In the third installment of the 2017 New Venture Competition workshops, Matt Bailey, Director of Communications and Ecosystem Development at UCI Applied Innovation, discussed how to transform an idea into a business model. The 2017 New Venture Competition is a concerted effort between the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Paul Merage School of Business and UCI Applied Innovation. The competition is open to all UCI students, faculty, and researchers. It provides contestants an opportunity to form a team, develop a startup idea, and potentially secure early stage capital–all within six months. A series of workshops have also been developed and made available to competing teams providing vital tools and helpful advice.
Bailey started the workshop by describing a business model as the rationale of how an organization is created and captures value. Elements that are central to a business model include: an understanding of who the customers are (market need), the value proposition of the product, the relationship between a company and its customer (branding), the key partners and suppliers to the company, the key activity in your company (ex. Coding, etc.), and finally, the business cost and revenue. Using a business model canvas, attendees engage in an exercise, either mapping business models for existing companies or developing an outline for their own startup. Bailey explained that business models are easy to create and remake. It is an effective way to track changes and the evolving ideas around a product. He stated the goal is to focus on the left side of the business model which defines who the customers are and their needs.
Bailey then transitioned to the next segment of the workshop, discussing product market fit and value proposition. “More startups fail from a lack of understanding with their customers than failure from product development,” said Bailey. He emphasized that accurate market research requires going outside and talking to people. “There’s nothing more definitive than learning from experience. Go out and learn from customers, don’t sell to them. Instead, ask them questions and learn to adjust,” explained Bailey.
Concluding the workshop, attendees learned about the vast resources available at the UCI Libraries. Annette Buckley, UCI Business Librarian, showed attendees how to navigate the various research guides on the UCI Libraries’ website that contestants can use for the competition http://guides.lib.uci.edu/business.