John Schveibinz, Founder and Owner of Paxridge Technology, LLC, spoke to the UMBC community about the first 18 months a business is being developed. John has also made himself available to talk to students if they have an idea for a business. Contact Vivian Armor (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule an appointment.
If you missed this informative and exciting workshop be sure to listen to the unedited audio of the workshop available below. Also below is the slide deck John used in his presentations.
John first introduces himself as an electrical engineer. He goes on to say that his first job helped him gain an "entrepreneurial spirit". After starting and selling his business he now spends his free time doing business mentoring with SCORE Baltimore. SCORE as well as Small Business Administration (SBA) and America’s SBDC have many free resources for people who want to start businesses.
The rest of the workshop was broken down into monthly spans. Each span contained what you should be doing with your business and how you should be thinking. A brief recap is below (see slide deck for more information)
Businesses are solutions to problems. If you want to start a business you need to think of a problem you can solve. Remember that sometimes good ideas are not solutions or something that the public needs. He encourages students to read the book "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries to learn more about the concept. He believes that a lean startup is the best way to start a business because you spend a lot of time getting real feedback from people, allowing you to learn quickly and "fail fast." All entrepreneurs want to fail fast because it means less time and money was spend on a bad idea or concept.
After you have an idea you have tested, the next stage is to build a prototype. A prototype can be as simple or as complicated as you want. A good prototype is quick, cheap, minimal, testable, and measurable. The best thing about a prototype is that is brings ideas to life so you can get substantial feedback from a customer.
After developing and testing your prototype you then need to analyze your customers. Use the above flow chart to identify where your market is and how you can be profitable
Once analyzing your customers you need to take their feedback, listen to it, think about how you can improve your product/service, and then fix it! You can then start "Formal Planning" which involves developing a business plan, market plan, design documents, pricing analysis, etc.
In the next couple months you need to identify a minimum viable product. This is the simplest product that provides the most customer value. For example, if you are developing the idea of something to take someone from one place to another, your minimum viable product would be a bike instead of a car.
Finally you want to beta test your product! This section is "to be continued" in another workshop