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