From ‘Idea’ to ‘Pitch’: Insights into Launching Your Business

From ‘Idea’ to ‘Pitch’: Insights into Launching Your Business


Hello and welcome to
“From Idea to Pitch: Insights into Launching
Your Business. I am very happy to tell
you that today’s webinar is sponsored
by the online degrees in business
at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. The undergraduate degrees
are ranked in the top 8% nationwide by
US News and World Report’s 2017 best
online bachelors programs and our MS in Business Management and Leadership
is ranked 17th of online master’s
degrees in management where educational
quality, reasonable costs, marketable
degrees and personal growth come together
to give you the best values in education. Hello my name is B. Loerinc Helft and I am the academic director
of The Bachelor of Science in Business
and the Master of Science in Business
Management and Leadership, two of the
many fully online degrees at CUNY SPS. It is my pleasure to host today’s webinar.
A few logistics before we get started. First, there will be be an extensive
question and answer session after the
presentation. So, please type your questions
into the chat box and we will answer
as many as we can at the end of the
session. Whatever we don’t get to answer
live we will answer by email including
questions that came in to us during the
registration period. Second, this webinar
is going to be recorded so we will send you the recording after it
has been edited for you to listen to again
and again and we would love you to
share it with your colleagues friends and fellow entrepreneurs. And now,
next slide please, it is my delight to
introduce you to today’s presenter
Anthony Stearns PhD. Anthony is the founder and CEO of IRX Reminder LLC, a company that recently introduced
a pill dispensing pod that automates
and helps patients and doctors track the
correct taking of multiple medications. Dr. Stern’s is a recognized expert in
the area of Geron technology and a pioneer in the application of
mobile computers and smartphones for
improving the quality of life life for individuals
living with chronic illness. He was
recently recognized by AARP in their top
innovators for 50 people over 50 So their top fifty innovators were
people over 50. Professor Sterns
teaches courses at SPS in research methods,
organizational behavior, and of course
entrepreneurship. And he told me
yesterday that his company will receive over 1/4 million dollars in funding
by the National Institutes of Health
for more research. So without further ado, may I ask for the next slide please so that we can
present “From Idea to Pitch: Insights to start
launching your business. Thank You Anthony>>Thanks B, that was a
nice introduction. Thanks for everybody
who’s joined us to attend today. Where
I want to begin is that really at the
beginning you need an idea and that’s not
something I can really help you with
but it will come to you in an instant or
over many years of frustration but you
will know you will have a vision of what
you want to do and it will be a
problem that exists in the world today
and you will have a vision of how to get
there. And what I hope to help talk
about today are a set of of tools that will
help you build and be a framework for having
a strategy that that will help you get
from today to this vision that you have of tomorrow and in doing
that you will create the steps to get
from this idea to market and this will
be your toolset that that will help
to get you started. So we really also
talked about these ideas in in two
forms. One we will call lifestyle business which is really a small small business
enterprise that supports a number
of people. It can be quite a few people
but a handful of people generally but
we distinguish that from what we call
a growth business which is really
something that starts with a small team and
grows to some huge multinational
conglomerate and if it does that quickly that’s what we typically call a
unicorn today. So the instagrams of the world that are suddenly a few
months later worth a billion dollars. That
started with just a few people talking in a room . So regardless these
tools are useful for both but generally
I’m going to talk about how you get
and grow a growth business. Now the areas
in which a growth business typically
emerges are among those in this list
and you will find venture capital
capitalists who have money to invest and
they’ll usually and they’ll usually target one of these
areas generally quite specifically.
And those include biotechnology, FinTech,
medical devices, standalone software or software as-a-service. Internet tools and
emerging and growing clean tech area, Media entertainment, and then various
electronics devices. There are some other
areas that are well-known that might
include space and automobile work but
primarily there will be many more VC’s here
in these areas. It’s also important
to understand when you can talk to these
people. Generally when you first have
your idea you need to move it yourself through some
kind of proof of constant. And don’t be
intimidated by that because that can merely be sharing
your idea with other people and seeing if they get excited
about it. But if you actually have to
construct something or take some time to
build a picture and show people what it
looks like. So that your vision is clear.
This is generally done with your own
funds or a loan from your rich uncle. We
call that the “Three F’s”:friends, family,
and fools. People who will jump in early. Once you have that proof of concept and validated it a bit. You want to move
to that working prototype and there
are some small and competitive pots of
money to begin and get you to a near
commercial product let’s say from a
raw idea and those include “Pre-seed funds.”
These are often embedded in universities or are available through
economic development funds and things like that. As I mentioned, I’ve utilized the Small Business Innovation research program which is a grant
program from the federal government. A very competitive program but it
provides a venture capital level funding in phase one around one hundred
and fifty thousand dollars and, in Phase
two, up to slightly over a million
dollars that you can raise and not
owe back to anybody but it of course you
have to compete with the rest of people
with their ideas and generally it has to apply to something the government’s
interested in doing like healthcare
or the environment or war for example. and then there’s also
a wealthy private people. People who have more than I believe the number is three million in assets who can who can be solicited. But today the rules
have changed a little bit and things like
Kickstarter allow you to take on investors at at
earlier stages under very specific conditions
and you want to consult a lawyer for exactly what those conditions are. I do not represent that expertise. Really though where venture capitals
come in are what are called “Organized
Angels” and “early stage investors” or “Series A
Investors” and here you probably started
generating a little revenue you had a
small number of customers that are in such pain that they’re dying
to use your service and willing to put up
with it’s kind of mostly finished state.
And if you can generate that revenue
on the order of between a hundred thousand and
five hundred thousand a quarter generally you can get a Series A and that is a stage that my company is at
today. Once you are in the market and your
your products now you’re in a your
growth stage and you’re trying to
double or tenfold your income. To do that
quickly you’ll need reserves and that’s
where these Series A and B funds come in
and then at the very top you’re getting tens or even occasionally hundreds
of millions of dollars. So we can
all dream of that together. But where
it all begins is really this idea this
vision that you’ve had that where you
know where you’re going, where you have
a problem and you know how to solve it
and you have a strategy for doing
so and what you want to develop is what we
call the 30-second Pitch. And you need
that because you need to test your idea on
people and if it’s a good idea they will
be convinced within 30 seconds or so that
they want to hear more. And so the first
people you have to convince are the people
you want to have on your team helping
you because we know from entrepreneurial
research that really it’s small teams that are successful
in getting a business off the ground. Much more so than
individuals. And then you’re going to need
that initial pot of dollars it may be
just a couple of thousand, it may be
quite a bit of money but you’re going to need that 30-second pitch
to get to your idea. To get your first capital to
convince those friends, family and fools. So 30-second pitch
is kind of a unique skill. Generally you want to open with some kind of hook
catchphrase. We often hear on “The Uber of
Pills” or something like that. So everybody has a
successful reference that you can pick on. Typically it’s a question like:
“do you ever have a problem you know getting
your grandmother to take her pills? is would be a hook for my kind of company. but you want to state what your
company you know the area your company’s
in. Like I’m in Healthcare IT.
You want to talk about your customer niche
if you’re targeting a business, if you’re
targeting consumers, for example. You want
to be clear what the problem these
people are having. “My floors are always dirty
I wish there was a way to effortlessly
clean them” says the Roomba salesman. What is your solution? and you
always want to be sure that you include your
key differentiator because that’s the
thing they’re going to remember, that’s the thing they’re going to go
“huh, I heard this cool idea” and they’re going to repeat your
word-for-word that key differentiator. And if you really want
to grab them in, that hook is going to
be the answer to a problem that’s very
relevant to their — that audience.
So and you have to do this in basically about 4 sentences, that’s about all the
time you get in a 30 second pitch. And then hopefully you’ll get a question
like ” oh that sounds really interesting but does it do X and
you’ll go of course it does X and you’ll
be going “but it could do X and Y if
you gave me $100,000 and then you’re off
and rolling Let me just take a look
at some of the questions we’re getting
here. There will be be something sent with
that you can view all the slides. All
these tools apply to lifestyle businesses
particularly if you need to raise a
little capital and at which point should
you to the utility patent in place? Well you generally
what I found is that the utility patent
applies to a very specific and somewhat
complicated idea in its execution.
So you can say that I’ve solved the specific
problem but you don’t want to give
the details of exactly how you sold
it until someone is under intellectual
restriction. But generally all these
tools are designed to be shared so they
shouldn’t contain your magic
>>Ok so Anthony Anthony I’m sorry to
poke in I want to let you know that
we usually have a Q&A session near the end of the presentation so maybe the last 20 minutes
you can go through your presentation and for everyone
listening you can send in your questions and
then we’ll get to them right at the end of the presentation.This can
address all your questions. Okay I just
saw that some of them were relevant to
those slides and thought I would address
them because this is a good break point.
>>No problems But what I’m going
to talk about now is a set of tools
that you can use. It begins with a 30-second
pitch but then you need something
that you can hand a person so we call
that a tear sheet, a one-pager it could
even be your business card with a diagram
on the back But you want to be able for
them to be able to ponder the idea have
it show up in their pocket a little later and particularly if you’re building
a team or you’re looking for an investor you
want to be able to get back to you when they’ve thought about it a while. A more extensive like more
than just a way to contact you in the basic tagline would be your
executive summary. And this is going
to list everything about your business
on a single page. Really and you start
with that and you always have one and
it gets a little clearer over time the pictures get better as your product
improves as your message improves but
you’re going to find that your
30-second pitch is contained in that
executive summary. The next thing you need
to do is kind of work through the
business case. And so that’s going to take
some spreadsheet work and you’re going
to need to make some projections. That can start very simply with I want
this product to cost a hundred dollars and
I want to make a million of them I want to take home ten million dollars so
uh and now I’ve defined what the
product can cost and and my profit margin
I could move on from there. But in when I teach
these subjects I use a bunch of integrated
spreadsheets that you add you build
your costs, and your personnel, and all
your ancillary costs, fixed and one-time
costs. All the experts that you need to
help you the lawyers and accountants and
engineers and then you can work out
it eventually that boils down into
what’s called a “pro forma” and we’ll talk
a little bit more about that in a moment. But that that’s a
summary of sort of your three or five
year plan about how you’re going to grow the business,
the number of people you’re going to need and the capital that
you’re going to require require and how much
money you’re going to make in doing that. And then you can with
that information and your executive
summary make a more detailed plan and that’s called a five page plan
and it has all the same elements as the
executive summary but with a little more
detail and that’s going to lay out your
path to get you from idea to market
and then you want to begin to ask for money
so you’re going to need an investment
presentation and and a website that
helps to do the same thing. And as you begin
to ask for more money, you’re going
to need a more detailed business
plan but not for a long time particularly
in today’s world. So I’ve had my business
plan asked for exactly twice in the
last two years. Just saying. Okay so moving
on. So all these components share three
common attributes. They need to be
targeted not at experts but at the general
public because your investors are going
to be good at how they made money or
how they inherited money and they’re
going to be good at managing that money
but they’re not going to be good at
what your ideas. Most likely so you need
to treat everyone as sort of a non expert.
So try not avoid all that jargon and
you want to tell a story. People want to
be engaged and hear a story and it always
needs to be clear and concise and
compelling as hopefully I’m being here.
And so they’re all good all these documents
all these tools are going to have the
same sections. You’re going to want to
describe your product. You’re going to want
to talk about the market opportunity.
That there’s– what the competition
is and how you position among the
competition. You want to have competition
because it means there is a proven
market. So hopefully you have a clear a clear way of positioning and
distinguishing from that market. In other words
there are a lot of cellphones in the
market but my cell phone fits on my wrist
and has a screen a picture that
projects in the area so like a hologram, right?
So now that I have it I know people want to
use that kind of communication device
but I have some new neat unique technology
that allows me to do something that
nobody else can. Management is
important. It’s real important because
knowing that Investors are are going to not
only invest in your idea but they’re also going to invest in the people moving
the idea forward and even if they like
your idea, if they don’t like you then
they’re not going to invest. So it’s important
to bring your best case and the
right people to the table. I’m sure you’re
always perfect and you have to surround
yourself with the people who have
strengths that you’re missing and ,again ,the
way you bring them in is start with that
30 second pick and then these same tools
you’re going to need those financial
projections and you’re going to want
to talk about the funding that you’ve
received the funding you need and when
you receive it how you’re going to spend
it and then you always have to have
what’s going to happen at the end
so do you envision that you become a multinational corporation introduce
yourself on the New York Stock Exchange
with an IPO and and go all the way
to a big company or are you going to take
the company to a certain stage and
then turn it over to other business people with more experience or hope
to be acquired by a larger existing
multinational for example you always
want to be clear about the path you
think you’re going to take and you can
mention more than one but it’s always a
they always kind of want to know because
they want to know if you expect to be
the head of that big multinational corporation
why would you be qualified to do
that having not run one in the past for
example. So you should tailor your
exit strategy to how far you think you
you’re going to be involved with the
company. So this is a buy one pager and
you can you can see that it lists our
products up here at the top. Our name, all my contact informations down
here. I have some pictures of how the
product is used and then I have all those
sections I mention here. The problem,
the solution which dictates the product, our
target market and which mentions some
of the competition. How we’ve used our
funding and the things we’ve done
to date. You see I spend a lot of time
on our management team and advisors and this is a little
bit more about the details of our funding
and our exit strategy. I’ll just blow this up a little bit and
you can see that a little bigger. Okay.
So let’s talk about these things a little
more in detail. This is actually my
product here. This is a screen from our IRX
capture app and this is our (unintelligble) of Things pill device and what it’s
used for is to help empower patients and healthcare professionals to manage their medications. Together.
So you can only take the right
medications at the right time using our pod
and all that is tracked and shared
with you and the electronic medical
records so you always know how you’re doing. We have intellectual
protection around our Internet of
Things pill dispenser which is an important
thing. For those things that
need to be protected some things you can
protect by trade secrets sometimes you can’t
protect something. That also
includes copywriting and trade marking.
So even if you have a new kind of ball
that nobody else has you can give it a name
that’s unique and that protects your
your ball. If it has a particular look and
feel. Your products should solve
some kind of pain for your customer and
it should be sold with a business
model that makes sense. We initially
had a model that focused on software
licenses. Now we’ve pivoted our model
to be more of a reimbursement model
that fits in by having doctors deliver
services in which we share some revenue
in. But whatever you have it needs
to make sense. If you need
to be sold on a shelf in a drugstore
you better make sure that that it’s already there in that drugstore that exists. if you fit in with with on the band-aid
shelf then that’s great. You have a place to tell people you’re
going to be. If you have some kind of new
thing that I can’t even envision but you don’t know where to put it, Now you have it much harder.
You will you need to create a distribution channel.
That’s harder. So you want to understand
your business model and how
difficult it is to get into the market.
You also want to make clear in your product
description how the investor gets the return on investment and the value to the customer as well.
And ideally, if you’re presenting that this is going to
take the market by storm and become a
very valuable moneymaker, you know, with the idea of becoming a unicorn
ideally. Even if in a lifestyle business
you’re going to the bank you’re still
going to want to describe what it is
your small business is going
to be doing and it needs to have all
these things to help convince the bank
there’s value to be put behind them putting
money into your business. You also
want to talk about your market. You need
to understand how big it is. For example
in our section of the medication
delivery market we think it’s an
addressable market of about 43 billion and
made up of these different components.
So today we’re addressing the small
component but we hope to address the
whole 43 billion over time. So it’s important to understand what’s
going on if you’ve created a new radio
for example that may be less appealing
than, for example, holographic television.
So you need to understand what the
trends are and again you need to understand
whether you’re creating a market
which is possible or you have a
better solution for an existing one.
In some respect it’s interesting to watch, for example, electric cars with where we’re in some respects
electric cars are very much are a
mature market but they’re also since
a few of us drive them it’s also a
nascent market. So understanding that you’re being somewhere in between
you need to have a strategy to deal with
that So again, as I’ve done here,
you want to divide it into segments and
your preference is to look at ideas that
serve large and growing markets and
that list that I started with at the
beginning, those are all growing market
places. As I said it’s important that, in
your market, you mention your competition
and they help to define that you
have an existing market so don’t fear
your competition. Embrace it and then
determine if you’re competing directly
or indirectly. Sop one could argue that
electric cars compete directly for
transportation and on the other you could argue
that you’re only competing against
other electric car in the market, for example.
And ideally you have some kind of
sustainable advantage that could be
intellectual property, it could be that you
were first to market it could be that you
fit in nicely with the way that product
is delivered. In other words, I’m a
great product to be sold on amazon.com.
So I already have a ready way of getting that into the consumers hands. As I mentioned earlioer, management is
key and one of the things they’re always
going to look for is domain expertise and your track record as
an entrepreneur. So, the ideal entrepreneur
has a big win in their past and a
brand new idea But I know for me, I haven’t
had a big win but I’ve I’ve brought
companies to a certain level. So I’m certainly
viable here, I am not be viable when the
company becomes a 10 million dollar in
revenue company and when I talk to investors
they’re going to expect me to take
a different role. But I’m I will always be a health
behavior expert so that role will
probably always be available in my
company. But they’re definitely be interested
that you have both and again your
30 second pitch is going to impress one of these A+ entrepreneurs to join
your team You’ll have a little bit of your bio,
there’ll be more be more of your bio
in your 5 page plan. There will
be less of your bio in the one-page
summary. If you don’t have the expertise yet
but you know you need, it’s good
to have a column with the “to be
announced” space so that the investor can
recognize and maybe help you find that
person. One strategy is to ask for an
investment from a successful entrepreneur who has the expertise that you’re
missing. So they bring something to the
table and they can watch out
for their money and if they like their
idea maybe it’s the next thing that
they do. And I would point out that less
than 25 percent of founders remained
CEOs at exit. And so if you want to stick
around and hang on to some of your stock,
you’re much more likely to be rich
if you stick around rather than king. So this is sort of a Steve Wozniak rich
versus Steve Jobs king. So with your
financials you’re going to want to
develop a four to five year projection and
quite often, certainly in my class,
I have tools and they’re tools online
to help you do this. But you need to work
out what kind of sales volume will
produce the amount to cover your costs.
And if it doesn’t cover your cost at the
beginning then that’s the money you need to
raise. And then you sort of have to figure
out what your key milestones are like getting into ten stores, getting into
a major national chain, a global
distribution, would be examples of milestones. Of course it’s much easier today to
achieve global distribution thanks to Amazon and
FedEx and places like that. and in software
through places like Google Play and the
Apple ads for App Store. So I show my
milestones, this is a slide from my pitch
deck and it shows how we’ve gotten
funding. That’s what these little things
are down here, these are different investments
we’ve received along the way and this FDA clearance is what we’re
going to do next. And over here you
can see once we get through that clearance
we want to raise three million
dollars in Series A funding and it would be followed by a slide of how I’m
going to use those funds which is to
build inventory and expand the programming
and sales team. And that’s kind of
what you say. So then finally we have our
exit I’ve kind of covered these points
earlier but it’s important that you
plan how you think you’re going to get
your early investors to receive early
dollars. So they want to know how
they’re going to make their money.
If you’re going to go all the way to an IPO
or a large acquirer then you need a
strategy about how you’re going to grow
the business to the size where someone
would be interested. Most companies
aren’t bought unless they’re worth several
tens of millions for example.
And often as we’re reading lately you’re
hoping to sell your company somewhere
north of a hundred million even as much
as a billion to really be considered
a unicorn. You also have to take a look
at what the value is for
your kind of product and an app based
company, for example, maybe be not worth as
much as a product that sells like I
don’t know an x-ray machine that sells
for a couple million dollars apiece.
So being what market you’re in makes a big
difference. And in this exit you want to mention you’re
likely acquirers. So we’re a medication distribution mechanism.
So big medication distributors include in my area
McKesson, Quintiles might use us in all
the research that they manage.
So those are likely acquirers
for in my industry. There’s some things
that you definitely want to avoid.
These include really detailed financials.
They just want the big numbers.
You don’t you want to stay away from detailed technology descriptions and you
don’t want to give away your intellectual
property either. So you don’t want to
be jargony and you want to avoid a lot
of science, I guess. Just how the science
helps and you want to make sure that you
have real market research.
So you don’t want to go it’s a forty three billion
dollar market and once I capture 1% of
it we will make 43 million dollars.
It doesn’t — that doesn’t talk at all
about how you’re going to get about
your knowledge of the market or how you’re
going to capture it. So you need real
numbers and you also don’t want to talk
about any legal history of the company.
You just want to kind of talk about- you just want to mention what kind of
corporate structure you have.
If you’re an LLC or a corporation and, you
know, definitely talk about any lawsuits or
anything like that or any concerns or
trademarks or any of that. That they don’t want,
to leave that off. So all
throughout this process you want to make sure
that you validate everything. You always
want to make sure that eight out of ten people think your
pitch is compelling. That your card– you
know eight out of ten people hang onto your
card and actually put it in your pocket
because they’re they’re interested. That when you
have people take a look at your summary
sheet that it answers all their
questions. That your projections make sense
to an accountant to your investors,
always you know if you’re pitching make
sure that you’re validating that
you’re getting some feedback that’s
meaningful. If they’re not interested find
out why. So that negative information
is gold. If you can get someone to reach
5-Page business plan you can get some very
helpful feedback on very specific things.
And really today you’re looking for an investor presentation and
ultimately a video that’s going to help
sell your company. I get asked to make a
pitch between as little as two minutes.
Three and four minutes is common in
competitions. More formal pitch presentations
at regional events or maybe eight
to ten minutes with a few minutes of questions following a real meeting with an an investor can often
go 90 minutes or two hours with exactly
the same deck that I use for two minutes,
eight minutes. We just spend a lot more
time on detail and I have a lot of slides
in the background that I can go to for
the answers as well. But anyways that’s
the toolkit and that’s how you walk
an idea by building these tools through–
from your idea to your pitch. And these
are exactly the tools I spend a lot
more time in them on the course a couple weeks
on each. In the course I teach on
entrepreneurship which is called “Entrepreneurship in a Global Environment”
and this is the textbook that we use called
“New Venture Creation” and it really talks
much more about the theory of entrepreneurship
and how to understand how
you’re likely to be successful or not
and again we go through and build
these tools for an idea that you bring to the class. So that’s my talk.
What questions do you have? Do I pick the questions at this point?
>>Sure can.>>Okay. In the early
stages of production idea planning how
large is too large? Wow. I guess it
kind of depends on on what it costs. My first Cod probably
cost me around $300,000. Now they
cost a several orders of magnitude less
and I hope to make them for under 15
or so but I have to have a customer that
needs a lot of them to get it to that price. So generally if you’re
asking– oh you’re asking the size of
the group. Well the research says that it’s important to have at
least two, four and there’s some research
that shows that four is ideal in the
medical area. So you want a physician,
you want a business guy you want a graphic
person to, you know, kind of a marketing
type but also with drawing skills and
writing skills and then and then a
program to handle the software integration or engineer if it’s
a device. So some variant of that
combination of expert business, software,
hardware, and a marketing person. Can you get a copy of my one pager?
Well there are a lot of templates online
but it’ll be available for you to
take a look at when you when you pause the presentation. It’s right
there for you to see. That would probably
be my answer. Should any degree of gloating
be incorporated into either one’s
simple contact. Well I think you want to
be credible but you should be humble as
well. But if you’re Einstein you
should tell the world you’re Einstein. In the form of
I’m a well-known and and successful physics
theorist. So I don’t think
anybody would have qualms with
Einstein saying that. But you want to rub
people the right way. So I’ve certainly
met people who have far more money than
me and they don’t lod that over me in
any way. But they’re careful not
to give it to me without good reason
and I try and give them a good reason by
assuring them that I’ve handled that money
well in the past, that we’ve developed
award-winning products that the
science produces results that are
good, and that’s the right kind of bragging
I guess. I don’t think you should so
you can trade on your reputation if
it’s one of substance. I wouldn’t just
trade on being in a circle where you have
reputation because of that circle. How do you pitch ideas for products
without owning your own company? Well you don’t have to own your company
to have your 30-second pitch. As a matter of
fact you want to make sure that at
least you’re close and trusted friends
who you’re sharing the basic idea with
think it’s a good idea and help you to
go poke holes at it and then you have
answers to those and if you’re convinced
that it’s a good idea then that’s
what you do. You test your idea and at some point I guess that if that, you
know, if you have– If you have an idea for a new color of
m&m, for example, I guess you want a
patent or try and protect or copyright
that color before you share it with m&ms. if I made my point.
So there are things that you need to
protect. One way to protect them is just
to put people under a nondisclosure agreement.
So even if you don’t have a patent
yet those people can’t go and pat
your idea without and you have
a mechanism to stop them from, even if they
do, from profiting from that. So fighting those legal battles is often hard so use some caution. Does this
model still apply for an online business?
It absolutely does. You still need all
these tools and you all these tools
appear online in some form for me.
They’re all digital so I very rarely have printed materials with me anymore except at the occasional
tradeshow where people are walking
by but most true investors, people who are really interested in you,
will hand you their card and tell you
what they would like to receive digitally.
And generally that’s a narrated
version of your pitch deck. and a one-pager.
What should you do if you have no
prior experience in that company that you
want to start. You should go find someone
who does and have them join your team.
I do believe and in my previous company
uh which was in the logistics area, I
knew nothing about logistics. But a good
friend of mine did but he knew I knew
how to get a company funded. So he asked
me to take the lead on founding the company
and he brought the idea to the table
and he said we need to prove this
mathematically and then we went and found
a mathematician, who we both knew, but
he took some– but we had to think about
how to get him involved and away from his
academic roles to spend a little time
with us to do the math we wanted.
So I guess that’s kind of an
example a story of us doing exactly that
and then we went and found another friend,
since we were all friends, who
could help us with the programming.
And that’s what we did so you go find the
expertise in someone else who likes your
idea And you introduce yourself
with your 30-second pitch. Okay if your
potential customer is the New York City
government, would that mean that government
funding for small business would be
out of the question? Not at all. I think my customers would
include the New York City government who
has lots of people in their care who are cared
for by various programs that the
city pays for and has an interest in controlling
those medical medication costs
and use of their hospitals and use
of their Medicaid dollars and their
Medicare dollars. So, no. Not at all.
Now if you’re building– if you have an idea for a
better subway or something, that may
be a tough call. But I’d have to know more
about your idea. So I’ll just leave it
there. You can pitch ideas directly but that’s dangerous. You want
to be careful. It’s very rare that
an investor would want to have the
passion to take your idea and do something
with it. But if I had a scientific
improvement for a faster central
processing unit and I went to Intel with
that idea, I’d want to be careful that
they couldn’t exploit that idea without me.
So I might want to take the time to go
in with an actual patent rather than, you know,
because the power in that situation
is so uneven. You’d have a hard
time suing Intel because they have
a team of lawyers against you already. okay is it possible to get copies of the
business documents such as the business
plan five-page? All of these things are available in templates on the web
but I can certainly make what I have available in my classrooms that I
give my students but this guidance basically
overlaps most of that. But I would I
think you can find lots of guidance
on the web but you can see mine, if you’d
like, I’ll make sure that I see that
to be– Best way to get to find reputable
market research sources? So you
shouldn’t spend any money on market
research. If you’re just at the idea stage.
And you can sort of but you have to sometimes
spend a lot of time.
It’s helpful to be a student because there’s a lot
of free resources that are available
through academic libraries. But I would say that if you walk in
and talk to the reference librarian, she can put
you into a lot of tools. Tools like
where you can find academic articles
that on almost any market as well as
market research articles that are
available. I have never paid for formal
market research and I would avoid it.
It’s the kind of thing that IBM would do.
I don’t think a small business should be
spending their money that way. How should you protect yourself
from having your ideas stolen? Well one way is to
have a mutual NDA at the ready. Know the reputation of
the person you’re talking to and if you can protect
your intellectual property, do it. Like I said, I don’t have anything
that I generally can share digitally that isn’t
somehow already protected or doesn’t
need protection. Like certainly uh
I don’t know like Pfizer or Burke has
the funding to build a little company that
would tear apart my idea and do stuff
with it but they wouldn’t bother.
I mean they could just as easily buy my
company. So, in general, you have to be just
kind of — you just kind of have to go
for it. You know, I consider all my
competitors potential potential collaborators but
I don’t feed them my new ideas until they’re ready to be
shared. Trying to get a big company to take
on my ideas such as Google or Apple. Well they– Google and
Apple are pretty careful not to be
interested in your idea. They want to
not hear it because they’re very likely have someone who has your
expertise already in their company.
So what you need to do is get and
demonstrate your idea directly, grow it
into a company that looks desirable, and
have people who buy companies for Google. If you do your research, those
are the people you should be talking to.
There are plenty of people who sold
businesses to Google. So that’s the person
you need to get on your team. What if
you’re just out of college and you lack extensive experience credibility? But you know (unintelligible).
Well first of all if you finish college you’re already
ahead of many very famous
entrepreneurs. So you shouldn’t let that
stop. You have an expertise and you
have the solution in some respects
people who are in college aren’t embedded
in all the tools of business so they’re
they’re much more light on their feet. They’re ready to relocate in ways
somebody with a family and a mortgage
are not ready to move around.
So you know keep it keep in mind your advantages
you can pick up and apply to accelerators
all over the country. There’s an accelerator in Buffalo that gives
away five million dollars twice a year. A million dollars to the top
company. Five hundred thousand to eight
others. So your ability to
pick up and move to Buffalo because
that’s a requirement. To spend a year there
means that you’re more able than a lot
of other people to go after that money
for example. Can you please further elaborate
more ways one can protect their
ideas? Well hopefully I’ve done
that. Patents, trade secrets, non-disclosure
agreements, trademarks. Provisional patents. You can file between– I don’t know what it will cost you in the
city but friendly lawyers who work with
the accelerators I have experience
with you can get a provisional file for
around five hundred dollars. So, you know, it’s worth working
overtime a little bit, saving that five hundred and putting
in a provisional to really protect something
that needs patent protection. Well SBIR
specifically require research and you’re
being reviewed by people who have MDS
and PhD. So you’ll find that to go after
an SBIR requires some kind of credibility that either comes from your
academic background or bringing an academic
on to the team. So if you bring an idea
to a professor and they like your idea,
then you can join forces and go after an SBIR. It’s a little trickier on the DoD side
you don’t necessarily have to have high academic
degrees but you need to be like master’s level engineering with a
successful experience to pass that —
the peer test there. Hopefully that answers
your question. Yes, matter of fact there are formal mentoring programs and
if you don’t have one, you’re making a big mistake. I have probably too
many but they’re all helpful to me.
They’ve all been critical at one point or another and you
can take on mentors and kind of push
them away as you– as your needs change
and they’ll expect that. More likely
they’ll push you out the door when you’re ready. So mentoring is
incredibly helpful and and almost necessary if
you haven’t run a company. What’s the
best way to find VCs to pitch to? in San Francisco I know
there are several. Well they’re VC is everywhere.
Yes there are pitch events. I like F6S. At F6S, is a an
international site that lists a lot of business
competitions and the Kauffman Foundation
has an engine that lists business
competitions and you can also use tools
like Angel List and Gust, which I use in
my class to find BCs. And then they’re
tools like Pitch Book which cost money but your university may give
you access to that. What opportunity you foresee for retirees starting a
business? Well that’s a huge area and
AARP actually has specific events
and tools to help support that.
So I would encourage you to type in entrepreneur
and AARP and follow those links. Okay that’s all the
questions.>>Thank you so much,
Anthony Sterns. If you could just go to the next slide, please. I want to remind everyone that
today’s webinar was sponsored by the online degrees
in business at the CUNY School of Professional Studies which has eight fully online undergraduate
programs and five fully online
graduate programs as well as certificates.
We also created an SPS entrepreneurship
Network to support our students who
have entrepreneurial aspirations and we are
hoping to connect them with mentors and
each other to find teams that have similar
interests. Those are all things that
are in the future for our entrepreneurship
Network. I invite you to check
us out at sps.cuny.edu to learn more about
our programs. You should also know that
we have a physical location at 119 West
31st Street in the heart of midtown
Manhattan near the Empire State Building
and we welcome anyone that’s in the
New York area to come and meet with
us. if you go to our website and our events
page you will see that we have information
sessions coming up at the end of May
for both the BS in Business and the MS in
Business Management and
Leadership. To learn more about our business
degrees, if that is of interest to you
or to colleagues or people that you know, the CUNY School of Professional Studies
was created in 2003 specifically to meet the needs of
working adults like yourselves. and so I would love to thank
you for joining us today and I look forward
to hearing from you in the near
future thank you. Thank you and
have a great day.

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