Harvard business school business plan competition 2011

She spoke recently with HBR executive editor Sarah Cliffe about how to recognize an oncoming crisis—and seize opportunities to get ahead of competitors. Listen to the interview this piece is based on. Download this podcast HBR: Why is there so much interest […].

With product life cycles growing ever shorter and competition cropping up in unexpected places, nearly every industry is facing disruption. How can you tell if your model is running out of gas? For starters, if your next-generation innovations provide smaller and smaller improvements and your people have trouble thinking of new ways to enhance your offering.

Pay heed to the signs and start experimenting with several new options until you find one that will turn your threat into an opportunity. HBR: Why is there so much interest in business model innovation right now? McGrath: I see three main reasons. The first is the increasing speed of everything. Product life cycles and design cycles are getting shorter. When the pace of change gets faster, people realize that they need to look for the next big thing.

The second issue is interindustry competition. Competition is coming from unexpected places.

harvard business school business plan competition 2011

And the third trend is disruptions from business models that offer better customer experiences instead of simply products. Traditional toy retailers are struggling, but Build-a-Bear gets people to pay good money to provide free labor and make their product themselves. Maxine Clark, the entrepreneur who thought that up, was brilliant! Which industries are facing the biggest disruptions?

Oil and gas are probably stable. Some consumer packaged goods are, too. What are the signs that a business model is running out of gas?

The first clear stage is when next-generation innovations offer smaller and smaller improvements.

When Your Business Model Is in Trouble

Second, you hear customers saying that new alternatives are increasingly acceptable to them. And finally, the problem starts to show up in your financial numbers or other performance indicators. So you get a denial reaction initially, followed by desperate attempts to eke just a little more time out of the existing model. The recognition that things must change happens only when it is far too late, and then change is much more painful than it had to be.

Are there any business models—like the experience providers you mentioned—that are on their way up? Some business models are more powerful than others. Basically, you should look for models that create customer stickiness or loyalty or barriers to entry. Anything that gets automatically renewed gives you a certain amount of stickiness, especially if the customer has to work to change providers. One reason companies are so motivated to get you to manage your accounts online with them is that once you do, it takes serious work to discontinue the relationship.

Then there are the platform models. Microsoft is a classic example. Platforms allow you to charge more and to hold on to an advantage for a long time.The New Venture Competition Alumni Track serves as a launch pad for innovative new ventures from HBS alumni, providing access and exposure to potential investors, mentors, and advisors. The competition is open to alumni with early-stage ventures, and winners receive an invitation to the Global Finals Round and NVC Finale. Through our collective efforts, we want to recognize co founders where the venture has challenging proof-points of development typical of tough technology ventures.

It can also be thought of as being a breakthrough idea in which founders and investors are not likely to realize an early profit. If you believe that your venture is eligible to be considered for the Tough Tech Prize, then you will find an option to self-select your venture for this prize in the application form.

New Venture Competition. Applications open October 19, and close January 11, Apply to one of 8 global regions and participate in local programming, mentorship and early-stage feedback opportunities.

The deadline for submission is January 11, at pm noon ET Boston time. A pitch deck pdf is required. Each region will shortlist applicants to pitch their plans at their local competition—an opportunity to gain invaluable feedback, exposure, and experience.

The regional winners will move forward to the global finals round.

Make Your Competition Work for You

The selected regional winners will present to a panel of judges on March 30, The top 4 teams will also pitch at the Finale event where the Grand Prize and Runner-Up winners will be announced. JAN MAR 1.

harvard business school business plan competition 2011

MAR Winners are announced at the Finale show.The business plan admits the entrepreneur to the investment process. And the plan must be outstanding if it is to win investment funds. Too many entrepreneurs, though, continue to believe that if they build a better mousetrap, the world will beat […].

A compelling plan accurately reflects the viewpoints of your three key constituencies: the marketpotential investorsand the producer the entrepreneur or inventor of the new offering.

But too many plans are written solely from the perspective of the producer. To make a convincing case that a substantial market exists, establish market interest and document your claims.

harvard business school business plan competition 2011

Establish market interest. Provide evidence that customers are intrigued by your claims about the benefits of the new product or service:. Document your claims.

Now use data to support your assertions about potential growth rates of sales and profits. Cashing out. Show when and how investors may liquidate their holdings.

Venture capital firms usually want to cash out in three to seven years; professional investors look for a large capital appreciation. Making sound projections. Give realistic, five-year forecasts of profitability. The price. To make a convincing case for a rich return, get a product in the hands of representative customers—and demonstrate substantial market interest.

Too many entrepreneurs, though, continue to believe that if they build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to their door.

Also important is satisfying the needs of marketers and investors. Marketers want to see evidence of customer interest and a viable market. Investors want to know when they can cash out and how good the financial projections are. Drawing on their own experiences and those of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Enterprise Forum, the authors show entrepreneurs how to write convincing and winning business plans.

A comprehensive, carefully thought-out business plan is essential to the success of entrepreneurs and corporate managers. Whether you are starting up a new business, seeking additional capital for existing product lines, or proposing a new activity in a corporate division, you will never face a more challenging writing assignment than the preparation of a business plan. Only a well-conceived and well-packaged plan can win the necessary investment and support for your idea.

It must describe the company or proposed project accurately and attractively. You must present and justify ongoing and changing resource requirements, marketing decisions, financial projections, production demands, and personnel needs in logical and convincing fashion.

Competition in Pricing Algorithms

Because they struggle so hard to assemble, organize, describe, and document so much, it is not surprising that managers sometimes overlook the fundamentals. We have found that the most important one is the accurate reflection of the viewpoints of three constituencies. The market, including both existing and prospective clients, customers, and users of the planned product or service. Too many business plans are written solely from the viewpoint of the third constituency—the producer.

They describe the underlying technology or creativity of the proposed product or service in glowing terms and at great length. They neglect the constituencies that give the venture its financial viability—the market and the investor. Take the case of five executives seeking financing to establish their own engineering consulting firm.

But the executives did not determine which of the proposed dozen services their potential clients really needed and which would be most profitable.

By neglecting to examine these issues closely, they ignored the possibility that the marketplace might want some services not among the dozen listed.A fourth sector of the economy is emerging, with the power to transform the course of capitalism.

A growing number of socially motivated entrepreneurs have been creating new kinds of organizations that combine a social mission with a business engine.

They defy classification as pure business or nonprofit; rather, they are a blend of the two. Many more such enterprises would exist, except that few entrepreneurs have been able to choose for-benefit as a legally recognized organizational structure.

All this seems destined to change. For-benefits will become more commonplace as entrepreneurs learn to better navigate existing constraints, and as an ecosystem of support—including financial markets, accounting standards, and professional services—develops around them.

The even bigger news is what will happen then, writes the author.

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With formalization of the for-benefit structure, we will see the emergence of a fourth sector of the economy, interacting with but separate from government, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses. The rise of that sector is likely to reshape the future of capitalism. We are in a new era. For-profit businesses are tackling social and environmental issues, nonprofits are developing sustainable business models, and governments are forging market-based approaches to service delivery.

Out of this blurring of traditional boundaries, a different model of enterprise is emerging, driven by entrepreneurs who are motivated by social aims. When these entrepreneurs begin to create an entity to carry out their ideas, they often face a crippling and seemingly arbitrary question: whether to be a for-profit or a nonprofit. To some readers the distinction may seem straightforward, but a growing number of entrepreneurs chafe under those classifications.

How, for example, would you label the commercial car-sharing service I-GO in Chicago, which is structured as a nonprofit? The hybrid approach they employ can already be found across a wide range of industries and in pursuit of myriad important goals: eliminating homelessness, fighting drug addiction, reducing deaths from malaria, producing renewable energy.

Many socially minded entrepreneurs end up shoehorning their vision into one structure or the other and accepting burdensome trade-offs in the process. All this is destined to change. For-benefit enterprises will become more commonplace as entrepreneurs learn to better navigate existing constraints, and as an ecosystem of specialized support—including public policy, financial markets, accounting standards, and professional services—develops around them.

The even bigger news is what will happen then. With formalization of the for-benefit structure, we will see the emergence of a fourth sector of the economy, interacting with but separate from governments, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses. In the debate over U. COOPs combine the best of nonprofit, for-profit, cooperative, and public models.

They are private, consumer-governed health plans designed to serve the social purpose of furthering the well-being of their members. They are exempt from federal income tax. Like other insurers, COOPs must attract customers, charge premiums, and generate profits in order to maintain solvency and grow their membership.

But their profits must be directed toward improving benefits, enhancing quality of care, reducing premiums, or otherwise advancing their mission. Very quickly the COOP provision attracted attention from various groups interested in alternative health insurance models.

Take, for example, the Freelancers Union, a New York—based nonprofit dedicated to developing a social safety net for independent workers.

Its founder, Sara Horowitz, sees the COOP model as a perfect fit for an organization whose membership, numbering in the tens of thousands, constitutes a risk pool that can be insured at a reasonable cost. She and other proponents believe that COOPs can play a significant role in fostering higher quality of care, greater cost efficiency, and broader access throughout the U. Because it required re-imagining entrenched organizational structures that many considered immutable.

For-benefit models have broad applicability throughout the economy, but bringing their potential to life depends on just such reimagining, on two fronts: organizational architecture and ecosystems of support.

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What, exactly, does it mean to be a for-benefit? Two primary characteristics distinguish these organizations: a commitment to social purpose and a reliance on earned income. For-benefits are a new class of organization. Like nonprofits, they can pursue a wide range of social missions. Like for-profits, they can generate a broad range of products and services that improve quality of life for consumers, create jobs, and contribute to the economy.We have asked approximately CEOs to share with us the most pressing challenges that are keeping them awake at night in the midst of the global COVID pandemic.

A number of challenges were submitted, from managing a remote workforce to making decisions in the face of vast uncertainty. With such an unprecedented crisis, it is stretching and breaking apart even the strongest teams.

What do we need to do to view this terrible crisis as an opportunity to pivot and make changes that will allow our organizations to survive beyond the crisis? Because of the COVID outbreak, we are all taking in vast amounts of new information every day and adjusting to an entirely new set of behavioral habits.

harvard business school business plan competition 2011

In addition, most of us are dealing with unprecedented tasks and decisions on the job and in our personal lives. And we are all, one way or another, grieving. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air. We provide a top-level overview of major topics and ideas relevant to each concept.

We hope you are interested in engaging in further research about any topics that resonate with you and your company. The focus is improvement, not exponential growth. Improvement is always possible. Yes, it may be small, but even extremely small improvements can be worthwhile.

Look at the example of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, who continued to practice, focusing on shaving milliseconds off his time. Phelps never stopped improving. Similarly, consider the career of Dirk Nowitzski, the first European player to win an MVP award after moving to the National Basketball Association, where he played for an astonishing 21 years.

Nowitzki refined his skills by breaking them down into their component parts and focusing intently on the elements that needed improvement—not just practicing jump shots, but watching videos and breaking down the movements and striving to improve, say, the precision of his positioning.

I wanted to get the max out of my talent, out of my potential. After the season, I took a week or two weeks off and then I was back in the gym. Every summer, I played on the national team to play at a high level and practice the stuff I worked on all summer. I then came back in the winter a better player. I always saw myself as a guy who was evolving. Organizations can also learn a great deal from the examples set by these world-class athletes, who are never satisfied, even at the top of their games and seemingly at the peak of their performance.

Like Phelps and Nowitzki, two examples of organizations that excel at continuous improvement are Toyota, a Japanese automotive manufacturer, and Danaher, a conglomerate with brands in diagnostics, life sciences, and environmental and applied solutions.

Harvard Business School: \

Cost cutting is inevitable in dire times, but the current crisis is an opportunity for an intense questioning of processes—including in areas where your company already excels. We have seen that companies can save percent on costs by improving processes. In fact, we heard from two companies who are considered gold standards in operational efficiency in their industries, and in examining and honing their processes, they were still able to improve their efficiency by 10 percent and 15 percent respectively.

Whether it be eliminating duplicate procedures or useless and cumbersome paperwork, there are always ways to streamline operations. There is no limit to continuous improvement and innovation.Every seasoned investor knows that detailed financial projections for a new company are an act of imagination.

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Nevertheless, most business plans pour far too much ink on the numbers—and far too little on the information that really matters. William Sahlman suggests that a great business plan is one that focuses on a series of questions. These questions relate to the four factors critical to the success of every new venture: the people, the opportunity, the context, and the possibilities for both risk and reward. The questions about people revolve around three issues: What do they know?

Whom do they know? Then, in addition to demonstrating an understanding of the context in which their venture will operate, entrepreneurs should make clear how they will respond when that context inevitably changes.

Finally, the plan should look unflinchingly at the risks the new venture faces, giving would-be backers a realistic idea of what magnitude of reward they can expect and when they can expect it. A great business plan is not easy to compose, Sahlman acknowledges, largely because most entrepreneurs are wild-eyed optimists. But one that asks the right questions is a powerful tool. A better deal, not to mention a better shot at success, awaits entrepreneurs who use it.

Few areas of business attract as much attention as new ventures, and few aspects of new-venture creation attract as much attention as the business plan. Countless books and articles in the popular press dissect the topic. A growing number of annual business-plan contests are springing up across the United States and, increasingly, in other countries. Both graduate and undergraduate schools devote entire courses to the subject. Indeed, judging by all the hoopla surrounding business plans, you would think that the only things standing between a would-be entrepreneur and spectacular success are glossy five-color charts, a bundle of meticulous-looking spreadsheets, and a decade of month-by-month financial projections.

You have 2 free article s left this month. You are reading your last free article for this month. Subscribe for unlimited access. Create an account to read 2 more. Strategic planning.

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How to Write a Great Business Plan. Read more on Strategic planning or related topics EntrepreneurshipEntrepreneurial financeVenture capital and Entrepreneurial management. William A. Sahlman is the Dimitri V. This is a subscriber-only article.BOSTON— A device that will revolutionize spinal fusion operations, an online Web site for selling products to babies in Brazil, and new software that turns a mobile phone into an accurate but inexpensive tool for diagnosing heart and lung disease were the big winners in the final round of the Harvard Business School Business Plan Contest.

The event, held before a large and appreciative audience in Burden Auditorium on Tuesday afternoon April 26marked the 15th anniversary of the for-profit business venture track and the 11th year of the social venture trackwhich focuses on creating social value via nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid-model plans. Sixty-three teams in the business venture track and twenty-five in the social venture track submitted plans to the contest.

Over time, more than judges from fields such as venture capital, angel investing, consulting, law, accounting, life sciences, high technology, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and academia reduced the field to the total of nine finalists. HBS created the first real department of entrepreneurship decades ago under the leadership of Professor Howard Stevenson, and only eighteen years after its creation, our Social Enterprise Initiative has become one of the greatest groups of its kind in the country.

This year there were co-winners in the business venture track. Professor Jan Rivkin served as their faculty advisor.

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Using technology developed at The Johns Hopkins University, the new venture is developing a minimally invasive device to significantly improve the effectiveness of spinal fusion procedures. Following further testing and approval by the Food and Drug Administration FDAthe company expects to be open for business in early Senior Lecturer Robert Higgins served as their faculty advisor. The new venture, which will undergo clinical trials in India, aims to provide remote cardiac and pulmonary diagnostic services over any mobile phone, with a goal of reaching ten million patients in five years.

Their faculty advisor was Professor Tarun Khanna. Senior Lecture Michael Roberts, executive director of the School's Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, announced three runners-up in the business venture track. They were in alphabetical order : MyTeksifounded by second-year students Anthony Tan, Hooi Ling Tan, and Adeline Chan, plans to revamp the Malaysian taxi system by introducing low-cost, mobile-based technology to both the supply dispatch companies and demand passenger sides of the distribution chain to improve efficiency, safety, and quality of service.

Senior Lecturer Frank Cespedes was the faculty advisor. Qweek provides a fully automatic cloud-based solution to workforce optimization and management, helping businesses achieve significant savings by replacing traditional rigid shift scheduling with dynamic shifts that adjust to align numbers of workers available with the demand for their services. Ubiquitious Energy distributes electricity to "off-grid" communities around the world by means of low-cost solar panels a new product called "sol sheets" that are easy to use and that can be interconnected over time.

Assistant Professor Ramana Nanda served as their faculty advisor. Senior Lecturer Michael Chu announced the runner-up in the social enterprise track: The Watt Campaign is a for-profit social enterprise that mobilizes high school students to launch effective energy efficiency initiatives in their schools and communities.

After being named runners-up in the contest, these alumni went on to achieve considerable commercial success with their plan for SupplierMarket.

The winning team and the runner—up team in the social venture track were awarded the Peter M. These prizes were established by Mr. Sacerdote MBA in honor of his 40th reunion and the Campaign for the Harvard Business School to enable more HBS graduates to apply their skills to develop and launch social—purpose ventures.


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