Just a short post today. No pictures. Just want to make sure I keep posting something!

Anyway, this week has been exhausting. I started off exhausted and haven’t fully recovered. We’ve been working on our business plan a lot lately. We’ve been using a cool method (found here: http://businessmodelgeneration.com/) and taking apart our business plan bit by bit. We’re challenging things, changing things, challenging more things and trying to get it down to exactly what it should be.

Today we had a group of venture capitalists and angel investors in. This morning they gave us some presentations about their perspective when investing with our types of companies. Over the past couple weeks I’ve come to understand this more and several of my assumptions were proved wrong. Today clarified it even more.

We also got to meet one-on-one with these investors and get their take on our individual apps. I got some good interest in what I am doing. But also what the main challenges I will face.

Don’t Assume

So, some things I was wrong about.

PROBLEM 1: I thought I would build a ‘race’ in each city and make my way around to lots of different places. There are several problems with this thought. For one, I have limited content and limited budget for marketing in each location. So if I spent X in Boston I will get a certain number of people to play. They will soon run out of content and will go away. And since I had run out of budget to market no new players will find it. And eventually that market will die.

SOLUTION 1: A better approach would be to kick off in a limited number of markets (ie. Boston and New York because they are close) and nurture those markets with additional content. Probably even find a way for user generated content. Even if I have to test when users create before it goes live it is better than be spending all the time to create myself. As I build a community in those markets I can tweak the business model and once it proves itself sustainable I can move into other markets.

PROBLEM 2: I thought I could build this thing up by myself. But in order to do it right I need to do this at a large scale I need to build the products, design it well, create new content, market it to users, sell advertising opportunities, organize testing, monitor statistics, do my bookkeeping, handle customer support issues, and whatever else come up. That’s all well and good at this point. I am a generalist and can do most things reasonably well. The problem comes with doing any of those things REALLY well. I’ve experienced the pain of not doing things really well and also taking on too much myself. Don’t want to do that again.

SOLUTION 2: Networking. One of my favorite things to do. And one of the things I do best. Networking is one way to build a team. There are communities of people interested in working with/for startup companies that have the capabilities I need. It may not be all of the things I listed above. But maybe I can find a good business development person or sales person or designer that is willing to work for equity. Its not unheard of these days.

There is more…

Of course this is a small portion of what I’ve been going through this week. But its a good example of what an “accelerator program” can do. it would of taken me a long time to come to these conclusions on my own, if I ever did at all.

I won a monetary reward from AppCampus of about $25,000 (US). But I’m quickly learning that the time I’m savings, the connections I’m making, and the knowledge I’m gaining is worth many multiples of that for this project and any future projects I work on.

 

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