Technical Advisory Committee at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Karl is a Managing Partner of Material Growth Partners, LLC, a firm focused on working with both new product
developers and the investment community in commercializing new technologies.
Throughout Karl’s time at the Temple SBDC, he has advised numerous successful business start-ups and provided insightful one-on-one business consulting and advice for many entrepreneurs seeking help with their business endeavors. He has had a great deal of experience working in multiple industries such as pharmaceuticals, air pollution control, textiles, and industrial equipment.
Below, Karl discusses his experience as a consultant as well as provides meaningful advice for individuals interested in learning or expanding their skills as an entrepreneur.
What areas do you specialize in?
I specialize in business strategy, marketing strategy, technology commercialization, manufacturing, and science & technology. I work with companies specializing in areas of manufacturing technology commercialization and bringing new technologies to market.
What is your favorite aspect of working as a consultant?
My favorite aspect of working as a consultant is learning about unique business ideas and all the different markets as well as the satisfaction about helping clients and enjoying the clients’ success.
What did you study in college? Do I need a college degree to start my business?
I obtained a MBA in International Business and received a B.S. in Chemistry.
And, No – just ask Bill Gates, Rachel Ray, Russell Simmons, or Michael Dell. There are examples of successful entrepreneurs as young as 14 years old. Formal education and age have never been a barrier to starting a business.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome when you entered the consulting/entrepreneurial world?
Yes – When I started Material Growth Partners, I had to figure everything out on my own. I didn’t know that the SBDC even existed! I had to build my professional network of people in order to get the word out and establish the company in the region.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in starting a business?
Realizing how much time is required to start-up and run a business, and financial issues such as a variability in week-to-week/month-to-month income and having enough funding not only to start the business but to support the growth of the business.
What are some common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when starting a business?
Some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs making when starting their business is insufficient planning, not vetting their business concept and revenue model with an experienced entrepreneur or advisor, and not dedicating their full efforts to their business.
What was the unique business idea you have worked on?
The most unique business I have worked with created a collapsible bike helmet to encourage bicycle commuters to protect themselves: Kova Helmet Website. Not only was this entrepreneur mission-driven to promote safety, but she also had to learn how to develop and fund a new-to-the-world product and utilize her network to get the assistance she needed to make her vision a reality.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Know what you are selling
Know who you are targeting as customers
Understand why they would buy what you’re selling rather than other solutions for their problem/need
Determine how you will make money selling it
In everything, double the amount of time you think it will take
Thanks to Karl for speaking with us and offering his guidance to the businesses who come to the SBDC. If you would like to set up a (free!) appointment with Karl or one of our other business consultants, please sign up here.
Over the summer, the Fox School brought together the top academic marketing researchers from all over the world to present on some of the most pressing issues in marketing science at the 40th annual INFORMS Society of Marketing Science (ISMS) Conference. Professor Xueming Luo, Fox School’s Charles Gilliland Distinguished Chair, served as the general chair for the event that delved into topics like cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, the shared economy and autonomous driving.
“The conference was a great way to learn about the cutting-edge ideas top scholars are developing, and it is also a great forum in which to discuss research with other scholars outside of our own institutions,” says Michelle Andrews, a graduate of the Fox PhD Program and assistant professor of Marketing at Emory University.
With over 850 attendees, the ISMS Conference appealed to a broad audience that included professors, marketing executives, doctoral students and others. Andrews presented on why marketers should invest in search advertising on mobile. Newsworthy companies like Amazon, AirBnB and Uber were vigorously discussed in terms of marketing algorithms, customer targeting and Big Data.
“The unique thing about the conference was that we presented our research, but there were also opportunities for CEOs to give feedback and share their ideas with the academic community,” says Luo.
Planning is already underway for future ISMS conference sites, with Rome hosting in 2019 and Duke in 2020.
Additionally, the National Innovation Conference was hosted at the Fox School in May 2018. With over 200 registrants, professionals and their families networked and discussed the latest in innovation.
“Every two years, the Greek America Foundation hosts a conference that focuses on prominent Greek-Americans, or Greek-related people who have done innovative work,” says Angelika Dimoka, director of the Center for Neural Decision Making at the Fox
School. “The 2018 conference featured several people of Greek origin who came up with creative business ideas during the unrest in the Greek economy.”
NIC hosted an impressive lineup of Greek-American professionals in the contributed commentary regarding innovation and entrepreneurship in the areas of food and beverage, education, nonprofit, science and business. Panels included dynamic women speaking about their professional experiences to “Slay in Your Lane” in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and a discussion around innovation of traditional Greek foods into upscale, modern culinary art in “Food 2.0.” The conference also offered Camp NIC to children of attendees, with hands on innovation-themed activities in food, arts and chemistry.
Other impressive contributions to the event included Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington’s “Be Fearless” message, as well as presentations from Axios Wines master winemaker Gus Kalaris, President of NowThis Media Athan Stephanopolous, and tech entrepreneur and chairman of Roa Ventures John Roa.
Calling all entrepreneurs and small business start-ups…
Construction management combines two of the most important industries in Philadelphia – building and business. According to Pennsylvania and U.S. government statistics, Construction Managers are one of the most in-demand and fastest-growing careers.
Construction managers oversee the overall construction project. They act as an interface between the owners or architects and the construction workers. They take responsibility for the day-to-day work and report back on progress, costs, and issues. So if you’re a problem-solver able to prioritize and delegate tasks while effectively communicating with your team – you may have what it takes!
Our Construction Management Certificate (CMC) is an intensive 9-month program designed for existing and aspiring independent contractors who want to succeed in this $1 trillion industry. You get the tools you need to meet tighter project delivery times while learning to navigate the complex environment of regulatory and economic challenges. Temple University Small Business Development Center (TU SBDC) teaches you the specialized project management techniques you need to manage the planning, design, and construction of a project, from beginning (pre-design) to end (closeout). After completing the program you’ll be able to control a project’s time, cost, safety record, and quality – for all types of projects.
If you’re ready to learn more about the CMC, please join us on Saturday July 28th at 10am for coffee and conversation with our expert instructors.
An added bonus – just for fun!
Here are the Eight Traits of a Great Construction Manager:
Although construction projects are always a team effort, construction managers take the lead. As such, the difference between weak and strong leadership can play a huge role in the final results of a whole group’s efforts.
Sometimes, people are so hard at work that they forget the purpose of what they’re doing; they begin to see the individual steps as the whole job, rather than considering what the finished product will be.
An awareness of what a construction project is ultimately meant to be—the why this thing is being built? factor—is key to what makes a great manager. Their enthusiasm to see the project through to its ultimate purpose will motivate the entire team to respect the significance of what they do, and work harder to do it the best they can.
Construction projects almost always go through changes, whether it’s shifting deadlines, a bump (up or down) in budget, or a change in the availability of resources.
That means, as a construction manager, you will absolutely need to write and rewrite the plan, likely several times over. Being able to prioritize what needs to be done soonest, and always staying on top of what you have at your disposal (in terms of minutes, money, and materials) are pivotal to success.
3. Knowing Your Workers’ Skills
As a construction manager, you’ll be looking after a (fairly sizable) team. You should be aware of who excels at what, and give the right job to the right person.
Everyone in your team will have skills and experience, and of course the hope is that they’ll be able to adapt these skills to various problems, but that doesn’t negate the fact that individual workers will shine brightest in certain areas, and therefore be best utilized in certain tasks.
4. Team Player
Construction managers are responsible for bringing everyone together and keeping morale high. Directly related to these characteristics, a construction manager should be friendly and approachable.
Because when workers are happy with their management, it fosters better work habits, and it also opens communication for feedback, which lets the manager improve even further (and make sure everybody is on the same page)!
5. Communication Skills
Communication skills are central to good management of any kind. There’s simply not much as important as a construction manager’s ability to delegate tasks; furthermore, good communication might mean being able to look at the total scope of the construction project, and break it down realistically into small, doable tasks given to each member of your team.
On a simpler level, making sure no detail gets ignored or forgotten about and that everybody has gotten the memos that apply to them are essential parts of managing a team.
Being down is no good. When you’re leading a team, you need to be optimistic and confident that the project will be successful, believe that every one’s role is important and every worker is valuable, and that level-headed problem-solving will always get you through the day (more on this in #8).
7. Calmness under Pressure
Related to #6, calmness under pressure means understanding that a construction project will force you to face particular challenges, and there is always a way to figure out a solution if cool heads are put together and everybody stays on course. Panicking simply doesn’t do any good for anyone.
8. Problem Solving
Problem solving of every kind—whether technical, monetary, or social (i.e. addressing complaints about a particular project)—is a must in the world of construction management.
You don’t know ahead of time what obstacles a construction project will face, and as such, you need to think quickly, pragmatically, realistically, and diplomatically, sometimes figuring out solutions within a month, and other times within an hour.
Ready for more? Register for the July 28th information session here
Entrepreneurship at Temple is going campus-wide—and the Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy (TUEA) is at the helm of this effort. The Academy, formed in 2015 in partnership with the President’s office, works to educate faculty on incorporating entrepreneurship into their curriculum, and runs workshops and events on campus to support students who aspire to be entrepreneurial in their careers. So far, the effects have been far-reaching. In three years, TUEA has run more than a dozen programs, reached thousands of students, and created key partnerships in schools like the Tyler School of Art, the College of Engineering, the College of Education, and the College of Liberal Arts (CLA).
“TUEA works together with faculty across campus with the ultimate mission of enabling students to make an impact and create their own success,” says Professor Alan Kerzner, who is Director of TUEA. “Our programs teach students how to follow their passion and make a living at the same time.”
One of the Academy’s most recent and impactful efforts happened over the past year in partnership with the Intellectual Heritage (IH) program, now in its fifth decade as part of the core curriculum at CLA and a key part of the University’s General Education program, meaning undergraduate students from all of Temple’s schools and colleges enroll in the course. IH courses guide students through the “great texts”—some of the most famous and influential political, social, and scientific works ever written—and ask them to apply the principles from these works to contemporary societal issues. No small feat, although an important one for sure.
But what does it have to do with entrepreneurship?
“Despite common perceptions,” says Professor Robert McNamee, Managing Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University and head of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship academic programs at the Fox School of Business, “entrepreneurship is not just about starting your own business or getting rich quick. In fact, entrepreneurship is aligned in many ways with what the Intellectual Heritage program is teaching, especially when it comes to doing good for society. Entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation—these can all be harnessed to create solutions to real-world problems. Solutions that can that can ultimately lead to real change.”
During the 2016-2017 school year, TUEA and CLA partnered on a program around Social Entrepreneurship that saw an overwhelmingly positive reaction from students. Knowing it was important to continue supporting this audience, Professors Kerzner and McNamee worked together with CLA leadership and Dana Dawson, Associate Director of Temple’s GenEd program, to identify new ways to reach students wanting to use entrepreneurial thinking to make the world a better place.
“We knew working with the IH program would be a unique opportunity,” said Professor McNamee. “The GenEd program at Temple University reaches so many students, and we knew this partnership could be really impactful.”
The plan was to incorporate creative problem solving techniques into the Intellectual Heritage II course. Titled “The Common Good,” this course asks students to consider issues like the balance between individual liberty and the public good and how power and privilege define one’s capacity to make change. The goal? To harness the critical thinking skills the students were practicing and turn their ideas into actionable solutions that could solve the problems they were identifying.
“We learned from IH faculty that students were understanding the issues, but sometimes becoming disheartened by their enormity,” said Professor Kerzner. “They were finding it difficult to identify ways to really address problems this big, this complicated.”
That’s where entrepreneurial thinking and creative problem solving came in. Using these practices, students were taught to shift their thinking so that it was solution-focused. They took time to really understand the problem at hand, and to identify aspects of it that were addressable. Professor Kerzner guest lectured at some class sessions, and students got to work coming up with solutions. Throughout the course, students were given the opportunity to attend workshops that helped them break down problems and develop their ideas for addressing them, and each semester culminated in a pitch competition, where students presented the problems they were studying and their planned solutions.
Intellectual Heritage professor Naomi Taback saw a change in the way her students were feeling. “I saw students,” she said, “Even ones who were often quiet in class, become animated, passionate, and enthusiastic about their ideas and solutions.”
“Many, many students at Temple, regardless of which college they are in, want to make a difference,” added CLA Dean Richard Deeg. “They want to make the world a better place, even in a small way. The collaboration between the Entrepreneurship Academy and Intellectual Heritages exposes a large number of students to practical techniques for turning their passion into action and tangible results.”
Inciting this passion in students, and helping faculty across campus to do it, too, is the heart of TUEA’s mission. With more than 6000 students enrolled in the IH program each semester, this partnership has potential to spread the entrepreneurial spirit on campus in a big way. The initial pilot program expanded from two to seventeen course sections of Intellectual Heritage II between fall 2017 and spring 2018. The program is expected to launch in more than twenty sections this coming fall.
“TUEA resources and expertise have enhanced GenEd courses by connecting classroom- based learning with action,” says Dana Dawson. Under Dana’s guidance, faculty teaching other GenEd courses have reached out to TUEA, and both professors Kerzner and McNamee see high potential for TUEA to expand their work with the GenEd program in the future.
This spring, TUEA was the recipient of the Fox School of Business IMPACT Award, which recognizes high-impact group achievements that define our community, move the school forward, and serve as a role model for others. If the success of the partnership with IH is any indication, this is just the beginning of TUEA’s cross-campus influence.
The Lori Hermelin Bush Seed Fund
Call for Submissions
Submission deadline is Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
- 1-2 page Executive Summary
- Brief company description containing no more than 200 characters explaining your company, product, or service
- Requested dollar amount and an explanation of how funds will be used
- Pitch deck
- In the “Notes” section of each slide, please be sure to include an explanation of content on that slide.
- Please note that you do not need to follow the exact order of slides found in the guidelines, but you do need to include all of the information somewhere.
- If you need 1-2 slides to convey topic-specific information, that is okay, but you should be able to deliver the presentation in 9 minutes.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2018 BE YOUR OWN BOSS BOWL WINNERS!
Submitted by Jessica Rothstein, Student, Fox School of Business
Submitted by Jessica Rothstein, Student, Fox School of Business
Kovarvic LLC – (C.A.L.M.)
submitted by Daniel Couser, Fox School of Business
submitted by Kavun Nuggihalli, College of Science and Technology
submitted by Shreyas Chandragiri, Paul Gehret, and Kyle Jezler, College of Engineering
submitted by Justin Asaraf, School of Theater, Film, and Media Arts
UPPER TRACK FINALISTS
submitted by Jessica Rothstein, Student, Fox School of Business
Y Space, LLC
submitted by Zilong Zhao, Alumni, Fox School of Business
Osprey Drone Services
submitted by David Ettorre, Alumni, Fox School of Business
submitted by Robert Arnold, Alumni, Fox School of Business
SOCIAL IMPACT TRACK FINALISTS
submitted by Emily Kight, Student, College of Engineering
submitted by Thomas Dixon, Alumni, College of Education
Seeds Job Fair
submitted by Aiman Azfar A Rahman, Student, Fox School of Business
submitted by Abdulrahman Mohammed, Student, Fox School of Business
The Egg at Alter Hall was standing-room only last night as IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber took the podium to open the 20th Annual Innovative Idea Competition Live Pitch Event. “Sometimes what makes an idea strong is that it’s elegantly simple,” she told the audience in her opening remarks. “The kind of idea that makes you think ‘why didn’t I think of that?'”
That rung true when Emily Kight (College of Engineering ’18), an Idea Competition veteran who landed in second place in the Undergraduate Track at last year’s competition, took home the $2500 Grand Prize for her idea: an affordable, accessible, at-home ovarian cancer menstrual blood test. The test, if it makes it to the market, will allow all women, especially those with a higher risk due to family history, to test for ovarian cancer more often, more privately, and more conveniently. This could drastically reduce late detection, a common risk with ovarian cancer because of how difficult its symptoms are to detect.
Kight was also awarded the $500 Global Innovation Prize funded by CIBER for her idea’s potential to have an impact on a global scale.
Twelve finalists total pitched to the competition’s expert judging panel: Glen Gaddy, Chair of Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, Yuval Yarden, Director of Ecosystems Engagement at the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and Shelton Mercer, Principal and Chief Innovation Officer at Benjamin’s Desk. Other top ideas from the night included C.A.L.M (Daniel Couser, FSB ’18) and Vibrasoft (Kyle Jezler, College of Engineering ’18), two healthcare-focused ideas that received first and second place in their track, respectively. In the Upper Track, comprised of graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff, Immersive Therapy (Keith Regan, FSB Alumni) came out on top and Quick ReCon (Alex Garaschenko, FSB Alumni) was awarded second place.
The audience had a say, too! Two People’s Choice Awards were given to the ideas with the most votes from the audience. New and exciting this year was the Facebook Live stream happening throughout the entire competition via the Fox School of Business Facebook Page, where more than 1000 viewers tuned in and were able to cast their votes along with the live audience. When voting closed, My Student Quarters (Jessica Rehrig, CLA Alumni) came out on top to receive the $1000 first place People’s Choice Award, with Atheroprobe (Laura Navarro, College of Science and Technology ’21) in a close second taking home $500.
Click here for a full list of last night’s finalists and idea descriptions.
Up next? The Be Your Own Boss Bowl. 2018 Rules and Guidelines coming soon!
Entrepreneurship, a pillar at Temple University, continues to flourish campus-wide.
Adding to that robust culture, a recently forged student professional organization is helping to strengthen Temple’s ties to entrepreneurship. The Temple University Venture Club (TUVC) is the latest extension of entrepreneurial support offered to students, and offers students opportunities to learn about entrepreneurial finance and venture investing.
In starting the entrepreneurship-focused organization, Fox School of Business senior Rourke Phalon set out to create a space that is for fellow business-minded individuals, whether or not they are business majors.
“The most rewarding part about guiding student entrepreneurs is helping them tap into opportunities that no one had made available to me as an underclassman,” said Phalon, an International Business major from Watertown, Conn. “I had been an active member of student professional organizations dedicated to institutional finance and entrepreneurship, but there was this interesting world which blended both that needed more attention brought to it. I helped form the club to fill that gap.”
While entrepreneurial thinking is mainly associated within the Fox School, TUVC hopes to foster growth and innovation among all Temple students. According to Zachary Scheffer, the Venture Club’s vice president, the organization seeks to help students who may not know where to begin when launching a business or venture.
“We encourage all backgrounds to join our organization because if you have an entrepreneur’s mindset, you may need information regarding funding one day,” said Scheffer. “We currently have a few members from outside of Fox that find great value in the opportunities and information TUVC provides.”
For Phalon, serving as president of a new organization with more than 20 members is no easy feat. But, he said, seeing students grow and take advantage of new opportunities through other startups has made the journey worth it.
“The overall mission of the Venture Club is to create a culture around entrepreneurial finance at Temple,” he said. “We accomplish that goal by hosting an entrepreneurship speaker series, and by making students aware of networking, volunteer, and work opportunities in the entrepreneurship space.”
Venture Club is the latest edition to Temple’s entrepreneurship-rich landscape. Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy (TUEA), launched in Fall 2016, already has begun expanding the university’s widespread entrepreneurial culture by incorporating entrepreneurship education into coursework delivered by faculty members throughout all of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges.
TUEA is an extension of Temple’s renowned Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, which uses applied, hands-on learning and access to entrepreneurs and mentors to proactively promote entrepreneurial spirit for students from all disciplines.
While the Temple Venture Club is still young, the organization’s corporate relations officer Courtney Mangano envisions a bright future for TUVC.
“I hope the Venture Club continues to act as a platform for anyone looking to gain experience on how to successfully become involved in the startup and venture capital community, get an internship, and network with our influential guest speakers,” said Mangano.
“Enlightening, Useful and Conversational” are just a few words to describe TechConnect.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) partnered with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the second time to host their semiannual innovation and technology two-day workshop, TechConnect Idea to Invoice Workshop, on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1. The two-day workshop brought scientists and technologists together with business professionals to develop strategies to move tech innovations to market success.
The IEI hosted a successful TechConnect in fall 2014, with 90 attendees including Temple University students and faculty, Philadelphia business executives and representatives from Mayor Nutter’s office. Along with returning participation from the Philadelphia Mayor’s office, this year’s TechConnect had over 100 registered attendees with participating organizations including Comcast, Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Boeing, and other technology giants.
TechConnect kicked off at 5:30 p.m. by assembling multi-functional teams around a number of technologies. The workshop then followed a technology commercialization roadmap, leading teams with the active support of business mentors, through each stage of the process. Workshop attendees had the option of working on their own technological innovation or a technology provided by one of our partners.
A participating MBA candidate who attended TechConnect shared, “the most important value addition was the people I met along the way. It is because of the people that events such as these are so awesome.” Sr. Technology Commercialization Specialist of NASA found the event to be “very informative and useful.”
Andrew Maxwell and IEI Managing Director, Robert McNamee, led presentations throughout the conference speaking about topics including new product development, innovation science, technology to job mapping, corporate challenges, and much more. The workshop took place in the MBA Commons on the 7th floor of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, Alter Hall and concluded at 8:30 p.m.
The IEI Institute is looking forward to the next TechConnect workshop, which will place fall of this year. Stay tuned for more details on iei.temple.edu/techconnect.
All photos taken at this event were from Temple SMC Senior, Saeed Briscoe. Click here to learn more about IEI.
Scholarships available. Class Size is limited. Apply today at http://www.fox.temple.edu/landing_forms/2015/msime/msime-affiliate-google-search.php.
All business plans for the Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB) competition are due this Tuesday, March 17 at 11:59 p.m. Competitors will submit their plans to https://app.wizehive.com/appform/login/byobb2015 and BYOBB finalists will be announced by April 1. As a reminder, you must include three items in your application:
- The business plan (http://d3iovmfe1okdrz.cloudfront.net/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015.BYOBB_.Template1-11.doc)
- A pitch deck
- 3 year excel Profit and Loss Statement
If you have any questions about the BYOBB competition please look at the BYOBB website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-204-3082 for more information. We will have people standing by until 8:00 pm on March 17th to answer questions.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BYOBB2015 to join in on the conversation.
On Tuesday, February 24, IEI’s Executive Director, Ellen Weber, led a “Pitch Decks” workshop discussing the components and expectations of a pitch deck to prepare those who are competing in the BYOBB business plan competition. The presentation took place in Fox’s IEI Lab from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Beginning the presentation, Ellen defined a pitch deck as “a six-to-eight minute presentation with an investor focus that grabs early attention and holds attention by hitting highlights of your business plan, leaving the investor eager to know more.” When someone likes your pitch, it increases your chances of getting your business plan read. For instance, if you do a great job with your pitch deck, the judges will be more favorably disposed while reading your business plan.
Regarding the pitch deck PowerPoint presentation, it is important the presenter’s slides speak for his/her product or service. If the slides fail to tell a story, students should create a narration deck to include their notes from their note section to help the pitch deck flow. Remember, don’t just tell the business plan, share the business plan so the judges can see it and have a feel for it. A personal tip Ellen suggested to students was to create an appendix slide so BYOBB participants are prepared if a judge asks a question, the participant can go directly to that slide to answer the judge’s question.
Out of all of your PowerPoint slides, the financials slide is most important. This is because judges can get a sense of how you think as an entrepreneur by seeing a three year financial projection and history. By showing your revenues, expenses and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), the judges can learn when you think growth or break-even may occur in your business. Keep in mind to never include decimals in your financials!
At the very end of your presentation, do not have a slide simply saying, “Thank You.” The last slide will stay up for judges to look at during the Q&A so it is essential to leave a lasting impression by ending with a summary slide of reasons why to invest in your company. Also, don’t forget to have your contact information listed in the beginning and end of the presentation because if someone sends your pitch deck to someone else, and you have no contact information listed, you may have lost yourself a major opportunity.
BYOBB judges will also pay extreme attention to how well the students know, understand and care about competition. Ellen advised, “The more you can differentiate your product or service, the better. The more you know about your competitors, the better. It is okay to have your competition do some things your company can’t do because this is how you show which niche you are going for.”
Overall, do what is best for you and your company. Make your story compelling, keep it simple and short, cover all of the necessary info, and show what the product looks like. Be passionate, entrepreneurial, honest and coachable. Don’t get discouraged by constructive criticism; do your homework and listen and accept negative feedback, as it will only help you in the long-run.
As a reminder, there will be On Demand Mentoring sessions on March 10 (5 p.m.) and March 11 (12 p.m.) for BYOBB participants to receive feedback from senior executives on the financials, strategy, marketing, and other challenging sections of their business plans. Both sessions will take place in Alter Hall’s IEI Lab, room 503D.
To learn more about how to create a successful pitch deck, visit http://bizclarity.com/handout-basics/. Be sure to stay connected with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute to get the latest updates on workshops and events on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
It was standing room only for renowned entrepreneur and Strategic Management Professor, Dwight Carey, as he led the “Cash Flow, Profits & Financials” workshop on February 18 in Fox’s IEI Lab.
Professor Carey started his presentation by stating, “Cash is more important than your momma because without cash you are out of business.” Students laughed at his opening remark, but he was very serious.
Throughout the workshop, he never strayed from the discussion of a cash flow pro forma, as it is key to an entrepreneur who does not want to run out of cash. He asked students about the components of a balance sheet and the main difference between income sheets and balance sheets because these answers are key to a successful cash flow pro forma. He shared the easy part of a cash flow pro forma is the expenses, and the hard part is the income.
As a young entrepreneur, the odds are going to be against you. Professor Carey said, “In the first five years, about 50 or more percent of all startups are going to go bankrupt. At the end of 10 years, only one in 10 companies will make it.” He provided advice on how to avoid joining these statistics:
- There is such a thing as “love money.” For example, your father is willing to cash in his 401K to get your business going. Be cautious because if this money burns out, you may have your father living with you for the rest of your life. Ultimately, be careful when borrowing this so-called love money!
- It is extremely important to project your revenue. This means, sit down with no distractions and write down every little thing that could affect your business sales in the future. This includes strikes, natural disasters, the city shutting down, etc. As entrepreneurs, you need to always look into the future for your business to succeed.
- Do not hire people in the beginning of your company simply just to “hire people.” You need to remember that once you hire someone, you have an ethical and moral responsibility to make them good employees. It is immoral to simply hire and fire people just because you suddenly realize you don’t need them in your company. Instead, hire independent contractors or your peers who have the skills your business needs to get started.
- If you want your product in a company, don’t be afraid to call that company’s president. Ask for just 15 minutes of his/her time to pitch your product to get it in that dream company. Perfect your pitch in front of a mirror so you are confident and ready to share your innovation and passion with the world!
- Lastly, ask yourself from May to the end of your first year, “Can I afford to lose $45,000?” If you say no, don’t throw your idea away quite yet. Instead, go back over your cash flow pro forma and either (1) increase your sales or (2) cut your expenses. Ultimately, be incredibly realistic about your product and business and ruthlessly honest with yourself in order to succeed.
At the end of the workshop, Professor Carey gave students “homework” to research the founder of SPANX, Sara Blakely, who is the first female billionaire under 30 years old. He told students to listen to her story from The Edge Connection, as she will share, “One day you wake up and you’re an inventor and then one day you wake up and you’re a company.” Learn more about Sara and her booming business here.
On Wednesday, February 19, Owner of Genzer Associates, Rick Gezner, came to Fox to speak to students about how to create a competitive business analysis by discussing perceptual maps, competitor matrix, industry structure and environment.
A leader of business and technology since 1986, Rick has held roles ranging from software engineer to executive vice president and chief technology officer. As an independent management consultant, Rick has also started five of his own businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Throughout the workshop, Rick put an emphasis on the significance of competition in the business industry. He explained how important it is to define, understand, address and develop strategy for your company as well as know who, where, what, how and how much the competition is to your business.
Rick explained the biggest problem in all business is the “last mile,” also known as shipping and transportation. This is because it has a geometric effect on cost and the smallest disruption will cause a problem. He advises, “If you are in a new market with a new product, you have to educate the entire market. If you jump in where competition exists, you don’t have to explain. Don’t shy away from competition.”
As a last key note, he shared entrepreneurs must always stay on message and be very crisp, no matter the circumstance!