Welcome to Startup Secrets! The idea behind this series is to create a structure for entrepreneurs and innovators to think through some of the key steps that could accelerate their success in starting a business. The course is broken down into ten units that cover key areas of building a business.
Each unit has workshops, case studies, and related articles. The workshops cover all the key information about the unit. They generally include and overview, a 1-2 hour video, and the slides that go along with the video. The case studies illustrate the concepts applied in the real world. Finally, the related articles dive more deeply into key concepts from the unit.
I recommend you review the units in the following order, although you should feel free to pick and choose:
The logic behind this order is that you'll want a roadmap before you begin your entrepreneurial journey. But you probably don't even have a company to start without an idea and how to turn it into a Compelling Value Proposition. Then, as you get going, defining your Vision, Mission and Culture become critical to Hiring an A+ team. Next, thinking about your Business Model and go-to-market Strategy and Tactics become key to figuring out a business that can be differentiated and sustainable. And then, being able to put it all together in a Investor Pitch that you can use to raise money is usually vital and leads to needing to understand your Funding Strategy.
Turning Products into Companies came out of working with Harvard iLab teams who often started with product ideas and product based teams. These teams constantly asked me how as engineers or designers they should think about product development as part of architecting an overall business, and that's what we address in that workshop. And finally, the last workshops in the series are a chance to think about whether you've got what It takes to be an entrepreneur and how to get the mentorship and that is so often critial to a rewarding experience.
To give you a sense of what you can get out of the Startup Secrets workshops at Harvard innovation lab, perhaps take a look at the following video from our May 8, 2013 wrap up session that provides a good summary of the types of topics and case studies covered in the sessions:
*On a personal note of humility, this is all shared in an open spirit so that ultimately this is all far from a "startup secret"! In fact it's all really just common sense, but having not had the formal education to start a company when I first did as a teenager, it is done in the spirit of "stuff I wish I'd known then that could have helped me avoid all the mistakes I've made for the last 30+ years!". I'm still enjoying learning and hope you will share your learning here too. If you'd like to participate and share your story, please follow @mjskok and send a direct message to me.