Andrew Light gives a list of tips for any new venture to keep in mind when developing a new business plan. When creating a business plan, it is important to know exactly what you are trying to achieve. Typically, businesses lack focus or become too ambitious so rather than attempting to do everything yourself and be all things to all people, the best course of action is to focus on the niche you want to target and determine if it’s big enough to sustain your venture.
Identify Your Value Proposition
Before you can understand your own business, you need to understand the market. Who are the other ‘players’, and what are they doing? Once you’ve plotted where other players are, you have a better chance of understanding what your focus should be in order to compete effectively. This might be as simple as knowing what you don’t want to do.
Once you have an idea of what the market looks like, you can decide how to position yourself. How will your business fit into the competitive landscape? What do you want your business’s market segment to be – value? Quality? What are your ‘core values,’ and how will they match your business model? In general, the further from the ‘centre’ of the market you are and the more defined your plan is, the better your value proposition is likely to be.
In any case, the fundamental aspects of a good value proposition are that it is measurable (how do you know how big your market is?), sizable (is it big enough?), applicable (can you reach the market in a cost-effective way?), and desirable (for instance: is the market ‘durable’? In other words, will it last long enough to make your business worth it?).
Design Adaptive Products and Services
Simply designing a product may not be enough. The landscape of the market may change, and your product may need to change with it. Thus, you will need to know how to build what are termed ‘active offerings’ – adaptive consumer products that can change with the market’s needs.
Plan Your Budget
The most important part of your budget is your ‘peak funding requirement’ – that is, your moment of maximum exposure. Investors will need to know just how big your – and their – risk is.
Understand How to Attract Investors
Investors will want to know who you are, what your idea is, what your business model is, and who your customers are. People are actually the most important thing: investors are looking for more than just an idea or a product – they want to work with people who are honest, experienced, have leadership qualities, and have passion for what they are doing. Most investors will know that ideas can be refined, but personal conflicts or lack of expertise are more difficult to remedy. On the other hand, many good ideas never become successful businesses. Don’t assume that your product alone will be enough to sell your business. It also pays to understand your market and what you are trying to achieve. Show that there is a market by giving the examples of other applicable business plans – and how yours is different. Likewise, before you meet with investors, you should have a clear pricing strategy (competitive? Predatory? Bundled?) and understand how big the market is and how big (realistically) your share might be. Get your facts and figures right, and don’t exaggerate.
Andrew also gives a few short tips in conclusion:
– Have a tightly defined value proposition.
– Emphasise you.
– A great product on its own is no recipe for success.
– Ontario is a great place to be right now. There is a compelling story around digital, mobile, and Ontario.
Mobile development is no longer something entrepreneurs can ignore. Last year, cellphone sales surpassed desktop computer sales for the first time. There are now 3.4 billion mobile devices in use. Every minute, people share over 100,000 tweets, 700,000 Facebook posts and 40 hours of YouTube video; and most of this is now consumed on mobile devices, not computers. As Christina Warren put it in Mashable back in 2012: “Having a mobile strategy shifted from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ for all businesses.”
There are two main ways of delivering content to mobile devices: websites and apps. Websites are accessed through a web browser. The advantage of a website is that it is built in a universal language (HTML) that can be accessed on any platform, including both mobile devices and PCs.
Websites therefore are relatively easy to develop and open by default to a large base of users. Sebastian points out that the disadvantage is that the user must know where to go—to download the content each time they want to use it.
Native mobile applications are made for a specific proprietary platform and downloaded from an app such as Google Play or the Apple App Store. They have the advantages of being tailored to the chosen device, which tends to make them better for unusual or process intensive apps. They are also easy to find from the app store and are readily available at any time, once they are downloaded. Unfortunately, a native app can be a lot more difficult to develop, since things like the user interface may need to be developed from scratch, and is only useful in the platform for which it is developed. Porting an app to additional platforms involves even more time and money.
The main disadvantage of hybrid apps is performance. The need to translate code means that hybrids tend to make less efficient use of a device’s hardware. If an app will be especially hardware intensive, it is better to make it native.
When developing for mobile devices, one size does not fit all. The decision to use a website, native app, or hybrid should not be based on what developers are most comfortable with, but on what is best for the project. For example: prototyping in HTML is a false economy if you know it will need to be made native later. Instead, developers and entrepreneurs should make decisions based on the project’s long term goals and needs.
Video: Why to use mobile apps
Video: What is programming language
Video: Hybrid Apps
Invites you to attend:
INNOVATING IN MOBILE: Lessons from Design Thinking
Please join the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC) for the launch of its new responsive website featuring videos from the Mobile Accelerator Program (MAP) 2013 series on New Product Development and the kick-off of the upcoming MAP series on Design Thinking.
Helping MEIC to launch the MAP series on Design Thinking is Dr. Niels Billou:
Innovating in Mobile: Lessons from Design Thinking
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
OCAD University Auditorium
Room 190, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
Welcome address by MEIC President and Academic Co-chair Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University.
Feature presentation by Dr. Niels Billou who will share his experience applying design thinking to new mobile product development.
Dr. Niels Billou is an award-winning international educator, consultant, and sought after speaker, with deep expertise in innovation in a variety of contexts. He has delivered courses and workshops on entrepreneurship, innovation, design thinking, and international strategy to entrepreneurs as well as top executives from leading multinationals around the world He has taught at some of the premier global business schools and is currently on the faculty at Ivey Business School.
Dr. Billou holds an Honours BA and MBA from the Ivey Business School and a PhD from London Business School.
ARDUINO, 3D PRINTING, SENSORS, AND MORE
Join us for a full day of presentations and demos with an hour long, hands-on portion where you can interact with ALL of the presenters and their hardware, where you’ll be able to ask questions, one-on-one.
ADAFRUIT FLORA GIVEAWAY
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
This event is for developers and emerging technologists across all platforms in all stages of their career. If you are interested in getting started with hardware, this event will get you going, covering basic to intermediate topics in available hardware.
ABOUT SPOTLIGHT EVENTS
A part of the Spotlight event series, this event focuses on a relevant tech topic for one day and gives interactive professionals and students the opportunity to build up their development skill set at a low price point, with a minimal time commitment.
RECEIVE 10% OFF DISCOUNT with this link: http://hardware.eventbrite.com/?discount=meic
MEIC launched the Mobile Innovation report at the Annual General Meeting on November 21, 2012.
The purpose of this report is to address the explosive economic, technological, and cultural changes that have occurred in the North American smartphone market since 2007 by achieving the following five key objectives:
- Profile the current mobile content, services, and applications ecosystem
- Assess the economic impact of the industry and financial climate
- Identify key trends that will affect industry growth over the next three to five years
- Identify opportunities and gaps for industry growth
- Develop a collaborative framework for strategic partnerships and ecosystem support
Funding for this study was provided by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), OCAD University, the City of Toronto, and the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA).
Get your copy of the Mobile Innovation report now at www.mobileinnovationreport.ca