Posted tagged ‘business ideas’

This Quarter’s Focus: Action

February 4, 2009

So we finally are entering the final stretch of the Business LaunchPad. We the graduate this December and we have 11 months to get ready. The students are ready. They have the process down. Professor Iocco shifted gears with the class. We now only meet one and one and our homework is to meet the individual needs of each group’s business. Some kids will have to read a book, another will have to do market research, and some will have to start making films. The big word of the quarter is action. We have the presentations down. We just are working on the actual ideas and making them a reality. It is a very exciting time and you can feel the urgency in the air.


Passion to Succeed

February 4, 2009

Last week it seemed that every professor was lecturing about passion in some way or another. It apparently woke up a lot of students and forced them take a hard long at their ideas and business models. I would say half the class changed their idea this week. But this is welcomed and encouraged. Our professors have come across a multitude of people throughout the course of their careers who have novel business ideas that they later find are unsustainable, which leads them to abandon not only the idea but also their life as an entrepreneur. The LaunchPad process is the antidote to that problem. It forces students to think of a new idea and pursue it. Students will hopefully go through numerous ideas at JP Catholic. The idea is to get one to stick really well.

This past week, people were going through the fleshing out process much faster than anytime previously. Students were able to go through ideas and make them more concrete within the LaunchPad. The ideas were presented and new directions were given. Although so people are starting over, it’s not really a big deal, as they are more passionate about it, which leads them to plow through the details much faster than before.

The ideas were getting more interesting and more exciting. You can really see the pulse of the LaunchPad growing. People are getting more excited, more intense, and most importantly more passionate.

Evolving Ideas

February 4, 2009

The last couple of weeks were a transition period for numerous groups, including me. We pitched our rough ‘new’ ideas and got back incredible feedback, which let us focus our research. The coolest part about the LaunchPad is seeing the evolution of the ideas from the feedback of a room full of entrepreneurs trying to help each other’s business. It’s incredible and a great method that leads to the adoption of new ideas. They get to the breaking point (is this business idea worth pursuing or not) much faster than before. Some of the more developed ideas are getting ready to be pitched to investors for money very shortly. Some of the ideas are polished enough to try prototype services and products. It will be interesting to see some of the results of the beta tests and what each group decides to do. Keep on the lookout for something services out there.

Business Launchpad: The Art of the Start

February 4, 2009

The third class was interesting. The first part was spent in discussion of the reading of the textbook The Art of the Start. If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, you should definitely pick up a copy.

This is Amazon link to purchase it: Click Here.

The book was great read, at least the chapters we had to read for that week (Ch. 1 & 3, in case you were wondering). The first section we discussed was pretty much a call to action, telling us to get off our butts and go do what we want to do. So that was a reality check. We get into this academic analysis-paralysis mentality where we can’t do anything until we think of absolutely every possible issue or problem and their solutions (I include myself in this category). The second section was tips for pitching a business, which was relevant to class and there was some good advice in there as well.

The second part was listening to people present the first 3 slides of the their business pitch presentation. We tweaked our pitch again in front of class and this is by far the most compelling it has been, which is very exciting. Each group also received a lot of feedback for each slide they presented.

Again we are grinding away. More of the presentation is expected to be done next week, so it’s back to grindstone.

Working on the Pitch

February 4, 2009

One of the most important things we learn at JP Catholic is to be effective communicators whether in business or in the media. These are some of the most important skills any individual can acquire in business school, and at JP Catholic they ram it down your throats. To highlight this, our class spent the first day writing and pitching our 30-sec pitches. We all wrote them and presented them and tweaked them through the feedback of the students and the faculty. What was really awesome was getting feedback from Professor Iocco, but even more awesome was getting feedback from JP Catholic’s Script Writing Professor, Professor Chris Riley. He has given pitches for movies in Hollywood and his advice was invaluable to the film projects and the business ones too. It was a great class and we all had fun raising the bar about who had the best pitch. In case you were wondering, Chris Lane had the better pitch for our laundry business than me.

After class my esteemed friend, Steve Marshall, and I attended a quick pitch competition hosted by an angel investor group. We watched 12 companies pitch their company to investors for real money. What we saw was 12 individuals that made the same mistakes at we all made in the first 3 years at JP Catholic. Hard to read slides, boring hooks, too little detail, too much minutia, all too common problems during the beginning of our education at JP Catholic. It was incredible to see these CEOs make the same mistakes that we made as freshman and sophomores. What blew me away even more was how anyone of the kids in our class could easily deliver a pitch on par or better than the ones we heard that night.

We again only had one day doing it. Going to events like the quick pitch competition, gets me excited about the education I am receiving at JP Catholic. It’s great to see how we stack up against other companies and I think we stack up pretty well in regards to skills. Still a lot of work remains, and I mean a lot. Everyone has to pour in a lot more time, but it’s cool to know that we have the tools to make it happen.

But to put it simply, I think the LaunchPad passed its progress report.

Business Launch Pad: What Is It?

February 4, 2009

So my job is to show you guys out there what is going on in the Business Launch Pad. So the first question that comes to mind is: What is the Business Launch Pad, Justin? You can look it up on the school’s website:Click Here

But if you want a student’s version of what it is, I am going to tell you. Well it is the final project for every student at JP Catholic, but it is not just an academic project. It is a platform to launch a real, breathing business. The project is part of the last six quarters of our time at JP Catholic. What is interesting is that every class that you take at JP Catholic has its end goal in supporting the Business LaunchPad. As an example, our marketing class’ final marketing plan was an initial marketing plan for our business idea.

Every professor is at a student’s disposal to offer invaluable advice and mentorship. This advice comes from true business leaders that have proven track records. Every business professor is an expert in their field as well as an experienced executive. To prove this, the chairman of a bank taught my economics class. The ability to seek advice from any professor is invaluable to the development and launching a business.

The school pours every resource it has at its disposable. If it doesn’t and you need a certain resource, they bend over backwards to get it. The school’s physical and intellectual assets also become the assets of any student venture. You are able to use their phones, internet, buildings, and really any typical business need. So instead of launching your company and taking on huge debts with non-strategic assets, you are able to save money and use the school’s infrastructure as your own.

What this means to us is that we are able to mitigate the risk of launching a new business. Everyone knows the failure rates for a new small business, but with the JP Catholic Business LaunchPad, you are able to dramatically decrease the failure rate with mentorship and cost savings.

The director of the LaunchPad is Professor Dominic Iocco. Here is a little about himself:

Family: Dominic and his wife Kate have three children. They currently attend St. Therese of Carmel Parish in Carmel Valley. Dominic and Kate grew up in Michigan and relocated to San Diego in late 2007.

Education: Dominic holds a BAA and an MBA.

Career: Dominic, along with his parents built a company that was a pioneer in the highly lucrative, and heavily patent protected inkjet cartridge business. Having developed some key intellectual property in the form of trade secrets around a novel cartridge refilling process, they were able to rapidly grow the business supplying inkjet cartridges to the wholesale market. Their company was acquired in 2007 by the world’s largest aftermarket inkjet and toner company. He also orchestrated the rescue of a failed PayPal competitor that had received over $14 million in venture capital. He was able to successfully stabilize and sell the operation. Dominic, in addition to his role at JP Catholic University, serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at San Diego’s CONNECT. In this role he is helping other entrepreneurs build their companies.

Check out his website.

It has all the information for the LaunchPad classes on there as well as student presentations.

Testing Ground

February 3, 2009

Its week two of Communications II class for us business freshmen. This week, we really focused on presenting business ideas as a story through a presentation. This class has become my testing ground. All the business ideas that I have are being filtered, so that I can research, present, and test my favorite one. We are taking our ideas through the process of creating a business plan, from researching financial structure to creating marketing approach. My objective is to be comfortable with presenting an idea for criticism by the end of the quarter. This class is a great opportunity to test an idea and find if it will be profitable in the future. This week’s homework is to create an excel spread sheet for a sales projection, profit and loss statement, and a cash flow statement. We get to use a simple template with example numbers, so it’s not that hard. It’s kind of fun to mess with the financial possibilities of an idea.