Monday, September 2, 2013

Business Idea-itis

I come up with business ideas all the time, probably three to four times a week. It would be impossible for me to execute every idea I have. A lot of them are probably impractical, but how do you know when something is going to work?

I was clueless

Some time close to the summer of 2012 I started to make use of more Lean Startup style methodologies. Looking back at a few business ideas that I actually started to develop made me realize just how much my approach has changed over the years. Nowadays my biggest goal for a business idea is to identify how to make it into a working business model. Nine years ago when we (we, being my brother and I) were starting, I certainly wasn't trying to figure out a business model. I was basically charging a fee for doing what I enjoyed. I used to say “I get paid to play with computers”. I literally spent two years writing a business plan, mostly so that I could demonstrate to persons that I was serious about this thing. All this time I was more or less clueless about what a business model was and how it affected anything. I suppose, somewhere embedded in my plan was a business model but it wasn't really front and center of my motivations.

The upcoming session on Business Models aims to share some of the process behind the Tutorate project and generally share what I'm learning about Business Model development. These are the things that I wish I knew about roughly nine years ago. 

Now I have a clue

In my words, determining whether a business is practical depends on refining the business model by performing a series of experiments. My first pass at any business model is always a hypothesis which must be tested to help me determine if my initial guesses were right. Tutorate is one of those experiments (should I say that out loud?). Tutorate’s core value statement is roughly something like “Rich learning experiences for the impatient”. That value statement is a summary of our initial guess. Our target audience is smart persons who don’t have a lot of time but need to become savvy with an important new concept that they can, hopefully, make use of almost immediately.

Learn more about Business Model Creation in our upcoming session.

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