Building the Dream Team

As a business development expert, startup mentor, and angel investor, Shannon Lyons was able to provide an unique entrepreneurial perspective that a lot of students were interested in hearing from. She holds multiple influential positions in which she is able to have a direct impact on the innovation and entrepreneurship process. Therefore, getting the opportunity to hear her perspective on topics such as the Business Model Canvas and startup practices and strategies was truly enlightening.

On the day that start teams were formed, I defined myself as the “Hacker” because I felt that it best described my engineering background and attitude towards solving complex problems by putting the right systems in place to do so. As other students gave their own pitch’s, I made an active effort to listen closely to those who defined themselves in the other two categories, “Hipster” and “Hustler”. I definitely wanted to join/form a team that consisted of people who had a set of strengths unlike mine because I believe that in order to have success as a startup, diversity of thought is necessary. So when it was time to break into forming teams, I went on a search for my “Hipster” and “Hustler”. Luckily, I found both! The biggest surprise in the initial phases of working with my startup team for me has been how quickly we’ve been able to work together. When a balance exists among team members in terms of roles and strengths, the team is able to build off of this solid foundation and simply work effectively. I wouldn’t say everything has been completely smooth sailing, but we have certainly tackled the few road blocks we have come across so far. One interesting example is how we all had our own previous startup ideas or products. We initially wanted to work on our own ideas/products but submit one as a group for a grade. Upon realizing that this would prevent us from truly working together as a group and being on the same page every meeting, we quickly scrapped the idea and moved towards flushing out one idea or product so that the team had a unified goal. Another example was how everyone had somewhat different visions on what our biggest customer personas were. After some discussion and due to the fact that we were able to choose multiple personas, it wasn’t a big issue, but it did reaffirm how we think differently as individuals, which should in turn make us a more cohesive group!

In addition to the benefits I talked about in my last post, a benefit that the Business Model Canvas has over the traditional plan is that it provides the reader with a more holistic sense of the product vision. I feel as though no background is needed to glance or even review a Business Model Canvas. Anyone should be able to share and inform a third party all about your product and business after diving into your Business Model Canvas. Whereas a traditional business plan might contain dense vocabulary related to the idea or product’s field. The Business Model Canvas simplifies nearly every important subject about a new potential business into one diagram that naturally forms relationships between categories.

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