FWB – New Venture Formation Class Notes

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

This spring semester I took my first two courses in my Masters in Entrepreneurship progam at the University of South Florida. One was awesome and eye-opening and the other a hot mes of a confusing online simulation. Guess which one I’ll be sharing my notes on!

While I’m an awesome note-taker I am not an awesome note-organizer. I apologize for any sporadic-ness but please do enjoy my notes and lessons learned. (It’ll be like you pretty much took the course yourself!) (PS – I earned a B!)

First things first, becoming an entrepreneur is a four step process:
1. Learn to see things differently
2. Build or create things – anything!
3. You’re gonna need to fail
4. REPEAT 1-3!!! (see, build, fail. . . again and again!)

My professor stressed the importance of failure and that a lack of failure means a lack of learning. So go, go be one with the failures, my friends! Embrace them! To demonstrate the importance of failing and admitting failure he had us all write ‘failure resumes’ – it was actually really fun.

We did a few creativity-sparking exercises that I thought were pretty neat. One was done in groups – each group coming up with the worst business idea that they could think of. After giving us time to come up with some really awful ideas we then had to switch with another team and then convince everyone who it was a truly GREAT business idea. My group made up shoes for fish then ended up having to convince the class how awesome reusable condoms would be. It got us to think and just spew out ideas, no matter how ridiculous.

Another neat tool was the PPCO method. That’s Pluses, Potentials, Concerns and Overcome. Look it up on the internets!

Something that I had never heard of (having no background in business) was the phrase ‘sellability’. I tend to be a head-in-the-clouds kind of person so this concept brought me back down to earth and made me critically think about what I truly wanted out of my future business. The professor explained that unless the business that you produce is sellable you will be stuck with it forever. Which if that’s ok with you then cool, you’re right on track! However, if you dream of one day retiring you need to think about how viable your business will be in order to gain an investors attention. He gave us 8 factors of sellability but I won’t cover those here – that’s what Google’s for!

Something I had never thought of before – if you want a brick and mortar business you should be buying the property, not renting, so that it becomes an asset. Instead of thinking about revenue, he explained that you should be focused on what assets you’ll be left with.

We also covered networking and how connecting people is super beneficial for you because then both parties, should they gain something from knowing each other, now owe you in a way. Pretty neat.

We had an entire class dedicated to learning about the different types of investors. This was something I had never even thought about as I figured I would be on my own (which as it turns out, you usually are).

So those were the highlights of my notes. Taking the course was very eye-opening. The professor was very blunt and although he was positive he was very realistic as well. It was a lot of food for thought. The exercises we did in class and as homework were fun and sometimes challenging which was a surprise – I had thought my courses would be dry and boring. Nope!

Hope you learned something new!

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