Tag Archives: Pre Launch

University of San Diego Hosts Competition to Fuel Entrepreneurship

University of San Diego Hosts Competition to Fuel Entrepreneurship

On Thursday April 23rd 2015 the University of San Diego School of Business will hold an exciting campus-wide competition in a “Shark Tank” like setting.

The V2 Pitch Competition is a free event with a diverse and action packed agenda including:

Networking Reception, Keynote Speaker James Brennen Co-Founder of Suja Juices, USD Student Entrepreneur Pitches, Bi-National Student Pitches.

Networking Reception 5- 6pm:

The opportunity to mix and mingle with Entrepreneurs, Investors, Mentors, and Academia in a unique setting.

Key Note Speaker James Brennan 6pm- 6:50pm:

James Brennan is the co-founder of Suja a San Diego based juice company, named #2 on Forbes Most Promising Companies in 2015. James is a hospitality innovator in award winning restaurateur, a successful social entrepreneur.

USD Student Entepreneur Pitches 6:55pm- 7:32 pm:

4 Teams of Startup Entreprenurs from University of San Diego will pitch live to a panel of angel investors for a cash and price package worth up to $100,000.

2015 USD Startup finalists include:

  • EquityEats a premier equity crowdfunding platform, dedicated to exclusively to restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.
  • Yes Man Watches a unique patent-pending watch manufacture, that redefines watch buckle sizing.
  • PhotoSurvey simplifies the sharing photo process from capture to collection sharing, a popular product used by Engineers and Architects alike.
  • myHerbPharm an online alternative pharmacy, that provides medicinal solutions based on traditional Chinese herbs.
  • Bi-National Entrepreneur Pitches 7:32- 8:15pm:

    4 Teams of Startup Entrepreneurs from Mexican Universities will bring their entrepreneurial ideas across the border, in efforts to increase economic development internationally.

    2015 Bi-National Finalist include:

  • Giftcar: A trending mobile application that provides sales and personalized gift delivery services
  • Stella: A wearable device measures UV sun exposure in real time, and notifies your smartphone when the wear should seek sun protection.
  • Brecher: Using rapid prototyping techniques, Brecher helps inventors and startup entrepreneurs manufacture ideas into products.
  • Mocket: A mobile application that rewards consumers for shopping with certain merchants, while helping businesses gain brand ambassadors.
  • Entrepreneur/Investor Individual Meetings 8:15-9:30pm:

    One on one meeting between Startup finalists teams and the angel investor panel to help deliberate the winners.

    Grand Finale and Award Ceremony 9:30pm:

    Cash prizes and awards that will help winning startup pitches turn business ideas into reality.

    The Startup Garage is please to be a part of the V2 Competition in look forward to helping evolve the Startup landscape both locally and globally.

    Register Today

    V2 Competition Event

    If you have a question about your Startup business idea or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    How to Launch 13 EdTech Startups in 54 Hours

    How to Launch 13 EdTech Startups in 54 Hours

    Sound like an impossible task?

    Step inside Startup Weekend NYCEDU, a 3-day event that occurred March 27- 29th 2015 in New York City.

    Within the four walls of The World School, teams of entrepreneurs, educators, developers, and designers collaborated to bring education technology concepts into creation in a mere 54 hours.

    #SWnycedu kicked off Friday night with an open mic in which 42 individuals pitched their Startup business ideas to an audience of 150 Edtech enthusiasts in efforts to join their team and bring once novel ideas to life. Pitches included statements like “This isn’t just a weekend thing, I’m looking for co-founders for the company.” A statement, that evoked both present opportunity and future possibility, for those bold enough to believe in the concept.

    Upon conclusion of the pitches, teams formed (in this instance 13 teams) based on the most popular Startup ideas. The rest of the weekend was spent deep in the trenches of Startup brainstorming sessions, product development and execution.

    Edtech product developments ranged from more traditional learning apps like Poly, a parent to teacher translation tool, to those WizArt, which connects the art curious to the art educated for a unique educational experience.

    In the spirit of competition breeding innovation, the 13 newly formed teams raced against the clock in order to present a viable business model to a panel of judges on Sunday evening. Also evident with the 54 hour Edtech journey was the comradery amongst event attendees and the formation of longstanding business and personal friendships.

    “ I was personally blown away by not only the quality of the work (in speaking to one of the sponsors during demo night, he thought a number of the companies could turn into viable businesses), but also the depth of relationships built. By Sunday night, it was clear to me that many meaningful connections had been made. I also think we had the right space and the right people to produce some really thoughtful and potentially influential prototypes.” Said Laura Patterson Communications and Marketing lead for NYCEDU 2015.

    Startup Weekend NYCEDU grand finale included a 5 minute pitch given by each of the 13 Startups with a 2 minute window for Q & A from the panel of 4 judges. The judges included: Preeti Birla from Innovate NYC Schools, Wiley Cerilli from First Round Capital, Christy Crawford from Bronx Community Charter and Jason DeRoner from TeachBoost.

    As a witness to the 13 pitches, all were inspiring and shined a new light on game changing education hacks that certainly have the power to transform our educational institutions to various degrees. However, only 1 Edtech Startup reined supreme, Mr. Cesar App, which captured 1st place at SWnycedu.

    The Mr. Cesar app was inspired from the following problem:
    “The average student guidance counselor ratio in the US is 470 to 1. For minority, low-income students, that ratio doubles to 1000 to 1. In this environment, many high achieving, under-resourced students who might have a fighting chance at highly selective schools end up placed at local colleges with lower graduation rates and quality of education.”

    Be sure to keep Mr. Cesar App. on your radar along with the 12 other Startups that launched over March 27th weekend as this won’t be the 1st or last time they’ll be reinventing education on and offline.

    Do you have a Startup Business Idea or want to support those that do? Startup Weekends powered by Google for Entreprenuers have hosted over
    1,500 events to date, spanning 726 international cities, yielding over 13,000 startups created by over 123,000 entrepreneurs. Check out the event calendar, get involved and launch a Startup in 54 hours there’s never been a better time in history to do so!

    If you have a question about your Startup business idea or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Where to find market, industry and competitive analysis?

    Competitive research from The Starup Garage

    Where to find market, industry and competitive analysis?

    Welcome to video Fridays
    from The Start Up Garage

    A place where Tyler Jensen, The Startup Garage’s founder, answers questions directly from viewers

    Key Take Aways From Video:

    1) One of the first places I start with is industry associations or trade associations for that particular industry that you’re going to be in.

    2) Google search — really getting into google and searching for the data that you’re looking for is a great place to start, especially on the competitive analysis because your competitors are going to be online most likely, or they’re probably not a competitor.

    3) The library has access to a lot of databases. These databases cost a lot of money, but if you go through your library you can get free access to them.

    4) Build a team of advisors These are probably the best resource.

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    I Have a Great Idea, What’s Next

    I Have a Great Idea, What's Next from The Startup Garage

    I Have a Great Idea, What’s Next

    You have a great idea and want to start a business, so now what? One step I like to recommend to new entrepreneurs is that you start with a self assessment. The idea is for you to learn more about yourself, your personal and financial goals and how committed you are to getting your business off the ground and successful. Once you have completed an assessment, read through it again to see if your passion, business idea and personal and financial goals align with one another.

    If you determine that your goals and business idea align, you now need to make the distinction between that great idea and a great business business. An idea is usually a product or service that will be sold to a particular group of people. A business is the vehicle, strategy, and system around the idea that makes it profitable. This includes strategies for how to produce the product or service, how to distribute it, how to market it, and how to turn all of that into a profit.

    Take the time to answer the following questions to develop a clear concept of your business:

    • What business do you want to start?
    • What product/service do you plan to sell?
    • Who will buy your product/service?
    • Why will they choose your business?
    • When will customers buy your product/service?
    • How will customers know about your company?
    • What will you charge customers for your product/service?
    • What you are going to do different?
    • How is your business going to stand out and succeed?

    Once you have answered these questions and have a clear direction of your idea and business concept it is time to write a business plan. A business plan will set the foundation for your company, and then it will be time to launch.

    Whether you have a question about Launching your Business or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    What to Consider When Starting a Company With Your Spouse

    What to Consider When Starting a Company With Your Spouse from The Startup Garage

    What to Consider When Starting a Company With Your Spouse

    Starting a business can be a risky endeavor (quitting your job, spending your savings, good potential for failure, and the list goes on).  Starting a business with your spouse can be even riskier when you consider your shared finances, your retirement funds, your relationship, your mental health and happiness.  Before you risk everything, ask yourself the following questions:

    1. Are you willing, able and ready to work together?  For any successful business, you must have a proper business plan.  Part of this plan should outline ownership, roles, responsibilities, etc.  Be sure that you and your spouse have a very clear understanding of each of these areas of the business.  The more that you can divide your roles and responsibilities in different areas of the business, the better you will be able to share power and minimize arguments.
    2. Can you mesh your personal and business lives seamlessly?  Be sure to draw boundaries so that you maintain some semblance of your romantic life.  Furthermore, make sure that you both have enough room to work so that when one is working with clients, or needs personal space or room to think strategically, there is not a conflict.  Lastly, make sure that you have developed an effective way of airing differences and resolving disputes.  You certainly will not see eye-to-eye on all aspects of the business.  The better system you have for managing these discrepancies, the more successful you will be at doing so and the happier you will be with one another.
    3. Are you clear with one another on what financial risks each is willing to take?  There is a good chance that you will not see eye-to-eye in terms of when it is time to call it quits.  By discussing your financial runway with one another and having a mutual understanding of when it is time to quit, you will save the headache and potential fallout down the road.
    4. Lastly, ask yourself, what comes first, the relationship or the business?  If and when times get tough, one of you may face the decision of having to lose the business to save the relationship.  Determine when enough is enough.


    Even if you think you know your answers as well as your spouse’s answers to all of these questions, it is wise to sit down together and have an open discussion.  Whether you determine that you are on the same page and ready to push forward, or you find that you have too many differences and that it would be too risky to go into business together, this is a worthwhile practice that will help mitigate any potential risks associated with starting a business with your spouse.

    Whether you have a question about Running a Business or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    So You Want to Start a Business?

    So You Want To Start A Business from The Startup Garage

    So You Want to Start a Business?

    7 visual steps to guide you through the startup process

    This infographic from Bolt effectively outlines what you will need to know to get your business up and running. Below are links for more information on each step.

    'So you want start a business?' Infographic

    Step 1: Write a Business Plan

    Step 2: Choose a Business Location

    Step 3: Finance your Business and Choose a Legal Structure

    Step 4: Register your Business Name

    Step 5: Get a Tax Identification Number and Register for State and Local Taxes

    Step 6: Obtain a Business License and Permits

    Step 7: Understand Employer Responsibilities


    Whether you have a question about Starting a Business, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Create an Effective Online Presence

    Create An Effective Online Presence from The Startup Garage

    Create an Effective Online Presence

    The environment of the web is continually changing, the weighted importance of real-time content, social integration and mobile compatibility rising significantly in the last few years. These changes are creating opportunities and challenges for companies and organizations of all scales and experience depending on adaptability and preparation.

    Online Integration ImageYour online presence is created by the ongoing conversation between the website (your virtual storefront), fresh and relevant content, and your community (social media integration).

    The first step is to lock down your brand, define your identity and stick to it. Create your website to reflect your company’s purpose and ideals, while keeping visual elements consistent. If you removed your logo, would visitors still recognize it as your brand?

    The ease of use of your site for both the visitor and the content manager is one of the most important elements for online success. Establish a clear purpose and goals for the site’s foundation. Develop a strategy to encourage visitors to take action and draw out a sitemap to support your goal. Navigation and layout should be simple and intuitive, promoting the visitor to explore.

    Create your site in a content management system that allows you to easily and comfortably update and add content. It is increasingly important that your site stay fresh and offer your audience a reason to return. This not only positions you as a knowledgeable resource, but also improves your position in search results.

    The shift to mobile web browsing is expected to overcome traditional browsing in the next few years, making the effectiveness of your website heavily reliant on its ability to maintain functionality across devices. You should know your audience and what devices they use, but your site should ideally perform across all platforms. The recommended method is to create one responsive design layout, versus creating and updating multiple devise-specific sites.

    Integrating media outlets will allow you to operate more effectively and efficiently, while stimulating real-time conversation in the community. Your involvement in the various social media platforms will vary depending on your business. Carefully select which of these will be the most effective in achieving your goals and commit to evolving your brand’s presence in each. Tools are readily available to integrate posts from one platform to another, saving you time and increasing exposure. Even with a wealth of content, only posting to your own site will most likely not create the following or involvement you desire.

    In the era of the web, creating your presence online can be equally, if not more important than a brick-and-mortar establishment as many people start the purchasing process with research online. Integrating your brand’s vision with its website, relevant content, and community will establish your company as an authority in the industry and could be the deciding factor in whether or not you make the sale.


    Whether you have a question about Creating an Online Presence, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Build an All-Star Startup Team

    Build An All-Star Startup-Team from The Startup Garage

    Build an All-Star Startup Team

    You have a great new business idea. As it forms into a plan, decisions will be made around how to support business functions necessary to succeed and if you should plan to assemble a team.

    Create a clear outline of how the company will develop as an organization. Understand your goals and format them to support a strong mission and vision. What skill sets and abilities are necessary for your business to succeed? Of these, which will you not be able to fulfill? Gain a clear understanding of yourself, your competencies and shortcomings. As resources will most likely be initially limited, understanding which functions and abilities are the most critical will allow you to target and bring on a team member that will bring the most value to the business.

    Once you have defined the position, it is time to look for the best candidate. At the startup level, traits including inventiveness, ambition, and autonomy should be heavily weighted. Look for people with experience in relevant fields, interest in startups, and an ability to perform across functions of the business. The ideal candidate will be driven to achieve the goals you have set and share passion for the success of the company.

    Networking and becoming involved in the community – online or offline – are good places to start when looking for the right people to create your team. Your own social network is a valuable tool. Communicating an enthusiasm for your new business will often attract people with entrepreneurial drive.

    It is important to build a team with personalities that complement each other. However, your first few additions should have skills different from your own with backgrounds crossing business functions. Your goal is to create a solid foundation for your business to grow.


    Whether you have a question about Building a Startup Team, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Top Aspects to Look for When Finding a Business Location

    Location Aspects in Business Planning from The Startup Garage

    Top Aspects to Look for When Finding a Business Location

    Once a business plan is finished, subsequently the next phase is to implement the key elements in the business plan, including finding a location if you are a brick and mortar business.

    Location, Location, Location. This saying has been used time and time again to emphasize the association of being successful and having a good location, and time and time again this saying has been proven to be true. There are a few vital things to look for when seeking a location that will lead your business to success.

    Appropriate location for type of business: First things first. One of the most important aspects of your business location is finding the appropriate location for the type of business. It is imperative that your location suits what type of business you will be running in it. For example, if you are starting a restaurant you may want to find a place that has ample floor space, the correct electrical wiring, lighting, ventilation, and compensation for the equipment needed (gas hookups, floor drains, walls and ceilings able to endure heat, fire prevention equipment, etc.). The location should match your business type unless you are purchasing a location to remodel or renovate.

    Surrounding Area: Parking, major roads, foot traffic, and reputation of the neighborhood are all importing things to note when choosing a location. Parking can be one of the most important aspects of your business especially in the startup phase. If a customer cannot find a place to park, they may just go to another location that they are familiar with. Since your business will not have much notoriety to start customers wont waste their time if getting to your business is a hassle or is not convenient. Ample parking space is vital to a successful location leading to a prosperous business.

    Major roads surrounding your business location can be a great asset. It will not only ensure ease of access to your location but it will also make your business noticeable and visible to the public. By being able to see your business by driving by, a customer is more likely to stop at your location because it is convenient to access. Customers do not usually want to travel around small hidden streets to find a business, especially if it is just a startup and new.

    A safe clean area surrounding your new location is important to reel in customers. Fewer people will want to visit your business if it is located in a neighborhood that has a bad name; it actually could veer potential customers away.

    A location that harbors an immense amount of foot traffic is ideal. There is nothing easier than reeling people into your business solely because they are walking by. Also if you have foot traffic a compelling storefront is important. Convenience will increase the prosperity of your business.

    Rent or Purchasing Costs: Can you afford this location? This can be the downfall of a location; pricing. Many prestigious locations that offer all of the aforementioned will have very high purchasing or rent costs. Setting a budget range will ensure that you get a location that you like at a price that you can afford. If you have completed financial projections, you will have a good idea of what you can afford.

    Be aware of competition: The worst thing you could do is open a business around other similar businesses. It would not be in the best interest of either party to start an Italian restaurant across the street from another Italian restaurant. When you start, you will have to overcome reputation of an established business, and even when you are established, you will still lose business to the competitors easily. The best thing to do is find a location next to complimentary businesses that you will not have to battle with like starting a high end restaurant near a high class hotel. The hotel can recommend the restaurant to its guests and vice versa, both parties are compensated equally.

    Although finding a location is not the first thing that you will be doing for your business, it is an important thing to think about. Certain aspects of your location can actually threaten the success of your business. If your location is hard to find, not suited for your type of business, surrounded by competition, or is located in a bad area, you may be setting your business up for disaster. The best location for your business will become clearer after writing a business plan because you will know the market, competitors and industry.

    Whether you have a question about Top Aspects to Look for When Finding a Business Location, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Benchmarking for Startups

    Entrepreneurship Benchmarks from The Startup Garage

    Benchmarking for Startups

    In the business world there are a million different ways to measure success. In essence, what makes your business a success depends on your goals. So how do you measure your success? Its actually much simpler than you may think, using a process called benchmarking. Benchmarking is the process of comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and/or best practices from other industries. In fact, you should first be introduced to benchmarking in the earliest stages of your business, the business plan writing process, and more specifically the competitive analysis section of your plan. It is incredible how much you can learn from studying and analyzing your competitors, and a significant amount of research should be dedicated to doing just that.

    In order to complete the competitive analysis section of your business plan you will need to gather as much information about your competitors as possible. The more information you are able to gather, the better the conclusions you will be able to draw from your research. The tricky part of benchmarking is deciding which factors actually apply to your specific market and your specific point in time. You will want to analyze not only the similarities between yourself and the competitors but your fundamental differences as well. This is a great opportunity for you to analyze your strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition. If you do this honestly and accurately, you will give yourself a better chance to improve.

    Benchmarking is an effective tool to measure success if your business is already operating. Your goals should be clearly laid out in your business plan, and you should have a clear set of key metrics that you use to gauge success. Compare your list of key metrics such as gross revenue, net profits, profit margins, revenue growth, accounts receivable time, market share, liquidity, and turnover ratios to other industry participants and see how you are doing. This will give you a good idea of where you stand as compared to the industry average, and let you know where you need to improve as well as where you are already excelling.

    Many business owners and people writing business plans do not thoroughly execute a benchmarking study because they think that they do not have access to their competitors numbers. This is probably because they havent looked for this data. Here are a few ways to track down some of the data that will be beneficial for benchmarking.

    1. Ask other business owners- Form alliances with similar businesses to yours, but located in other cities, so that you don’t compete directly. If you can agree to share financials with one another then you have a legitimate source for really good information.
    2. Ask an industry association- Industry groups often conduct polls of their membership in which business owners anonymously disclose information about their financials. While these won’t tell you how individual competitors are faring, industry statistics often give you good general comparison figures on how a typical business in your industry is doing.
    3. Buy or find market research- If you’re willing to spend, there is market research available on almost every industry segment.

    Benchmarking is a very important process when comparing yourself to the rest of your industry. Do as much research as you can and dig as deeply as possible in order to find out the most information that you can about your competitors. Often times the answers to your problems are out there, you just have to spend the time and energy to find them.


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    Whether you have a question about Benchmarking for Startups, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!