This may be largely dependent on industry but, if you have the possibility to actually test out a concept before going into full scale business plan writing, development, quitting your job, do so.
Clearly if you hold in your possession intellectual property (IP) that will cost a few hundred grand to develop, then by all means start writing that business plan, get that executive summary ready, and go put a team together, but in the event your idea is something niche, has a specific market segment, is a B2C business then start testing the waters.
The best way to go about doing this, is to simply involve yourself in the community for your business subject online, whatever it is. We, for example at f3fundit.com, started looking around the startup scene here in Europe, and we noticed that there was nothing that really brought it together, there was an old expired EU initiative that was now defunct, there were tons of resources, but they were hard to find. Simply put we thought there may be a market for a site that brings all this info together, so we thought about putting up a database of all relevant information, a Wiki of sorts, but that’s just boring. At this time, I was working on another project, and started collecting information and writing basic articles for my own – now defunct – blog, that for lack of time, just never saw the light of day.
Put one and two together, and the next thing that we know we’ve got a blog, with some info on it in the resource area. Now time to see if this thing is going to even make an internet blip – seems it did, this site’s been growing, and best of all organically, no marketing, no adwords, so now we’re actually working on a few things behind the scenes that should bring added value to our visitors and likewise the European Entrepreneurship scene.
What I’m getting here at is, it costs us a total of what, a domain name, and hosting that we already had to see if there was any viability behind f3fundit.com. And there evidently seems there is – then I recall another project I was a part of back in 2002, no market research, no feelers sent out, the idea was launch now because someone’s going to do what we’re doing. The thing was rushed out the door, we ordered volumes of the stuff that just sat in inventory for god knows how long, and could have saved a lot of money and made a lot more money later by not learning form our mistakes and instead preparing ourselves adequately.
Remember, entrepreneurship is not just about the idea, it’s also about “smart” execution, an intelligent strategy where you, your team, and your product are ready to launch, and I mean truly ready to launch.
Remember the saying 1st impressions last a lifetime, the same more or less holds true for products. If you launch something which will be received as crap,your company will be seen as just that. Image may not be everything, but it’s a lot. Test the waters before you hop in, make sure that there exists a need before you start planning for the whole thing.
So you’ve got a problem, there’s a process and you just can’t seem to understand how to get around that process while keeping that something vital to your business model. You talk to your partners, they’re stumped as well, friends and family can’t help, and colleagues just don’t have the time to devote to the problem.
What do you do? Get a consultant. Sounds great except for the fact that these guys can charge a couple of hundred an hour and as a startup the last thing you have is a a few spare grand laying around that you can throw at someone who may not be able to provide you with an adequate solution. But there is good news.
And that good news is you’ve got access to consulting clubs and entrepreneurship clubs at universities and MBA programmes. Most majour cities will have at least one university that has a good enough MBA programme, and those students who are in those clubs will be more than eager to tackle any real world entrepreneurship, or consulting issues you may have. Why? Simple, it’s real world experience, and they’re learning from the real – day to day – problems of your company. Not only that they’ll be able to slap that bit about helping you on their CV’s and it’s sure to look good.
But aside from just contacting a club and saying “hey, I’ve got this issue” – turn it into something more, propose presenting your company to these students, and then pose your problem, ask them how they would fix it. If you’re a non-business type entrepreneur where you’ve just recently learned about i.e. business plans & P&L’s, but know how to say… rectify colon cancer (no pun intended), then the business help from these lads and ladies may be exactly what you need and are looking for.
Why not hire a MBA intern?
There’s even a chance that the person you’re pitching to could spend a few good months over the summer with you getting you an your company ready to pitch to the right people. If the relationship between your company and the school and some of the students is a good one, consider hiring a MBA intern.
In terms of a consulting club, this is a bit of a different approach as these guys are going for the MBBB (McK, Booz, BCG, Bain) group, and you should pitch your problem as a possible project for them. They’ll get hands on experience, and you’ll get a report that otherwise would have cost you a nice chunk of change.
Remember, as entreprenerus, we have to be resourceful, and utilize those resources around us effectively, and efficiently. Business schools are a great place to find those resources, the students are motivated and yearn for hands on real world experience. Why not give them what they need?
If interested in working with MBA’s – or if a MBA and interested in working with Startups – contact us – info @ f3fundit.com – we’ll put you in touch.
It took some time, but we’ve put together a list of what we assume are the most relevant events and conferences for the Biotech Entrepreneur. We say relevant for the entrepreneur because we have left out conferences on clinical / drug development, medical conferences, etc… and if you think we missed anything let us know.
BIO-Europe International Partnering Conference November 15-17, 2010 Munich, Germany
If you know of any other and worthwhile conferences or talks for the startup Biotech entrepreneur, let us know, and we will add to this list. Additionally, in terms of pure biotech-medical-pharma research. Head over to BioSpace – a really deeply designed database for the Life sciences community.
How do you start a Biotech Company? Good question, for the most part it’s like anything else, you have a good idea, you write a business plan using a well defined guide, and then proceed to get things off the ground.
But we’ll let someone explain it better than we could, this podcast comes from Absolute Science and Welltopia.com where Mignon Fogarty interviews her husband Patrick Fogarty a post-doc at Stanford who in the 90’s started his own Biotech Firm with next to no knowledge of business. However you’ll notice a lot of the same trends we’ve been discussing here, engaging executive summary, a hook for the VC, scalability, market size and identification, thus further pinning the belief that a majority of entrepreneurial concepts are transferable between industries.
The Wall Street Journal claimed in 2009 that it was a dire time for the biotech industry. New firms had little cash, and the outlook was grim indeed, then come January 2010 and we see a report indicating that the industry raised a record breaking $55.8 bn, yes billion, despite unfriendly capital markets. Why, we’ll cover that later on today but for now, we’d like to introduce you to the Invisible Revolution of Biotechnology.
It’s no big surprise that what you tend to see on a daily basis in the realm of startup blogs, sites and otherwise material focuses on the mobile / the web / and new tech, this is simply due to the fact that these types of products are the most readily accessible by the consumer and therefore have the most mass media appeal.
Notwithstanding this invisible technological revolution is taking place at the same time as the ordinary tech one we see, hear about feel and touch on a daily basis; yet we deal with the invisible as well, where it affects us in ways unseen, it makes our lives better, makes us live longer, and helps not only us, but the environment.
This is Biotechnology. It’s unlike most anything else, not only because it’s “under the hood” of the media spotlight, nor because it can be anything from a geno-engineered microbe to a new form of high ethanol producing crops. It’s in its business model. You see, the web startup, or the software company can get a product to the shelf fairly quickly, with the web, if you have a good idea and some chips time to market can be as little as a few months if that, with biotech however, product development can take years, and oftentimes it will be a decade or more before the firm sees its first customer.
The biotech startup model is a complexly woven web which more than deserves its own analysis, and at the same time, and from the point of view of startup aficionados as ourselves it’s something breathtakingly beautiful.
So in the event you’re familiar with the industry, have a watch and enjoy, and if not, then welcome to the world which is Biotechnology. And a big thanks to the people at Europa Bio for putting this video together.