Assignment 3

Assignment 3: Team Advisor, Description of Target Customer, & Value Proposition (version 1.0)

Target customer evaluation sheet (PDF)

Team Advisor

An important part of a new venture is developing an Advisory Board of thought leaders that have relevant industry experience. These advisors can be called upon for strategic advice or introductions to individuals in their personal networks. To gain experience with recruiting and working with an Advisory Board, we ask that your team find one individual to advise you during the business planning process. The advisor may be an alumnus, executive from a former employer, or any other contact. For the purposes of this exercise, we ask that you Avoid using other MIT faculty, but Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship EIRs and coaches are eligible.

You will rely on your advisor for questions as you prepare each business plan section, and for feedback once each section is completed. This feedback will be in addition to the feedback provided by the course faculty in order to provide you with another perspective on your decisions. Your advisor should be prepared to spend between 30 and 60 minutes with a member of your team for each section deliverable (approximately 5 times during the semester). The deliverable for this assignment is either a resume or biography of your advisor.

Description of Target Customer

Prepare a 1–2 page description of target customer. Paint the customer's persona and describe them in all dimensions. Key elements include:

  1. Did the student team go through a process to focus on one manageable beachhead market to get the new venture started and deselect the others for the time being? Was it thoughtful?
  2. Did the student team vividly describe the target customer profile with enough specificity and knowledge? (i.e. from primary market research)
  3. Does the target customer have a well-defined "pain" or offer an excellent unexploited opportunity?
  4. Was a persona developed of the end user?
  5. Was the persona credible and valuable?
  6. Were additional secondary personas required and were they developed?
  7. Was the target customer profile and persona then effectively extrapolated to a larger market?
  8. Were 10 specific target customers named consistent with the profile/persona?
  9. Was it demonstrated that the target customer has the money to buy the solution?
  10. Was there a discussion of the DMU (Decision Making Unit) to make the purchase happen?
  11. Was there a discussion of the DMP (Decision Making Process) required to buy a solution?
  12. Was a credible TAM (Total Addressable Market) calculation made for the initial market? The larger market?

There might be other considerations that you want to include (e.g. geographic concentration) that could be relevant. Use this framework as a guide but not a straitjacket if you feel the story can be more effectively told with other information.

We understand that your Description of Your Target Customer will be incomplete at this time and you will fill it out and refine it over time, but make a first draft of all sections so you realize what work needs to be done in the near future and it will keep you focused on the customer and not your technology or product—which is the right orientation.

Value Proposition Section (version 1.0)

Articulate your company's value proposition in three slides or less. Break the value proposition into primary and secondary value and identify your unique selling proposition.

NOTE: This detail on the quantified value proposition will end up in the product section but it is essential to understand what it is early on.

Key elements include:

  1. Did the student team vividly describe the target customer? (builds off previous work which you should have refined further by now)
  2. Were the top three priorities of the target customer identified and described?
  3. Was it credible that these were the top three priorities of the target customer?
  4. Did the student team vividly describe the target customer's "as-is state" today identifying the pain point or great oppo5.
  5. Was this done through a use case presented in a credible and compelling manner?
  6. Was the potential solution described in a general (not detailed yet) manner?
  7. Was the future possible state made clear with the new solution offered by the team using the same use case?
  8. Was the difference quantified in a key metric aligned with the top priority?
  9. Was this translated to a benefits level?
  10. Was it credible, compelling and quantified?
  11. Was the team able to reference at least one specific real customer to validate the data/info presented?

Again, we understand that you will not have the finalized version yet of all of this information, but it is essential for the process that you attempt to do each step and do it to the best of your ability. Note the shortcomings and address them in the upcoming weeks.