Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Network presents the Workshop Series, Fall 2015

Kate Stuart
October 1, 2015
Posted in Announcements

Week 3 Preview: Value Proposition and Customer Segments- with Dr. John A. Bers

Dr. John A. Bers will discuss the Value Proposition and Customer Segments portion of the Business Model Canvas, which are imperative to the viability of any business and for which all of the other business model building blocks depend on

·        Speaker Background: Dr. Bers is Associate Professor of the Practice in the Engineering Management Program at Vanderbilt University's School of Engineering. He received his Bachelors in Science in Physical Chemistry from Yale University, his doctorate in Education from Harvard, and an M.B.A from the University of Chicago prior to coming to Vanderbilt. While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Bers' teaching concentration has included technology strategy, technology marketing, enterprise systems design, technology policy, and the Engineering Management Capstone Project course, which he developed in 2010. His research interests are in the management of emerging and radical innovation and the repositioning of technology across economic sectors. He served as the program’s Director of Undergraduate Studies from 1998 through 2010.


Week 2 RecapBasics of Customer Discovery and the Business Model Canvas. 

· Excellent Resource for Customer Discovery:

· The Business Model Canvas is used to test hypotheses related to how your hypothetic business operates to best address customer needs. These hypotheses are tested through interviews with the relevant customer segments 

· Excellent 2 min video overviewing the Business Model Canvas

· Core Set of Questions:

o   Look for Advice - not selling. You want to know what THEY actually think!

o   Questions to validate nature of pain - get stories and quotes

o   Assess willingness to buy, if.....

o   There is ALWAYS competition - evaluate competitors and alternative solutions

o   Establish a process for data analysis - the Buiness Model Canvas is a great tool!

· How to Find Interview subjects:

o   Co-suppliers have tremendous insights and connections

o   Trade and professional associations are a great source of contacts

o   Explore trade journals - editors and authors of stories are fantastic sources

o   Conferences

o   Monitor key forums and blogs (e.g. LinkedIn)

o   Be respectful - this is a great marketing tool - make them your partner

· Test critical business model assumptions. Focus on customer problem not product. Understand actual buyer behavior. Nail business before scaling.

· Speaker BackgroundGary Rawlins is a Texas A&M PhD graduate in Environmental Science & Engineering and has been developing businesses for over 40 years. As the Director of Business Development for Monsanto for over 2 decades, Gary led the way in creating a product line worth more than $250 million. He has since served in similar positions for several high-growth companies, including Crosslink and TechColumbus. Today, Mr. Rawlins is an independent consultant right here in Nashville. He has advised around 50 tech startups and boasts an exclusive track record of increasing sales and expanding product lines at global corporations.

· Speaker BackgroundByron Smith graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt and effectively used the Business Model Canvas to become CEO of EndoInsight.


Inline image 1