Five things I learnt from SETsquared’s Entrepreneurship Programme
In 2016 I took part in SETsquared’s Entrepreneurship Programme. I had started my company Typara in February 2016 and felt that we needed some support to move to the next level.
Typara’s mission is to take the pain out of audio (and video) transcription with a beautifully simple and enjoyable web based tool. Allowing users to free up precious time for more creative work.
- Understand the problem you are solving & company USPsThe Entrepreneurship Programme helped us to significantly refine our thoughts on the key selling points of our business. It gave us the language to use in order to articulate why our solution was powerful and valuable and really hone the unique selling points. On a practical level, it helped us create a powerful and succinct elevator pitch, which we’ve been using successfully ever since and has helped us open new doors.
- Who are your potential customers and understanding the size of your marketWe discussed the pros and cons of various potential target markets with the mentors and identified the freelance journalist market as the first key target for Typara. It’s a niche market, which is currently not served by any existing solutions.
- Meeting entrepreneurs who have been there and done itIt’s so useful hearing from other entrepreneurs who have been at the coalface. We heard from a seasoned entrepreneur who had sold one company and was developing another. It was good to hear about his journey and successes but what proved more powerful was to hear about his mistakes, how he recovered from them and what valuable lessons he learnt along the way. We also heard from a medical device start-up and what really came across from this case study was the perseverance needed to sell their device into the NHS. They urged us not to give up and talk to everybody and anybody who would listen to us about our business plans.
- Understanding the numbersWhilst I have a technical, mathematical based background, I had no experience of finances in a business context. This course gives you the practical skills and tools to map out a financial plan for the business and a template on which to do this. This makes your business idea much more tangible, as you start to understand how many customers you will need year on year to make your business viable.
- Feedback, feedback, feedbackYou get so much valuable input on this course. Facilitators and mentors circulate throughout the two days offering their help and support. You get the opportunity to pitch your idea to investors and business experts, which whilst daunting is an essential skill in business and again you get live feedback afterwards in the form of a speed mentoring session. This kind of input from experts at the top of their game is like gold dust and has really enabled me to push my venture forwards.
Typara is currently trialling its web based app as a closed Beta. We’re gaining valuable feedback and are working on improving the tool, prior to launching it to the public. We’re now a member of the SETsquared Basingstoke Hub, so also benefit from ongoing mentoring and support from the Entrepreneur in Residence, Adrian Braine.
Whether you are new to running a business or are a seasoned entrepreneur about to launch a new venture, I would highly recommend SETsquared’s Entrepreneurship Programme.
It forces you to ask those difficult questions about your business proposition but in a supportive and fun environment. You will come away from it so much richer – armed with a better understanding of the problem-solution fit you are offering, the size of your potential market and ultimately a much clearer idea of how to get your business off the ground.
Attendance is free and it’s only two-days away from the office, so I would urge anybody thinking of starting a tech business to give it a go. Connect with Typara on Twitter
The dates of the next programmes are:
- 2nd – 3rd February 2017, Basingstoke
- 15th – 16th March 2017, Guildford