Back to School - Doug Richard's School for Startups!
I LOVE what I do…..no two days are the same, rarely are afternoons the same as mornings. Had a really varied day today – first of all out and about in Norfolk, sorting out some stock [ie moving boxes around!] and making a few deliveries….then to Cambridge to go back to school! Well actually it was back to University – to the Engineering Department of Cambridge University, where Doug Richard had set up a kind of pop-up Entrepreneurship school for the afternoon – his school for start-ups
It was a really dynamic session, with a live ‘Twitterfeed’ on the wall behind Doug, where anyone [those in the lecture theatre, watching via Live-streaming or the wider Twitter audience] could post comments. Doug himself was in top form – witty, wise-cracking but also full of useful advice and insights. He delivered a mix of pre-prepared presentation, face-to-face grilling of some entrepreneurs in the audience and some feedback/interaction with the Twitterfeed.
He spoke a lot [and I mean a lot] of sense, very direct, down-to-earth and practical in his advice. These were my biggest take-outs!
- SKILL-SETS REQUIRED FOR A START-UP
Everyone needs someone who can:
Noone can do them all, and whatever you are good at, you probably aren’t making a very good job of the other two! Get people around you who are skilled in the other areas
- RESILIANCE…absolutely neccessary for an entrepreneur. Running into difficulties is par for the course
- PRODUCTS…are solutions to problems and answers to desires
- RESEARCH your market – just not with friends and family who will give you the answer you want!
- CHOOSING SEGMENTS …always go for a segment in growth. Don’t be snooty about segment size over growth – as a start-up you will be teeny-tiny yourself!
- BUSINESS MODEL – choosing the right model is essential, and will be an important factor to determine growth. Scaling up a crap model, will just make for a very large crap model
- PRICING – decide who you want to pay- differing business models will have the revenue streams coming from differing parties
- CHOOSE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE GOOD AT – either Operational Excellent [eg Tesco], Customer Intimacy [eg American Express], Product Leadership [eg Nike/Apple]
There were plenty of laughs in the room – The Big O, Ugly Baby, LuxCambridge, Bookwhack live renaming, Alpacha Tracker, Health Club business model, Bookclubs to bitch about husbands, Cambridge Technology Model, restaurant location amongst many.
Great afternoon – lots of inspirational ideas…..and my brain is whirring around as I write!