Posted tagged ‘Entrepreneurs’

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.

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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.

Perfecting the Business Pitch

February 4, 2009

In our second Launchpad class of the quarter, we had homework from the first week. It was to make our 30-pitches better with the feedback and deliver them better through practice. We all got up and pitched our new ones. We tweaked them again based on feedback from students and professors again. I pitched our most recent one and from the feedback we got, and my teammate Chris changed it and re-pitched it a couple of minutes later, and we tweaked it again from more feedback. Everyone did much better and had more polished pitches. Some were really convincing that didn’t need much change.

The second half of class was discussing the business pitch presentation template. We went over the template and discussed the importance of each slide and what we need to accomplish in each slide. We have to start this presentation and present some of it next week.

Not much else to say other than grinding out our business plan. Next week’s class should be interesting seeing the different approaches to the template.

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.

Find it, Solve it

February 3, 2009

This quarter we, the business freshmen, are taking Communications II. Communications II focuses on communication as an entrepreneur. We began with a prayer, a reading from Sirach 31:1-11. The passage is about God and money. We discussed the lesson: money is necessary for survival, but don’t get consumed with it. The reading was very appropriate reading considering that the remainder of the quarter will be spent learning how to make money.

The lecture was about the traits of an entrepreneur. It focused on how to form and orient oneself for success. We are learning to train ourselves to be observant, and build a spirit of inquiry. With these practices we will be able to find pains or needs in our society and develop a solution. The solution we find will eventually become a product. Hopefully that product will be the fuel of a business.

After the lecture we worked in a group exercise. We evaluated ourselves on how we fit into the entrepreneurial team, and where the best use of our talents would be. Then we discussed the barriers that hold people from accomplishing success in the business world. The class homework for the week was to find ten pains in society and bring them to class to be discussed. This class is very exciting; we are learning how to find ideas by become tomorrow’s problem solvers. It really puts words into action.