When developing the “Start Me Up!” clinics for our HEAT clients, there were a number of possible names bounced around: Launch Me, Catapult My Business, Success Slingshot, Market Rocket, etc. They all shared the same intent as the “Start Me Up!” name finally chosen, specifying that the clinics would provide entrepreneurs with tools and information required to successfully launch their ideas into well-positioned, growing ventures. Judging from the feedback provided by past clinic participants, we have lift off! Comments have been unanimously positive, including “The clinic was the best session that I have attended since starting my business, and I have been to many. Thank you!”
The clinics answer three basic questions faced by business founders: Is there a problem? Can you solve it? And can you make money doing so? And they use three tools to do so: Value Proposition, Minimum Viable Product, and Business Model Canvas. The clinic instructor uses examples, stories and real-life client situations, to make the concepts come alive.
Clinic #1 focuses on your business’ Value Proposition. This is a concise and clear statement of your target customers, their problem or need, and the solution (or value) you provide to address it. Getting your VP right is crucial; it’s your “brand”, and is the promise you are making to your customers. It will be part of every networking meeting, sales pitch, request for funding, grant application, etc., you are going to make. The clinic provides tips to ensure your value proposition is strong and effective.
After the first clinic participants are sent away with homework – they need to validate their value propositions with potential customers. One tool that helps in this validation is Minimal Viable Product. Basically you use an MVP to expose your idea to customers for their feedback. To save time and money, and to avoid making costly mistakes, you should use the “minimum” form of your product possible. This might be as simple as just stating your value proposition, through to a working prototype. The full range of options is discussed in the clinic.
Finally, Clinic #2 shifts from focusing on your customers, to focusing on you (and your business). Using a tool called the Business Model Canvas, you’ll develop a plan for your business, including identifying where are you going? How will you get there? And what are your priorities? Emphasis is placed on not just writing words down, but actually crafting a plan that creates a sense of purpose and generate s momentum. Again, examples and real-life “how to’s” are provided to help you make your business plan come alive.
Find out all about the Start Me Up! clinics for yourself, and give your business-launch a boost, by signing up today for the two-clinic series. One clinic held a month, on the third Wednesday morning of the month. See details at http://haltech.ca/events/