The Beginnings of a Business
There were many surprising aspects of working in the initial phases with my startup team. I never realized how many different aspects there were in planning a business, from the initial idea all the the way to product or service production and sales.
My group and I had trouble solidifying our idea and deciding what exactly our product would be. We had a few initial ideas, but then had to change those ideas several times. Our ideas were changed multiple times as a result of the research we conducted. We found other applications and products that were similar to what we were trying to create. In this modern era, when new mobile applications are constantly being made and thousands of applications are present in the apple and android app stores, trying to be different and distinguish our product from others proved to be a difficult task.
We are all so used to being users of services and products that we tend to not realize and notice a lot of the inner workings of a business. Often times when using a mobile application or a product, I fail to read the slogan or understand why something was organized or made in a certain way. I don’t think about how friendly the user interface is or how something looks. I just glance and overlook so many things. Only now do I understand that someone must have spent hours designing all these things.
Earlier in class we talked about what each startup group needs: a hacker, hustler, and a hipster. These three roles are extremely important to build a successful company. However, my startup team consists of hipsters and hustlers; we do not have a hacker. Since we are trying to create a mobile application, the lack of a hacker makes things more difficult. We had to do research and figure out how an app is made, how apps are put in the android or apple app stores, how apps are managed, and several other elements.
Once we had our idea, we didn’t really know where to begin with for our business model canvas. Something that my team used to guide us was the AIDAOR journey presented to us in class. AIDAOR stands for attention, interest, desire, action, onboarding, and retention. Thinking about these key concepts gave us a basis for starting. I think for startups, the business model canvas is more beneficial compared to the business plan. The business model canvas is very visual and flexible, making it easy to organize and sort your thoughts out. When starting a business, there are so many things to think about; the business model canvas almost makes it easier to think and also teaches you how to think. It clearly maps out the different aspects that need to be considered and also presents relationships between categories, allowing to develop a clear train of thought.
This past week, Shannon Lyons, the Executive Vice President of Flashstarts, came to speak in class. This was such a unique and valuable learning experience. Having the opportunity to learn from someone who actually uses and applies what we are currently learning about in her work life was very helpful. Shannon not only gave us many tips on how to structure and make a business model canvas, but also how to pitch an idea to investors. It was interesting learning about what investors look for in a pitch and how to we need to present information to them. Something that Shannon repeatedly mentioned stood out to me. She talked about how being passionate is key in any business. I think being passionate about what one does is an extremely important factor.