Developing New Venture course at CEU was one of the main reasons I joined this EMBA program. A chance to learn how to convert an idea into a sustainable business in a structured way seemed too tempting to turn away. The course runs over 2-3 trimesters and is usually offered in 2nd or 3rd trimester into the program.
Our new venture idea was born a couple of months ago and we started working on it right away, looking at the problem from different perspectives, brainstorming and trying to solve it through our offering. We did little study about market size or customer behavior but we were confident that our idea will solve some real problems in the market we are targeting. After all, everybody we talked to sounded pretty enthusiastic about it. So, we went in to our first discussion with Prof. Gyorgy Bogel and Prof. Bala Mulloth with our mind already made up about what we wanted to build.
It was a kind of reality check. Nobody asked us so many questions before. We were so consumed and focused on the solution we were building that we probably didn’t pay enough attention to many other aspects and key figures that matter. It wasn’t necessarily wrong, but it surely pays to build the solution on the back of solid demand. I think it will be useful to share my experience on how to best exploit the opportunities offered by New Venture Development course at CEU and probably at other universities as well.
What to do in the first meeting
Have an open-mind. Better not to have the complete solution. This is an opportunity to share your findings about the problem your venture is trying to solve, present your vision of the solution and how the future would look like for your venture. Brainstorm and collect ideas, build the solution together. Support each of your statements with relevant data. It may be publicly available data on market segments or results of dedicated surveys. If there is no data available, build your own survey and learn consumer behavior. Otherwise there is no way to know how your solutions will be accepted in the marketplace, or if your solution is at all needed. Pay attention to revenue streams. It is always recommended to have multiple revenue streams in the business. Openly discuss how to monetize the available resources and your core strengths.
What will you gain
Its up to individuals how much they wish to gain from this interaction or from the whole program. You may lay naked and let the sun warm your whole body or cover yourself in a cocoon to block every single ray. Its hard to take criticism but it also brings out the best if taken positively. We made some basic mistakes and learned from them. These kinds of open discussions will really help better understand the underlying problem, refine your solution and build a strong foundation for your venture.
We’re super excited to have chosen this path and now look forward to give it our best shot. There are still many questions to be answered to assess the market needs and to really build a solution that addresses people’s concerns and that can be scaled.
Stay tuned to see how our venture takes shape. In the meantime, feel free to post any questions you may have and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.