Did a stroke of genius hit you last night, and now you need help bringing an idea to life? Or maybe you need strategic advice to redirect, refresh, or rebrand your existing business or nonprofit?
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Fortunately, you skipped the clickbait and found just the right Craigslist ad to do the trick-- perhaps, I can be of service. I am a Cornell MBA graduate turned full-time entrepreneur with 10+ years of business experience to offer fellow business owners and ideators. While incubating my startup, I encountered many of the same challenges the average entrepreneur faces as ideas are stuck between your brain and reality. Moreover, as a freelance consultant prior to business school, I managed projects and SME businesses in the DC metropolis and abroad where financial and capacity constraints pushed us to be innovative. After having the same questions about marketing, finance, fundraising, customers, strategy, and growth keep me up at night, I have packaged my experiences to help YOU reach your business goals faster (and with less stress).
If I can be of service in any of the verticals listed below, shoot me an email with a brief description of your company/idea, and the challenges you're having, and the service you need. If we're a good fit and I have the capacity, we will proceed to a complimentary consultation to get to know each better and discuss your needs and budget in detail.
1) Idea Stage or New Product or Service
- Design Sprint planning and facilitation | Entrepreneurs and small to large businesses alike often struggle with decision paralysis, albeit for different reasons. A design sprint breaks the decision-making, problem-solving, and creative plateau as we condense the problem-to-solution process from several months to a week. The sprint will require at least 3 people involved with your idea or company in any capacity (e.g., managers, contractors, or startup founding team members).
- Business Model Canvas development (Read: This is what you need if looking for a business plan in 2020!) | This service illuminates the difference between a static business plan and a dynamic framework that can iterate, change, and grow as your idea matures into a viable business. Over 3-4 consultations, we will co-create, brainstorm, and analyze hypothesized components of your idea or company using the Business Model Canvas as a guide. We will discuss and define the value propositions, customer segments, distribution channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners, and cost structure that will bring your new product or service to market.
2) Customer Development
- Customer Discovery | Can you answer the question, 'who are your customers (specifically) and do they really care about your product or service?' This is an iterative process where we will define your business hypotheses and strategize how to confirm or disprove them. For new business owners and startups, this is a key part of ascertaining the viability of an idea before throwing away thousands on software developers or physical assets. After an initial brainstorming session, we will discuss and define the problem your solution intends to solve, the solution itself (product or service), and your target demographic and how/where to reach them. Further, you will receive a custom customer interview guide, and two customer insight sessions to reorient your business hypotheses around the new information ascertained from customer interviews.
- Customer or User Persona Development | Your target demographic is comprised of segmented people groups that have varying goals, motivations, pain points, and influences as it relates to your product or service. For this reason, your marketing strategy should also vary when targeting the busy young professional versus a homebound, elderly adult--even though they have the same need for a grocery delivery service. This exercise makes it easier to understand the humanity of the demographic for which your product or service is designed. A typical Customer Persona profile is similar to a combined Facebook and Linked profile by which your team can easily identify the typical background, typical work, and other typical psycho-social information for a segmented group of your target demographic.
- Customer Journey Map | Do customers visit your website or web store, but fail to engage or complete checkout? This map will detail how a current or future customer finds your product or service online or in-person. It will also analyze the friction and fall out points along this customer journey and provide recommendations. For this map, we will use the dominant segment of your target demographic.
- Focus Group Design & Guide | You may be ready to get live feedback on a draft prototype that was shaped and informed by the data you gathered during Customer Discovery. This service is an add-on to Customer Discovery, unless otherwise discussed.
- Survey Design | Perhaps you need more quantitative data now that your hunch (or hypotheses) about your idea was confirmed or disproved via Customer Discovery. This service is an add-on to Customer Discovery, unless otherwise discussed.
3) Market Research & Marketing
- Competitive Analysis & Benchmarking | Get the scoop on the direct and indirect competitors in your market. Comprehensively, this service includes competitor reporting, how your company measures up, and additional matrix slides for your future pitch deck.
- Marketing strategy | With a plethora of traditional and new marketing mediums to choose from, this strategy provides comprehensive recommendations given your industry, customer, and current and desired marketing budget and capacity.
- Annual Reports | This report will synthesize a period's worth of information and transform the data into a marketing tool--yes these reports are tools!--that your board, investors, clients or customers can understand. Periods are defined by client but can range from quarterly to annual. Further, this service can include written copy if your current content is not oriented for marketing materials.
- Digital marketing strategy | This strategy will analyze and provide recommendations for best digital levers, enablers, platforms, and channels that span earned, owned, and paid marketing opportunities for your specific product or service. Implementation and monitoring are available as an add-on service.
- Presentation Development (content & design) | Reports and presentations are marketing also tools in that they signal quality, effort, and ability. Don't misrepresent your brand or company with indigestible content and second-rate styled materials.
4) Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners
- Personal Branding Strategy | Are *you* your business? After defining your personal branding goals and objectives, we will discuss recommendations and co-create a plan to increase your profile and influence in your chosen industry. This will strategy session will also include a preliminary finding report of your current online footprint and in-person engagement.
- Internship Design & Recruitment Advisory | Do you need extra hands on deck to bring your idea, business, or startup to life? Given your resources, we will design an intentional, purposeful, and fulfilling internship that will get the best out of your interns. Together, we will assess your intern needs and your capacity to manage them; identify where to find the talent you need; select the best medium (remote or in-person); outline intern support structure and resources; and design intern descriptions, evaluations, and incentives (monetary or course credit).
- See Creative Services below
5) Business Growth & Development
- Pitch Deck Development (Light) | Are you creating a pitch deck for a competition or to woo an investor? We'll provide keen advice and review as you develop the following important slides for a pitch: the problem statement, how the problem is currently solved, solution description, why now, market description, competition, business model, team, and financials.
- Pitch Deck Development (Comprehensive) | We will create your pitch deck from scratch. The deck will include the following slides: the problem statement, how the problem is currently solved, solution description, why now, market description, competition, business model, team, and financials. Financial projections must be provided by the client unless otherwise discussed.
- Due Diligence Analysis | Are you preparing your company for future investment from an angel investor, a vc firm, or more traditional sources of funding? See how your company measures up through a formal due diligence process undertaken by investors. This service includes an analysis of the following: your company (business model and customers, products and services, risks and mitigations), management team (key leadership qualities assessment, advisory board value, organizational structure), an industry overview (competitive assessment, growth opportunities), financials (use of funding, financial projections, and financial narrative of revenue and other industry-specific drivers). Though we will craft the financial and use of funding narratives, underlying financial projections must be provided by the client unless otherwise discussed.
6) Creative & Branding Suite
- Brand Creation | This service lays the foundation for your company's future branding and marketing efforts. You will complete a creative branding worksheet that will inform the creation of your brand logo and brand identity--both assets needed to articulate your brand visually. Further, we will craft the brand story and brand values
- Brand Development | Now that your brand has an identity and graphical assets, we will further expand the brand narrative by crafting the brand story, values, and messaging. These components can be used on your company website and across marketing platforms. Website creation is not included unless otherwise discussed.
- Brand Communication | This service is an abridged marketing package of the Marketing Strategy service, with a focus on content creation for social and traditional media. Whereas the Marketing Strategy is a high-level approach of all possible channels, Brand Communication may focus on content for up to two of your chosen mediums (e.g. facebook, email marketing, instagram).
- Style Guide | Don't start from scratch with a new content creator. This service is a comprehensive design and content package that can be given to all future creative, graphical, or marketing contractors who will develop new digital assets for your company. This typically comes in handy when a contractor asks the following questions: Do you have a .png file of your logo? (PNGs are the most common file type for a logo with a transparent background, which is need for most marketing and promo material). Do you know the pantone, hex, or HTML codes for the color scheme in your logo? (This is needed to ensure the blue in your logo matches the blue in, for example, the promo t-shirts or caps you want to order).
7) Product Design
- Prototype development | It can take several months to a year to develop a fully functional web or mobile app. But like most entrepreneurs, you will need still need to pitch your company during app development. Using your product inputs, we can create a low to mid-fidelity prototype that is fully click-able for demonstration purposes. Typical these prototypes are seen in live-demos, pitch competitions, or to show illustrate your solution's intent to potential advisors or investors.
8) Financing & Investment
- Investor/Funding Research & Recommendations | Don't waste your time pitching your company to anyone that will listen. This service ensures that your efforts are targeted and purposeful by canvassing startup, venture capital, municipal, angel and other databases for select investors and funding sources with an interest and investment record in your industry. Additionally, recommendations will include traditional and guerilla contact strategies for each investor.
- Custom plans | Let's develop a custom plan of the deliverables above to suit your business needs.
- Business coaching | Schedule weekly, or as needed, consultations to help you think through the friction points of your business. If you are a solo-preneur, still forming a team around your idea, or you just haven't taken the leap to focus on your company full time yet, these sessions will help you make progress and avoid entrepreneurial burnout. We can decide what information you will need (and therefore what consultative services you may want) step-by-step.
- International market research & go-to-market strategy | Some ideas start at home, while some are abroad. If your idea requires an analysis of market readiness and strategy abroad, let's chat to see if I can help you. Outside of North America, my business experience spans a handful of African and European markets that may require leveraging in-country networks and relationships, and more informal analysis methods.
- Implementation & monitoring | All recommendations can be implemented and monitored if capacity is available.
Keywords: business consultant, startup consultant, entrepreneurship, small business, business development