Category Archives: Business Incubator

Lesson 3: Legal

This lesson provides a general overview of legal issues impacting entrepreneurs today including business structure, intellectual property, truth in advertising, patent law, and trademark law.

Required Outcomes

  • Students will create documents that outline what they need to protect and how they can protect the key components relevant to their business. This information should be stored in shared folder for future reference.
  • Teams will create an estimated legal budget that will be used in their final financial model.

Legal

Day 1

As a business owner, it’s important to protect both your personal assets and business assets. The links below are sample documents that you might fill out when establishing your business’s legal structure

Day 2

As a startup founder, it can be tempting to Google Image search pictures to be used on your website and social media accounts, but use of such imagery is likely an infringement on someone else’s intellectual property. The resources below offer images that are licensed under the creative commons and are intended to be used  for any purpose including commercial use.

Another way to ensure that your images are legally protected is to use images that you personally own.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. Learn more here:

Lesson 1: MVP Design

Students will explore the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP) and create/design an appropriate MVP for their business.

Required Outcomes

  • Design an MVP and identify resources needed to complete it
  • Discuss MVP with mentor and get feedback on proposed approach

MVP Design

Types of MVP Design

Your group will be assigned a specific type of MVP design to examine. Add a definition and example in the slide deck below (shared with you via Google Classroom) to your assigned slide. Use the resource below to help you get started:

Examples of MVP Types

Visit the link below to view a variety of sample MVP Types:

Team MVP Outline Assignment

With your team members, consider which of the aforementioned MVP Designs makes the most sense for your company, then complete the document below:

View a completed example in the space below:

Lesson 2: Web/App Development

This lesson covers the basic steps needed to create a web presence for the team’s product or service.

Required Outcomes

  • Students will understand the key components for plan, build, launch when creating web or mobile applications to communicate their business idea.
  • Students will develop a mock up website for their business that supports their MVP design.

 Web/App Development

Statement of Work

Outline and establish the scope of your project by writing a statement of work. This document will force your team to consider exactly what you are you seeking to build. Examine a sample statement of work for The Law Offices of Smith and Howard.

Once you understand what a statement of work entails, click the link below to write one for your company. Make sure you save this file into your team’s Unit 5 folder via Google Drive.

For more information about how a statement of work fits into a broader conversation of project management, see the following WikiPedia entry below:

Sitemap

A sitemap shows the relationship of the different pages on the website and can help determine the general user experience from beginning (the homepage) to the end (various destination pages). With your team, hand sketch your entire website’s sitemap.

Sitemap

Analytics

Web Plan Assignment

Click the link below to make a copy of the Web Plan Assignment document. Here your will keep track of three important overriding questions to consider as you build your website.

Web/App Development Terms

  • Designer: a person who plans, designs, creates, and often maintains websites.
  • Developer: a programmer who specializes in the development, or coding, of World Wide Web applications
  • Front-end development: the development of those elements of a website that the customer sees and interacts with directly.
    • Knowing which program to choose
    • Elements on screen (color, font or arrangement)
  • Back-end development: consists of server, application and a database. It is the brain of the website. It is where the customer interaction is stored.
    http://manningdigital.com/blog/2014/01/23/difference-between-front-end-and-back-end-development
  • User experience: involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service.
  • Static/flat page: is one where the page can only be updated through changes in the coding.
  • Dynamic page: is one where the page can be updated by the site owner/customer interaction without changing coding.
  • SEO (search engine optimization): the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.
  • Domain name: a unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website.
  • Server / web hosting: a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web.
  • Sitemap: a list of pages of a web site. Used as a planning tool for web design or a webpage that lists pages of a website.
  • Wireframes: also known as a page schematic or screen blueprint, is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website.
  • Statement of work/specs: a formal document that captures and defines the overview, requirements and timeline of a website to execute performance needed for user experience.
  • Mockups: a model or replica of a website, used for instructional or experimental purposes

Homework

Watch the  video below from start to 7:11. Then read the following article about the costs associated with building a professional website:

Lesson 3: MVP Funding

This lesson will provide guidance on how to estimate the costs for the MVP. The process for requesting funds and submitting expense reports will also be outlined.

Required Outcomes

  • Students will submit estimated expenses for development of MVP, and will understand the process for accessing funds. (this process will be school specific)

MVP Funding

Expense Tracking

Create a copy of the expense tracking document below, and begin listing all of the items, materials, products, services, etc. that you need to build you Minimum Viable Product.

Lesson 4: Preparation for Pitch

This lesson will outline the critical elements needed for the student MVP pitch presentation. Students will begin to create crisp, impactful and meaningful presentations

Required Outcomes

  • Create draft presentation and practice pitch for MVP funding request
  • Develop some best practice skills for presenting to an audience with influence

Preparation for Pitch

Presentation Exercise

Follow the directions below to create an impromptu presentation to practice speaking in front of a small crowd.

  • Select a topic from the jar
  • Develop a hook to capture your audience’s attention
  • Tell us about your topic

Unit 8: Pitch Your Story

Students will journey to the completion of their year long entrepreneurship experience. The year will culminate with teams pitching their business story to investors. This will be the classroom version of “Shark Tank.” The content of this unit is heavily focused on developing the financial story that supports whether a business idea and team should be awarded funding to continue and pursue their idea. Students will use analysis of their financial model to determine if their business model is repeatable, scalable and worth funding.

Schools will choose whether the student pitch is an academic activity only or a pitch for real funding dollars. Regardless of the path, all students will learn the process of developing a pitch to investors which includes: clearly presenting their product solution, the problem they are solving, the evidence they have gathered during this course to support further pursuit, and the financial viability of their model.

Enduring Understandings

  • Successful entrepreneurs are able to persuasively articulate their business idea to investors.
  • Starting a business requires money.
  • Starting a business requires a team that works together.
  • There are a variety of options for entrepreneurs to consider when looking for funds (money) to start their business.

Essential Questions

  • What sources of funding should I consider to start my business and what are the expectations required of me to access these different resources?
  • How can I work effectively with my team to promote our product or service to investors?
  • How can I utilize effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills when presenting to investors?

Expected Outcomes by end of Unit

  • Teams will update and optimize all their inputs to their financial model. Students will assess the outputs of the model determine the financial health of the business and build the story for why they are seeking investment.
  • Students will put their business story together. That is, summarize their business concept and their learning from their MVP experience, and the financials. Students will develop a funding request, practice presentations skills and present their business idea with a recommended investment request.

Key Terms

  • COGS
  • SG&A
  • Net profit
  • Operating profit
  • Gross profit
  • Valuation
  • Capital
  • Liquidity Cushion
  • Bootstrapping
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Friends and Family
  • Angel Investment
  • Venture Capital

Unit 7: Promotion

This unit begins with an introduction to the art and principles of Storytelling and how entrepreneurs craft meaningful stories for influence. Students will discuss effective storytelling techniques and get the chance to practice these techniques when crafting the story of their team through this course. Next, students will begin to understand how to build awareness and promote their business with the goal of getting customers. Students will develop marketing and sales plans for their company. Plans will include selling strategies, promotional tactics and will have corresponding budget estimates. The plans created will be used to complete the “Customer Relationships” and “Channels” sections of the team’s business model canvas. It is recommended that coaches with expertise in sales, marketing and small business communication lead instruction throughout this unit.

This unit is closely tied to the concepts introduced in Unit 2-Customer Discovery, and Unit 3-Customer Connections. Help students make the connection with reference to the key outputs they created in those lessons. Important referenceable documents include; customer empathy maps, customer personas, positioning statements and channel maps. Teams should be able to see the need and benefit of updating these documents based on evidence they are gathering with their MVP tests.

Enduring Understandings

  • Marketing shapes the public’s perception of a product and can make it more desirable or memorable.
  • With limited resources, start-ups critically evaluate and prioritize how to spend money to grow a business.
  • Successful entrepreneurs know their customers well and adjust their sales approach accordingly.

Essential Questions

  • What is the purpose of storytelling and how does it apply to business and entrepreneurship?
  • How does my team promote our product to match the demands of the market?
  • How does my team utilize information we have collected on competitors to make marketing decisions?
  • How do different communication strategies impact the financial viability of my business?

Expected Outcomes by end of Unit

  • Students will create a presentation for their team’s story. This will be used to help their creation of a final pitch presentation in Unit 8.
  • Students will determine a sales approach and write an action plan.
  • Students will develop a communications strategy and estimate costs of this marketing budget.

Key Terms

  • Storytelling techniques
    • Emotional hook
    • Call to action
    • Appropriate language
  • Marketing Tactics
    • Attending trade shows
    • Foot canvassing
    • Traditional ad buys
    • Digital ad buys
    • Social Media
    • Providing value
  • Sales Planning
    • Characteristics of a salesperson
      • Generally knowledgeable
      • Persistent
      • Resilient
    • Tactics
      • “Cold calling”
      • “Warm calling”
      • Team sales
      • Listening to the customer
    • Strategies
      • Referrals
      • Research
      • Understand your product/service

Shareback

Students will present an update on MVP test learning, changes being made and how this will shape their business story and marketing plans.

Preparation for this exercise will help prepare students for the final pitch and marketing section of the pitch. You will be graded according to this rubric. Follow this structure for your presentation:

  • Introduce team and company via an elevator pitch.
    • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
    • How will you be solving the problem (solution)?
    • Who has this problem (customer segment)? What value do you provide them?
  • What is the status of your MVP testing at this moment?
    • Discuss your key metrics and how close/far away you are in achieving them?
    • Based off of your current metrics, timeline remaining and budget status, what are your next steps to continue/aspire to achieve those metrics?
    • Based on your progress and communications with early adopters, what have you learned about your company?
  • What are the key components of your business story?
  • Conclusion
    • How will you conclude your presentation?
    • What part of the testing plan will you focus on next?
    • What changes need to be made based on your learning so far?

Unit 6: Validation/Experimentation

At this stage, students begin testing their more refined business model assumptions which have evolved into an MVP. The goal of this phase is to validate Product/Market fit by placing the MVP with potential customers and measuring the response. Students will launch and measure the effectiveness of their MVP with tracking tools and through the interpretation of results. A critical understanding is that testing will lead to adjusting (iterate or pivot) their model which will lead to better validation of its potential. Teams will develop project management skills and establish responsibilities. Students will need encouragement to experiment and be open to change. With a mindset that is open to learning students have the opportunity to evolve their idea with greater odds of success.

Enduring Understandings

  • Successful entrepreneurs develop clear plans to guide the experimentation of any new idea.
  • Entrepreneurs continually refine their ideas and plans based on data and feedback.

Essential Questions

  • What role does planning and delegation have for the team in implementing your MVP tests?
  • How can my team best utilize data analysis to inform decision about the business?
  • What legal issues should I be aware of as I create a business and engage with customers and vendors?

Expected Outcomes by end of Unit

  • Practice team communication and delegation with effective project management strategies.
  • Launch the MVP with customers. Collect and analyze data to validate assumptions.
  • Communicate MVP findings and begin to revise ideas and tests based on data and feedback.

Key Terms

  • Implementation Plan
    • What
    • Who
    • When
  • Gantt Chart
  • Project Management
  • Project Management Software
    • Basecamp
  • Minimum Viable Product Validation
  • Data Collection
  • Short Feedback Loop
    • Build, Measure, Learn
  • Product Market Fit
  • THREAD
    • Teamwork
    • Honesty
    • Respect Excellence
    • Accountability
    • Drive
  • Intellectual Property
    • Trade Secret
    • Copyright
    • Design Patent
    • Utility Patent
    • Trademark

Shareback

Each team will make a 4 to 6-minute presentation to share with the rest of the class. You will be graded according to this rubric. Follow this structure for your presentation:

  • Introduce team and company via an elevator pitch.
    • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
    • How will you be solving the problem (solution)?
    • Who has this problem (customer segment)? What value do you provide them?
  • Explain your MVP test results to date and learning
    • What are you doing for your MVP? What parts of your model are you trying to validate?
    • What data/metrics will you follow to ensure validation
    • What is your current progress towards achieving your goals?
    • Based off of your current metrics, timeline remaining and budget status, what are your next steps to continue/aspire to achieve those metrics/data?
    • Based on your progress and communications (quantitative and qualitative) with early adopters, what have you learned about your company?
    • Early adopters being participants in your concierge MVP or those that have provided contact information (highly motivated potential customers).
  • Conclusion
    • How will you conclude your presentation?
    • What part of the testing plan will you focus on next?
    • What changes need to be made based on your learning so far?

 

Unit 5: Building Your MVP

During this unit, students will develop an abbreviated prototype of their business to test the efficacy of their idea before bringing it to full scale. This is called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Each team will present their MVP and funding proposal to your programs Board of Directors (or advisors) who will provide each team with valuable feedback and possibly a small amount of funding to launch their MVP. A Board of Directors is recommended but not necessary. The Board of Directors (BOD) can be created from local community members who serve as the steering committee for your local INCubatoredu class. It is important the BOD understands the class methodology, BMC framework and purpose of the MVP to add value during this process.

The unit begins with an introduction and description of MVP design. Students are then introduced to the basics of website design as it provides a likely vehicle in which students will choose to develop and/or communicate their MVP to customers. The unit concludes with students presenting to the BOD and asking for small funding dollar grants to enable them to test their MVP. Students are not asking for funding to build a fully functioning and developed product. As students learn, that is not the purpose of the testing process they aim to complete through MVP validation.

Enduring Understandings

  • Entrepreneurs validate their business ideas by bringing abbreviated versions of their product/service to the market called MVP’s.
  • Entrepreneurs continually refine their ideas and plans based on data and feedback from customers.
  • Successful entrepreneurs are able to persuasively articulate their business idea to investors.
  • Accurate records and data are critical to analyzing the success or failure of the MVP process.

Essential Questions

  • What is the best type of MVP to launch to gain market data for validation of an idea?
  • How can I work effectively with my team to design and promote an abbreviated version of our product or service to the market?
  • How can I utilize my verbal and non-verbal communication skills when presenting to investors?
  • How can my team maximize the internet and technology resources to create an MVP what will provide evidence?

Expected Outcomes by end of Unit

  • Students will design an MVP and get feedback on it.
  • Students will develop initial cost estimates and utilize the MVP funding process.
  • Students will practice strategies for successful public speaking and present an MVP pitch to class and a BOD.

Key Terms

  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • MVP Designs:
    • Explainer Video
    • Landing Page
    • Wizard of Oz MVP (manual first)
    • Concierge MVP
    • Piecemeal MVP
    • Raise Funds From Customers (crowdfunding)
    • Single Featured MVP
  • Web Design and Development
  • Web Presence
  • Web Design Process
    • Plan
    • Build
    • Launch
  • Sitemap
  • Statement of Work
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)