Follow These Simple Steps to Success

Ready to get started? We’ve pulled together some resources and timelines to help you prepare for your adventure.

Learn

Idea Generation

Learn to generate new ideas by embracing every crazy idea!

Idea vs Opportunity

Identify the differences between ideas and opportunities and understand how each affects the other.

How to Pitch an Idea

Learn how to properly give a pitch by demonstrating your interests with real-world examples.

Terms

We know these words can be a little confusing. Please take a few minutes to review key entrepreneurial terms.

Venture

Think of a Business Venture as a Business ADVENTURE. When you embark on an adventure you may have an idea of where you’ll end up, and you may have some of the tools you need to get you to your destination, but you have no idea what will happen along the way. A Business Venture is the same! You have an idea for a product or service you want to offer, and you may have some of the tools or skills you need to make that idea a reality. But, you have no idea what will happen along the way. Where will your Business Adventure take you?

Self-sustaining

If someone gave you one million dollars to start a pizza shop, and you decide to give away all your pizzas for free, what will eventually happen? It may take some time, but eventually you’ll run out of money, and therefore run out of free pizza to give away. However, if you use that same money to get your pizza shop started, and then charge $10 for every pizza you make, you can use that new money to buy more ingredients and make more pizzas. A self-sustaining venture can support itself without any help from the outside. A self-sustaining pizza shop charges for pizzas and doesn’t rely on outside support. A free pizza shop may be tasty and fun for awhile, but is not self-sustaining.

Product

If you spend time working on something and when you’re done working you can say, “Hey, look at this thing I made!,” then you have a product. Maybe the thing you used to do the work was your mind and the thing you made is a short story. Your short story is a product! Or, maybe you have a lot of people in a car factory working many hours to build a car. That car is a product! Big or small… cheap or expensive… if you labored to create something, that “thing” is your product.

Service

At the local cupcake shop the baker in the kitchen mixes all the ingredients to create a product, delicious cupcakes. But, there is also someone at the front counter helping customers choose the perfect cupcake. The front counter helper didn’t bake the cupcakes, but they are doing something important for the business. They’re providing a service, or doing something that helps someone else. Some businesses have a few people that provide a service, like the front counter worker at the cupcake shop. Some business ventures, like a locksmith or a tutor, are built entirely around providing a service to their customers and not making a product.

System

If you take apart a laptop computer and scatter the parts across a desktop you’ll have a lot of fancy, expensive pieces, but nothing that can function by itself. It is only when those parts are assembled the right way, in the right order, with the right commands being passed from piece to piece do you have a complete system we call a “computer.” A new business venture may focus on creating or improving a system. That venture could take a lot of different pieces (not always small computer pieces… sometimes those pieces could be other businesses!), assemble them in a logical way, and end up with something new for the world to use.

Customer validation

After all the brainstorming, idea sketches, tinkering, building, revisions, rebuilding, and last-minute changes, you’ll eventually be ready to put your amazing creation into the hands of a real customer. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Now all you can do is step back and watch. Did the customer like your creation? Did they use it the way you intended? Were they confused by any part of it? Did it solve a problem they had? Would they be willing to pay for what you’ve created? If your customers liked your creation, wanted to use it more, would pay for it, and thought it improved their lives… you’ve been validated! Showing customer validation means providing evidence that the users of your creation like what you’ve made and agree it is a great idea.

Recurring revenue model

If you take this fancy business term and break it into parts, it will be a lot easier to see how it may impact your venture. First, “recurring” means something that happens over and over again. Next, “revenue” means money coming into your business. And, lastly, a “model” is a plan or strategy. So, for your business, how do you create a plan to keep money coming in? If you are a cell phone company, you have your customers sign contracts so you know, month after month, they’ll be paying for your service. If you own a magazine, you have readers sign up for a subscription so they keep getting issues and you keep getting paid. Or, if you create a really great product, you can count on your customers coming back for more. After all, who wants gas station coffee when you could have Starbucks?

Create

Putting it all together

Prepare a one-page executive summary outline of the business idea and market opportunity.

Consider preparing an optional visual aid for your pitch presentation. We recommend using Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, or an app/website that can generate a PDF.

Record a video of your pitch presentation! All members of your team must speak at some point during your pitch. It should be 3-5 minutes in length and must be be uploaded to Vimeo, YouTube, or provide a working video file link. If you use a slideshow, be sure it is visible. The slideshow will be submitted separately.

Submit

Final steps

Once you're ready,

Submit Your Ideas

And then what…

Now:

February 13:

Deadline for online submission!

March 5-9, 12-16:

Regional Pitch Competition

April 2018:

Revise and prepare for live competition

April 9:

Live Pitch Competition in Indianapolis