1 How to Develop a Winning Concept Paper and Lead Your Team to Success January 22, 2014
2 Agenda Introductions What You Will Learn Purpose of a Concept Paper Generic Planning Methodology Format Judging Criteria Q and A
3 What You Will Learn How to tell an investment story A key skill in life; professionally, personally, academically The basic process to be discussed: Identify an unmet need Articulate a solution Describe who is involved The basic ingredient is passion
4 2013 Merage School Purpose of a Concept Paper Used in the competition to select semi-finalists through offering evidence of a market and evidence of a solution It is a sales document; it is an exciting story It s purpose is not to demonstrate how much you know It is not a product description Subset of full business plan for a company investment Describe market need Articulate value proposition Management team Concept paper is basic value proposition minus the financial projections section Organize your team s thoughts, help you identify roles Qualify for awards and further competition! Writing a concept paper is hard
5 Generic Planning Methodologies Waterfall Process Model Spiral Process Model
6 Business Concept Planning Market Need Financial Projections Product/Service Management Team
7 Typical Concept Paper Challenges Assigning roles Getter, Doer, Counter and leader Collecting market data Talk to prospective customers!! Size, Growth rates Segmenting Market Identifying Competitors Key differentiators for competitors Identifying market gap Fitting product to the gap Maintaining internal consistency in paper Deciding what are key differentiators Appealing to both the head and the heart
8 Judging Guidelines Is there a large, growing market Is the market opportunity compelling Is there a clear target customer? Is the solution realistic? Is the business proposition well thought-out? Can the business become a market leader? Is there proprietary technology? Is there team expertise? Evidence of a Market Evidence of a Solution
9 Concept Paper Format Length maximum of three pages plus cover page Cover page company name, team member names, school affiliations, and graduate/undergraduate status Due date Feb 3, 2014, 11:59 pm via istart.org
10 Concept Paper Approach
11 Basic Team Approach 1. Read Sahlman, How to Write a Great Business Plan 2. Team discussions focusing on the nine questions on page Develop alternative business models using the Business Model Canvas 4. Write concept paper covering: The people The opportunity The context The risk and rewards Market Solution
12 Sahlman s Nine Questions 1. Who is the venture s customer? 2. How does the customer make decisions about buying this product or service? 3. To what degree is the product or service a compelling purchase for the customer? 4. How will the product or service be priced? 5. How will the venture reach all the identified customer segments? 6. How much does it cost (in time and resources) to acquire a customer? 7. How much does it cost to produce and deliver the product or service? 8. How much does it cost to support a customer? 9. How easy is it to retain a customer?
14 Concept Paper Components
15 Concept Paper Components Overview/Introduction to grab interest Product or Service to develop interest Market Need to create urgency Market Potential to substantiate interest Competitive Advantages to validate approach Management to provide confidence
16 Company Overview What is your business proposition for solving the problem? Who will be your customers?
17 Company Overview Example SeekingCapital.com is an exciting new company that offers both entrepreneurs and investors a powerful and efficient web-based service for matching investors with pre-ipo companies.
18 Product or Service Lead with a set-up: provide some context What is the problem you are solving, need you are satisfying or pain you are addressing? What is the product or service? Examples: Software that enables A medical diagnostic device used for An automotive aftermarket accessory appealing to A programmable chip for the telecom market that Specialized business services targeted to An innovative beverage container that What are its attributes, advantages? What is innovative about your product or service and how does it differ from the competition? Any secret sauce or intellectual protections
19 Market Need Goal: offer evidence of a market Magnitude of the pain: vitamin or pain killer? What specific aspects or changes in the market have created the problem you are solving? How will your product or service take advantage of this opportunity? Who are your customers and what are their attributes? How well defined are your potential customers and why should they pay for your product?
20 Market Potential What are the market characteristics? How big is the market number of potential customers and annual sales Growth Segments What will be your niche in the market and why? How will dominate your market niche? How will you identify customers? How will you reach your market? How will you make money?
21 Competitive Advantage Who are your competitors? Segments they occupy What are their advantages and weaknesses/vulnerabilities? Why they can t close the gap?
22 Management Maximum one paragraph Key members of the team name, role, background, education, experience Emphasis on previous success working together in another company or context
24 Basic Team Approach 1. Read Sahlman, How to Write a Great Business Plan 2. Team discussions focusing on the nine questions on page Develop alternative business models using the Business Model Canvas 4. Write concept paper focusing on: The people The opportunity The context The risk and rewards
25 General Advice: Use charts and eye candy Address only topics that are most relevant to your company Use bottom-up market projections Be concise and to the point ($5.00 rule) Use near perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation Be clear and compelling Say what the company aims to do Identify the risks Highlight your strengths
26 Where to Get Information Find rules and regulations at: Charlie Baecker, Administrative Director Don Beall Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Tracy Nguyen Program Manager Q&A Thank You and Good Luck!
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