you can move onto customer validation.
As Steve Blanks says all the time, “GET OUT OF THE BUILDING”. Steve has a set of videos that really cover this topic well: http://vimeo.com/user2776234. It’s really important to talk to your potential customers. They may be in the same room/building, they may be across the street. They may be on Twitter/Facebook. Go find them and ask them the right questions so you can get the feedback that you need. Some sample questions are:
- Do you suffer from this problem? What apps/services do you use now?
- Would you use this idea/product? No? Why not?
- Would you pay $X.XX per month/year/one-time to use? No? What is an acceptable price?
- What features would be most important for you?
- Can get your email so we can keep you up to date with our product?
If you are collecting information via the Internet, you should create a form to collect your feedback. Google Docs allows you to create surveys on the fly: http://www.google.com/google-d-s/createforms.html
Take as much time as you need to work on your validation. You can’t accomplish everything you need in an afternoon.
Based on the feedback that you get, your assumptions will either be proven to be true or false and you will discover things you didn’t think about. Make sure to update your Business Model Canvas to reflect your new findings. (eg: “We discovered through our customer validation that our target audience is not really women, but men!” OR “Monthly subscription was too much. People preferred a pay-as-you-go model. )
The coaches and mentors will start to arrive at around 2PM. They will walk around the building and interact with all the teams. Feel free to chat with them see how they can help you. They were here to help you so make sure you take the time and chat with them. The mentors range from developers, designers, product, marketers, PR, founders and much more. There is bound to be someone that can help you with what you are trying to do.
For a full list of mentors/coaches: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/new-york-city/startup-weekend/4419
Startup working on your MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
Based on the feedback that you have gotten from customers, you should have an idea on what to build and what not to build. Here is a great article talking about different types of MVPs: http://scalemybusiness.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-minimum-viable-products/
If you have people on your team that can help start building it, then great! By all means, start laying your code. But if you don’t have the developers or designers that you need, don’t worry, you can still use plenty of tools out there to help you prototype your app/idea without laying out code.
WARNING: If you decide to go and only make wireframes/mockups, they had better be the best mockups/wireframes that you can produce in a weekend. Don’t draw a box on a piece of paper and say its your mobile wireframe. Bring your “A” game this weekend.
You only have 54 hours. We don’t expect your app to be scaleable to 1MM users. It doesn’t need to hook into every social network platform out there. Your MVP needs to show us (the judges) that you put some thought and effort into app. They know you only had 54 hours to work on it, do the best that you possibly can.
Forming teams is an organic process. You can join any team that you want to join. If you like someone’s idea, talk to them and see how you can help the team.
Some ideas will attract more people to it. So the way you pitch your idea is important (https://blog.up.co/2014/08/31/pitching-idea-startup-weekend/). Some ideas will find it harder to build teams. You may have to go out and talk to people individually to get them to join your team. You have to sell people on your idea and tell them why they should be helping you with your idea. This part of the evening is most chaotic and it is designed to be this way. Its going to be a tough process to recruit people to join your team. So push on through and build your team.
We found a correlation between successful pitches and team building: the better the pitch, the easier to build the team.
All teams must have a minimum of 2 people and at most 8 people.
What if I am unable to build a team or my idea wasn’t picked.
This is a natural occurrence. Some ideas will not be able to put together a team before the night is over. It happens. The WORST thing to do is to just leave and not return on Saturday. Please dont do that. You came all the way to Startup Weekend to learn about building startups and to challenge yourself. If you leave now, you will miss out on the learning you can do over the weekend. And worst of all, you will miss out on building new friendships with all the people around you.
So if your idea wasn’t wasn’t picked or you are unable to to build a team, find a team/idea that you like and join it. You will learn so much that weekend so you can apply it to your own idea after the weekend is over.
Cool, I got a team! Now what?
The clock is ticking away! Get to work! Get to know your team. Exchange contact information with each other. Start to discuss your various backgrounds and expertise. Asses what each other can do and get yourself ready to hit the ground running on Saturday morning.
Each person will get 60 seconds to pitch their idea to the audience. Only 10-15 ideas will be selected to move into the weekend. Pitching an idea is not an easy task. It takes practice to sell your idea & vision in 60 seconds.
As a reminder, you can’t pitch your existing business/app. Startup Weekend is designed to be the most effective platform for growing new businesses from the ground up over the course of a weekend. A key facet of the weekend and a central value for participants is the spirit of complete collaboration, buy-in and ownership. We’ve found that having existing businesses in the mix undermines this spirit, in addition to creating an imbalance between those ideas that are truly ground-level.
If you have an idea and you have been doing some customer research, researching on the internet, designed some wireframes, talked to businesses to see if there is any demand, then great! Thats fine. We expect you folks to do your own due diligence before hand. As long as you havent launched, have customers or an MVP of the app.
In 60 seconds you need to:
5-10s Who are you?
10-20s What’s the problem? Use this time to set up the story. How did you discover this problem? How can we (the audience) relate to it? How many people are affected by this problem? Build that connection to the audience to capture their attention.
10-20s What’s your solution? Mobile? Web? Something physical?
5-10s Who do you need? Developers? Designers? Product folks?
Take the time and practice your pitch. Practice in front of your friends and see if you can convince them to vote for you.