It’s a hard road you’ve chosen. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. However, if you insist, I’ve written a simple cheat sheet for you to constantly remind yourself if you are staying on the path.
Here it goes…
Make something people want – Paul Graham at Y Combinator
You’d be surprised how often people end up “making something I want”. After all, aren’t we all egoists?
Solve a big problem, the bigger the problem the bigger the opportunity – Vinod Khosla
99% of the ideas I’ve heard during my teaching/advising/mentoring starts out with an allegedly cool idea and not a painful problem.
Has someone solved this problem before? If so, can you do a better job? (aka competitive analysis)
The corollary is that if you found someone else’s solution after you’ve identified a problem it is likely not a painful problem for you because you never looked for the solution before.
How many people share this problem?* How much value are you creating by solving this problem? Quickly estimate the value of your solution and see if it’s worth further investigation.
Remember that resizing your market is a balancing act. The bigger the target market the more complex your solution. (Side note: Hong Kong is a very small market in terms of Internet size. If you target only HKG customers you better be offering a lot of value per transaction to make it worthwhile.)
Speaking of value, “no value, no customer”. Value is what makes users come back for more. Be very clear to yourself and others about your value proposition.
So, you think you have a solution that creates value. Can you list the assumptions you are making? Your aim is to use whatever means possible to quickly and cheaply validate your assumptions. How do you do that, you ask. This is the hard part; there is no formula. There are bags of tricks, like A-B test, false doors/buttons/offers, etc. Come ask me if you need help.
Do not achieve failure – Eric Ries
Following a business plan faithfully for an unproven business model will likely take you successfully to a business failure because most business models are not viable.
The entire process should be scientific. You start with a hypothesis (assumption), and design an experiment, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which returns data to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Collecting the data is important, and so is listening to your customers. They will both lead to a potential change in your business model. Big changes are called “pivots”.
An MVP is an experiment, nothing more. You should resist any temptation to add features/services/functions willy nilly without data to back up it’s utility. For example, if your assumption is that customers want a 3D view of your product, why not add a button offering it. Of course don’t surprise your customer when he presses this false button. Either tell him it will be coming soon or offer an alternative means. Build the feature only when you have enough interest.
Startup is a “temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” – Steve Blank
Picture an ocean of business models (see example below). The vast majority are not viable; ie. value created does not cover the cost of creating it. Your job as an entrepreneur is to navigate this ocean of business models to find land (viable business model).
One last thing. Starting a laundry service is not a scalable startup. Starting a new Internet search is a scalable startup. The more you take advantage of automation the more likely you can scale your value creation with great multiples.
Good luck and go change the world!
Article from William Liang, Ph.D.
* This does not apply to Blue Ocean thinking where you are solving a problem that does not exist in the consumer’s mind yet.
As a mentor, a typical scenario that I have often witnessed during Startup Weekends is that Friday idea pitches are either 100% business-focused or 100% technology-focused. This sounds obvious and it is, it’s a reflection of the person who gives the idea pitch. However, the value of Startup weekend has to kick in and often the team leader (who also gave the pitch) forgets that. For instance, a solution might be conceived to resolve an identified problem but the mechanics and execution of the idea might not be technologically feasible. On the other hand, I have also seen pitches that are viable with regards to programming and development but are not sustainable long-term as a commercial venture.
A big value of startup weekend is to substantiate and give “face” to your idea. Still a lot of team leaders forget to validate and iterate. Making a user fit is hard, harder than people think. If you are a charismatic business founder, it’s easy to convince your teammates that your idea should be selected and if you’re a technology founder, it’s easy to “wow” teammates with your technical skills. However, is that a user fit?
Therefore, one recommendation that I can offer to teams would be to first, validate your assumptions. As a start-up, your ideas will be based on a number of presumptions about the target market, their behaviors and needs. Ensure that your idea can solve that existing validated problem and second, check that it is within the scope of your team’s technical abilities to program the application or software. Use metrics to support your decision and your direction. In forming your hypothesis, the statement “We think” is incorrect. Instead, using phrases such as, “we know 1,000 people have this problem because we talked to every single one of them” provide a better basis for supporting your idea.
Talk to passersby, gauge whether they fit the profile of your intended customer and get their input on your product. In doing so, you can understand the consumer’s mindset, make adjustments to the original set of assumptions you made with your team and refine your product or service offerings. Evidently, the proportion of individuals that you arbitrarily discuss your products with may not be the customer you had in mind. However, their feedback may be invaluable in that you are able to determine how other market segments perceive your product.
With regards to growth hacking techniques, one method that I advocate and highly recommend using would be pre-written tweets. Users can click on a link and a Twitter dialogue box appears with content and call-to-actions which serves as an easy “share”. To conclude, a piece of advice that I’d like to provide to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to remember that the average relationship with an investor is typically longer than the average marriage. In other words, make sure that you and the would-be investor are compatible. As in any relationship, two-way communication and clear expectations build the foundation of a successful partnership.
Jeffrey Broer, Founder of Grayscale Ltd, Co-founder of Surround App.
Contact Jeffrey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jebbery
Interview with the 16-year old winner of SWCD (Chinese Version)
2014年11月14-16日，第二届成都创业周末在高新区目咖啡成功举办。本届活动吸引了超过100位参赛者的参与，组队13个，各种有趣的创意点子在这里点燃火花，最后由2名16岁的高中生带队的WTU脱颖而出获得冠军。其中的一名高中生Nono是我的一名学生，我还清晰记得活动开幕前一周她很兴奋地拉着我询问各种关于创业周末的信息，同时也表达了他们想要参赛的担忧。作为年纪最小的参赛者，他们的参与给整个活动带来了更多激情和活力。最后的获胜可能连他们自己也没有想到， 但是，创业周末就是这样一个奇妙的舞台，无论你从事什么行业， 处于什么年纪阶段，敢想你就来，说不定下一个桂冠就属于你！感谢Nono在繁忙的学习中抽出时间接受创业周末的采访，与大家分享她和同伴Jackson参与创业周末的难忘经历。
Nono: 谢谢Candy！很荣幸有机会参与到成都创业周末的活动。我叫范诗琦， 大家可以叫我Nono, 我和我的搭档Jackson是小学同学，现在都是高二的在校学生。
Nono: 看到你是组织者的一员以后，我很是兴奋，觉得创业周末离我们更近了。说实话，刚开始，我们很是犹豫和忐忑，作为高中生，没有太多的社会经验，我们不确定能不能够很好的融入整个活动。很幸运有Candy老师一路的鼓励和支持，告诉我们要相信自己，抓住机会展示自己，不要去担心结果, 尽情享受活动的过程就好，“If you never try, then you will never know!” 这些话消除了我们的顾虑，然后就毫不犹豫报名了。
Nono: 我们会被繁重的学业所束缚，很渴望更多的课余活动丰富我们的生活。作为学校杂志的主编之一，Jackson在搜集各校消息的时候发现很不方便，各校之间同学交流太少，然后他就有了建立一个平台供大家交流学习的想法。起初，他做了一个试用版的“We together”的app，以文学类作品的交流为主， 范围太窄和推广不够导致了项目的流产。之后他又想做一个更全面的，以社团为基础的平台，那就是今天的WTU.
Nono: WTU是“We together union”的缩写，目的在于为成都中学生打造一个良好的交流平台。以各校社团活动为主，帮助同学们了解到与自己有相同爱好的小伙伴都在干什么，激发同学们想要培养兴趣爱好的欲望，并从线上推广到线下的交流活动。
Nono: 当然！ 而且我也希望有更多的年轻人能知道SWCD，并且积极参与进来。年轻，没有什么不可以！
by Candy Gao
Candy Gao is a local Startup Weekend organizer in Chengdu, China. She’s an English trainer and teacher. Her English and Chinese language skills as interpreter and translator have helped bring Startup Weekend to a wider audience in China.
Chengdu’s 2nd Startup Weekend took place November 14-16 at See & Seen Coffee in the High Tech Zone. The event saw over 100 participants present over 40 pitches on Friday night and, after voting, form into 13 teams. The teams then competed over the weekend for the top prize and a chance to move on to the Global Startup Battle.
After only 54 hours, team worked hard to complete their product prototypes and business plans. On Sunday evening, they presented to a panel of four judges who included a mix of local and foreign investors and technical experts.
This time around the event was particularly inspiring since the winning team was led by two 16-year old high-school students!
获胜团队如下/ The winners and prizes are as follows：
WTU is a communication tool for students inChengdu, which provides both on-line communication and off-line events (such assecond-hand trading, various events of student hobby groups) to serve as an effective networking platform.
“Kitchen Guest” is O2O platform that connecst chefs, restaurants, food manufacturers and related service providers and hobby groups together. 厨房客 provides various customized service for various venture chosen by customers from specified hobby groups.
MarketMarket.com is a network for small business and professional marketers to connect and facilitate the promotion ofproducts and service from small business. The web-app serves both as a learning tool and as a meeting point for businesses looking to outsource their marketing to reputable marketing companies, or individual contractors.
看一下优胜团队都拿到了哪些奖品/ Check out some of the prizes received by the winning teams:
– 世服宏图服务式办公室区域1年的使用权。（成都香格里拉中心写字楼或成都航天科技大厦）. 1 Year Servcorp Serviced Office space workstation (Shangri-LaOffice Tower or One Aerospace Center)
– 雷格斯仁恒置地广场商务中心6个月的白金套餐，其中包括5天的高管办公室和 1天的董事会议室使用权. 6 Months Regus Yanlord Landmark Center Business Word Platinum Plus Package, incl. 5 days executive office + 1 Boardroom usage for a day
– ECFO提供的一年期的季度财务计划和年度财务计划评审服务. 1 Year financial plan and quarterly review by ECFO
-雷格斯仁恒置地广场商务中心提供的办公地址. A prime business address at Regus Yanlord landmark Center
-由DigiChina（网博会）提供的5-15小时数字营销咨询. 5-15 Hours digital marketing consulting by DigiChina
-由Uber（优步）提供的价值人民币2000元的代金券. RMB 2000 Uber Vouchers
Moreover, all attendees received 1 month free trial for Servcorp virtual office package and a 1 hour boardroom voucher
Congratulations to all the participants, and a special thanks to our mentors, judges and sponsors for making this another amazing event. Let’s wish the winners good luck at the next stage!
Qingdao to Host 1st Startup Weekend in Dec
Startup Weekend Qingdao will connect local entrepreneurs
and startup enthusiasts to share ideas and launch companies
Startup Weekend Qingdao is a premier entrepreneurship event designed to connect local entrepreneurs, developers, designers and startup enthusiasts with mentors and resources. The goal is to help transform people’s ideas into real products and companies in one weekend. Startup Weekends have taken place in over 700 cities and 120 countries and the first Startup Weekend in Qingdao will be held December 19th-21st at Tian Cyber Park in the Chengyang District. Throughout the course of the 54-hour event, attendees will share and present ideas, form teams, build and test products, and launch startups.
Leo Chen, a member of the organization committee, said “We are excited to see the ideas from a creative and tech savvy city like Qingdao. As our first event, we are looking forward to bringing together different communities, locals and foreigners as well as technical experts and business people, to celebrate, encourage, and support the technology and startup culture in Qingdao.”
Here’s how it works:
Friday- Participants pitch their best product ideas in 60 seconds, then assemble into teams with diverse skills sets to bring their ideas to life.
Saturday- Teams build their products, validate their ideas with customers, and pivot their concepts based on what they learn – experienced mentors coach teams and give them guidance.
Sunday- Finish development on your product, prepare minimum viable product and ready your presentation – conclude the day with presentations to a panel of investors and startup founders. Winners are announced and then participants can relax – time for the after party.
Startup veterans and mentors will be on hand throughout the weekend to provide expertise and give talks on their experiences in the fast-paced world of technology startups.
Startup Weekend Qingdao Mentor and Founder of Milestone Investing, Hongbo Gai said “There is a lot of talent in Qingdao, and we expect to see a lot of great ideas. It’s great that this type of event is happening in Qingdao, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Many thanks to our sponsors Tianan Cyber Park, Qingcloud, Mingdao, as well as our community partners, Qingdao Technology Incubator Association, Qingdao Technology
Startup Weekend Qingdao will be held on December 19th-21st at Qingdao Tianan Cyber Park. Please register online, and pay to reserve your space.Check out our website (http://www.up.co/communities/china/qingdao-china/startup-weekend/4656) for more information, and pass the info on to anyone you think may be interested or would be a valuable contributor to the event. Support Qingdao’s startup culture!
Why attend a Startup Weekend event?
Call us biased, but we think that there are dozens of reasons why you should come to a Startup Weekend! Since we know your time is valuable, we’ll only list the top seven:
- 知行合一 Education
创业周末是通过创造性行动来学习。不必被理论所困，建立你自己的策略，并不断去验证它。Startup Weekends are all about learning through the act of creating. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.
- 人脉搭建 Build your network
它不仅仅带给你欢乐时光，创业周末将吸引社群中最好的实干家，并通过花费一个周末的工作来搭建解决现实问题和可规模化的公司，你将搭建长期的人脉关系，并有可能获得一份新工作甚至是投资人。This isn’t just a happy-hour. Startup Weekend attracts your community’s best makers and do-ers. By spending a weekend working to build scalable companies that solve real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships and possibly walk away with a job or even an investor.
- 伙伴寻觅 Co-Founder Dating
创业依靠的不仅是好点子，更多的是好团队。创业周末是你能真正找到理想伙伴并一同创业的极佳途径。We all know it’s not just about the idea – it’s about the team. Startup Weekend is hands down the best way to find someone you can actually launch a startup with.
- 技能学习 Learn a new skill
迈出你的舒适区。奉献一整个周末徜徉创造力的海洋，创业周末充满着在新平台工作，学习新程序语言的最佳机会，或者只是想尝试些新东西。Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just try something different.
- 真实创业 Actually launch a business
超过36%的创业周末项目在3个月后变得更强大。约80%的参与人在创业周末活动后仍计划一同与团队成员或项目继续工作。Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.
- 会面“大牛” Get face time with thought leaders
当地技术和创业“大牛”们将作为活动的教练和评判。这里能获得同创业社群“大牛”们一对一会面的机会。Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends as coaches and judges. Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in your community.
- 加入全球社群 Join a global community
加入超过100,000人的创业周末校友中，只为一个任务：改变世界。Join over 100,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world.
The 10th edition of the Entrepreneurship Winter School will be be launch by ThinkYoung, Huawei and the University of Hong Kong.
ThinkYoung, the University of Hong Kong and Huawei are going to launch its 10th edition of the Entrepreneurship Winter School in Hong Kong. The programme, which will last 5 days, from the 5th to the 9th of January, will be hosting many entrepreneurs coming from all over the world, providing a great cultural mix. The aim of the programme is enabling participants to develop their business ideas and encourage them to reach their professional targets.
The Entrepreneurship Winter School is one of the ThinkYoung’s projects. It takes place twice per year both during the summer and winter in two different locations, Hong Kong and Brussels. ThinkYoung’s Entrepreneurship Schools were first introduced during the summer of 2010 in Brussels with the intend to help young Europeans who had creative start up ideas but did not know how to set up a business. However, up to date, the school has gained experience and has grown tremendously.
Through the Entrepreneurship School, they allow young entrepreneurs to unlock their true potential, which is done by helping them to build up their confidence and expand their skills to develop their entrepreneurial ideas. Christian, a French student from the Winter School in Hong Kong 2014, experienced this: “Overall, the visit here really changed my mind about shaping a company”.
Entrepreneurship School initiatives are possible because of the team of mentors who supervise and support the implementation of students’ projects. In the next edition, seven successful entrepreneurs are ready to help young people with creative start up ideas but without knowledge on how to set up a business.
Charles Mok will be one of them. He is one of the ICT industry pioneers in Hong Kong, as Honorary President of Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, former Chairman of Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association, and Co-founder of Internet Society Hong Kong.
Another speaker will be Alex Tang, the CEO of SXC Asia, who leads the company’s business expansion in Greater China. The School will also count with the participation of Cindy Ko, an influential fashion blogger based in Hong Kong. She has been featured in major magazines and covers many-large fashion events, including Fashion Week in New York and Australia.
Apart from them, our list of speakers will be fill with other successful entrepreneurs such as Joao Seabra, (founder of Jump Willy), Jim Coke (founder of Hilmann Reinier) and Simon Squibb (founder of multi award-winning).
Can Entrepreneurship be taught? Maybe this question does not have answer. However, the speakers will bring their experiences to the table in order to inspire the participants, all in a very didactic way. Away from the typical lecture approach, the Entrepreneurship Schools works with a unique methodology. They are not professors or boring lecturers, only exciting pioneers who can offer knowledge by sharing their experiences and giving the participants advices, which they cannot find in books.
What is clear is that the week from the 5th to the 9th of January will be full of activities for all students attending the school. “It is very intense. Every day, morning and afternoon, there are entrepreneurs talking to us, answering our questions”, said a student from the Summer School in Brussels 2014. “We learn lessons from their failure experiences. Now I know how to avoid same mistakes when I will open my company”.
During the week, the participants will also visit the headquarters of Huawei in Shenzhen, one of the biggest and most innovative technology firms in the world, founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei. The multinational has expanded from reselling PBX products to becoming a leading global ICT solutions provider. “The presentation of the company gave me the feeling that Huawei is like a big family”, mentioned by Dimitra, a Greek student who really enjoyed the School and company visit.
The visit in Shenzhen will enable the students to catch a glimpse of Huawei’s work and experience first-hand how the company innovates. Huawei has initiated a number of activities to boost ICT skills and entrepreneurship among young people, using its strategic position as a global ICT leader to reach out to students and connect them with opportunities.
Its Telecom Seeds for the Future programme for instance is an umbrella initiative launched to bridge the gap between what is learned and what is needed in the industry. “The Huawei president was taking time for us, it is not an usual thing that such a big company having one person just assigned to students. We are just students here” commented a student from the Winter School in Hong Kong 2013.
All in all, the 10th edition of the Entrepreneurship Winter School is committed to be an opportunity to students from over the world, where seven successful entrepreneurs will share their experiences and knowledge with the aim of making their students’ dreams true.
11月14-16日: 第二届成都创业周末, 快来围观丰厚奖品! 2nd Startup Weekend Chengdu
D: DigiChina 5~15小时市场咨询服务
– Servcorp成都虚拟办公室: 航天科技大厦，香格里拉中心写字楼
– Regus成都服务式办公室: 仁恒置地广场, 百扬大厦, 时代广场中心
Chengdu Startup Weekend Prizes
Thanks to all of our sponsors for helping provide great prizes; check out some of them:
A. 1 Year Servcorp Serviced Office space workstation Servcorp
B. 6 Months Regus Serviced office Business Word Platinum Plus Package incl. 5 days executive office + 1 Boardroom usage for a day at Regus Yanlord Landmark
C. A prime Regus business address at Servcorp Yanlord landmark
D. 5-15 hours digital marketing consulting with DigiChina
E. 1 year financial plan and quarterly review by ECFO
- 1 hour Servcorp Boardroom Voucher
- 1 month Free Trial for Servcorp Virtual Office Package
创业周末是啥？What’s Startup Weekend?
Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday and ending on Sunday, Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where anyone can share business ideas, get feedback from peers and create teams. Teams present their findings in front of local entrepreneur leaders, and get practical evaluation and feedback.
所以无论你是想成立公司，寻找合伙人，结交新朋友，或学到日常朝九晚五工作之外的新技能，任何人都可以从创业这个看起来有些乱但是很有趣的世界里找到乐趣。Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a co-founder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual job, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.
张严琪出生于成都，毕业于中国人民大学财政金融学院，加入Uber 之前就职于中国银行总行全球金融市场部，负责G7 发达市场货币的自营交易以及跨境人民币交易做市。张严琪同时负责全球市场部资金业务前中后台一体化系统(Murex)的建立。张严琪2014年6月加入Uber, 并在北京、深圳和成都等多个中国的城市启动Uber的产品和业务。
Yanqi Zhang, born in Chengdu, graduated as Bachelor of Economics in Finance from Renmin University of China. Before Uber, Yanqi worked 4 years in Global Financial Market Department of Bank of China Head Office. He joined Uber in June 2014, and has been working on Uber’s expansion in China,including launching of various Uber products in Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu.
Make friends. Build your idea. Improve your skill. Find a mentor. Start a company.
Price: RMB 200, includes food for the entire weekend, as well as unlimited tea and water.
Send us an email or go to our website.
Starting from today, Bridges Executive Centre (www.Bridges.HK) will share some important HK Business Startup tips with Startup Weekend participants here. Bridges has been in business for 10 years and helped over 8,000 locals and expats incorporate and grow their business in HK. We hope our provided knowledge can give you some insights and help you equip yourself with entrepreneurial skills for your next venture challenge.
Referred to the Q ‘Can I Set up a HK Company in 2 Days?’, the answer is ‘yes’, you can do so by purchasing a ready-made shelf company. As its name suggests, a shelf company is an entity that has already been incorporated and is available for selling now. It is legally registered in HK without any assets or liabilities.
This entity is popular for people who do not have preference in the company name and can’t wait too long to get it incorporated. Below please find the pros and cons comparison of a shelf company:
|Advantages of a Shelf Company|
|Short Processing Time||If you cannot wait until an all-new company is incorporated (usually takes around 10 working days), you can opt for a shelf company that only takes 1-2 working days to finish the setup. It is preferable for businessmen who stay in HK for a very short period of time.|
|An Almost Instant Option||Under some circumstances, you will need to do business immediately by having a company registration number on hand, like making an urgent business deal or entering into a tender.|
|Quick Bank Account Opening||If you opt for an all-new company setup, you will need to wait for around 2-weeks time to get the firm incorporated and bank account ready. Comparatively, if you buy a shelf company, you can open the bank account right away after the purchase, and start your money transactions quickly.|
|Various Business Nature & Longevity||At Bridges, our shelf company list has different kinds of business nature options for your selection, such as investment, IT, garment, etc. to fit your needs. What’s more, besides of those that are formed for months, we also have aged shelf companies for you to deliver reliable image to stakeholders.|
|Disadvantages of a Shelf Company|
|Limited Company Name Choice||When you buy a shelf company, you need to choose your company name from a given shelf list, and cannot specify your preferred company name from the beginning. However, you can change the company name after the purchase.|
|Maintenance Fee||Since a shelf company has been set up for a period of time already, it could incur different maintenance fees shortly after the purchase like Annual Return fee, accounting and audits arrangement fee, etc.|
Have any further questions? No worries. Feel free to ask here and a member of Bridges’ team will answer your questions shortly. And, don’t forget a discounted ALL-IN-ONE Company Setup Package with HK$1,000 off is now offered to Startup Weekend participants like you, click here to learn more details of the package and enjoy.
Participating in Startup Weekend Hong Kong in April earlier this year was an invigorating experience, one we heartily recommend to every member of the startup world. We had the honor to be mentors and can sincerely say that there is nothing quite like being in a room full of like minded people all chewing on the same meta problem, that of how to launch a business. It is exciting to watch and interact with the development process in fast forward motion, with passionate teams of smart, dedicated people tackling the main elements of the startup dilemma- problem, product, and profit- in just a single weekend.
Hong Kong is a hub of different cultures and world class centre of business and industry, and as such, SWHK teams are able to work on truly unique and interesting problems- always a big plus for startup entrepreneurs. On the other hand, one of the tougher challenges startups face here is how to address scalability. In many ways, Hong Kong can be looked at as two different cities with a majority local population who is preferential to being serviced in Cantonese and a far smaller expat population within which English is the lingua franca. Focusing exclusively on the expat market seems to have serious limitations.The best SWHK team are addressing issues faced by the greater Chinese market, the Asia region or, if truly ambitious from the get-go, ones with global reach.
One of the most engaging and inventive parts of the SWHK process in our humble view is the product creation phase. The energy from the teams is palpable as they brainstorm together and argue ardently in a sea of colored post-it notes and busy white boards. Whilst we found that many teams had potentially great products, few were in the ‘blue ocean’ vein. Creating a new product that must instantly compete to survive is time consuming, expensive, and difficult. Teams that look to create a product with no direct competitors- true disrupters- end up actually creating their own demand. They are able to use their resources to focus on execution instead of out-marketing the competition. When kicking ideas around, it’s important to ask yourself: Has this been done before? Can I do it significantly better?
Once the product is agreed upon, the teams need to work out how their ideas can make money. This part is quite possibly the most challenging. There are growth entrepreneurs. There are product entrepreneurs. There are customer entrepreneurs. Our aim is to be the profit entrepreneur. We live by the extremely wise tenet: Be profitable, not sexy. Building the next Facebook sounds like a great idea. So does creating the next World of Warcraft. But will you make any money? It’s easy to forget about the numbers. Us tech news geeks get our heads filled with stories of multi billion dollar valuation for companies without a revenue stream. Those stories are like Hollywood actors. Sure the lucky ones make it big, huge even. But 99% fail miserably and work at your local diner serving you coffee for the rest of their lives. We all want to work on the next Google, but the reality is many web platforms have shaky revenue models. Great startups have solid revenue streams and are able to convert their idea into actual sales. There is only so much advertising revenue you can generate without actual product/service sales. To make decent money from online advertising, you need around a million monthly page views- truly a Herculean task. Understanding your profit drivers is the most difficult part of business. If you can put together a plan to solve a a problem AND generate cash flow– well, you just might change the world and make money doing so.
Given the many pitfalls of entrepreneurship and the juggling act that is starting your own businesses, SWHK is a great place to work out some of these kinks before launching for real and we highly recommend the experience to any budding entrepreneurs around.
Sonalie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenqueenhk
Tracy on Crunchbase: http://www.crunchbase.com/person/tracy-turo