WOW!! I cannot believe that I am six weeks into the Business Launch Boot Camp, and six weeks away from launching my business at graduation. I guess time flies when you are working hard… The first retrospective on marketing and operations felt like yesterday, and it seems like the next one for management and financials is approaching fast. I received 2nd place on my first retrospective, and earned close to the full value of $300 in loan dollars.
Now, we are focusing on the management and financials of our business. RMMFI speaks of “changing hats” quite often, when speaking of the many “hats” that an entrepreneur must wear from thier marketing, operating, managing, and financial closet. For the past two weeks, due to unpredicted challenges, I have been changing hats like a free agent in the draft!! As I shift gears from marketing and operations to the management cycle and financials needed to launch in the next few weeks… I am just happy that my head is still on my shoulders! Every morning, I wake up thinking of KPI’s, or shall I say Key Success Indicators (KSI’s), because we are aiming to succeed, not just perform. These KSI’s range from generation and conversion of leads to the debt-to-equity ratio and many more ways of monitoring success of the business. Each waking moment as I think of these KSI’s… I must focus on the necessary adminstrative goals for launching in a few weeks such as bookkeeping, tax laws, writing of contracts, and obtaining quotes for business insurance.
So, to all you future Boot Campers of RMMFI:
Make sure you start remodeling your closets to hold all these “hats”!!
Also, don’t forget to attend RMMFI’s 3rd Annual Sunday Fun Day on Sunday, June 24th from 11 AM to 2 PM at The Matchbox located at 2625 Larimer Street in the RiNo Arts District to meet this great team of individuals that can help you grow your business.
RMMFI has a great team of technical assistants (TA’s) that are specialists in the fields of marketing, operations, management, and legal advice focusing on intellectual property (IP) laws. Over the past two weeks, I have spoke with all four of the marketing TA’s to ensure that I can deliver a great presentation at my retrospective on Thursday, May 31st. Before, I begin speaking about the TA’s, I must mention the help and guidance that my coach and mentors have provided over the past two to three weeks. My coach, Brendan Landry, program director of RMMFI, and my mentors, Becky Tate and Andy Dunn, has provided me with so much help in the past few weeks. Brendan, or shall I say Coach B, helps me by ensuring that I stay focused and achieve the goals that are presented to me, every week. Becky Tate, a marketing consultant for Red8Ball, is my business mentor. She helps me on a weekly basis to set goals to maintain steady progress with my business through the Business Launch Boot Camp. She has established events throughout Denver such as the Terminal Kings Urban Art Project that featured street art of Sam Flores, David Choe, and Highraff which is to be displayed in DIA airport. Andy Dunn is my financial mentor who helps bring focus to all the numbers and make my business a profitable venture. Without the help of my great coach and mentors, I would be confused and overloaded by the surplus of valuable information that these technical assistants have provided to me and my business venture.
First, I spoke with Lindsay Hunt of Lindsay Hunt Media, owner of a marketing firm that specializes in gaining web presence through social media and search engine optimization. We spoke of how to balance products and services to different styles and sizes of clients, and how to define the ideal client when providing digital marketing services. Due to the similar nature of our businesses, I was able not only able to gain information about marketing strategies, as well as operation methods that can improve the efficiency of my business. Next, I had a phone conversation with Wendy King, owner of BFoward Group. She provided me with some assistance on defining my target market and how to develop marketing strategies to reach this target market. She helped me define my unique selling proposition (USP) and clearly understand whom my customer is and what my product provides to the customer. Then, I spoke with Beth Parish, a professor at Regis University, who is a “marketing muse”. Her expertise is within branding, positioning, promotion, and advertising; and held a position with Procter & Gamble in the department of brand management. She had a wealth of knowledge about branding one’s business to stand above the competition, from creating a “six-word novel” to define my business to building a visual board so that I may be able to clearly communicate my vision of my business to designers and future employees. Last, I met with Doug Bertram, a marketer who focuses on web-based strategies for businesses such as social media and search engine optimization. He was able to clearly define how I could start implementing these ideas of my business and apply it to the “real world” of the digital realm. We discussed the hard facts of this business from who will be the best server for web hosting to what software will be best to construct my database. He was shifted my thinking from the what’s to the how’s of the business.
Within the past two and a half weeks, I have gained a wealth of priceless knowledge about different marketing strategies and techniques. I feel with the plentiful resources that RMMFI’s Business Launch Boot Camp provides from technical assistant and mentors to workshops and seminars that I should be able to start taking the steps to elevate my brand above my competition when I launch my business venture in August.
Last Monday, when I arrived at the first mandatory meeting of the Business Launch Boot Camp offered by Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI), I didn’t know what to expect out of the program. The calendar that highlighted the feature topics of the Core Learning Sessions were encrypted with acronyms like 5 P’s, RMRA, and MAP made me wonder even more about the entrepreneurial skills that I would develop in the next twelve weeks. My anxiety to start this journey was quickly subsided by the familiar faces of the executive staff: Benjamin Weeda, Brendan Landry, and Stacy Saggese. I even had an opportunity to meet the executive director of RMMFI, Rob Smith. He gave a warm welcome to all of us participating in the fourth Business Launch Boot Camp (BLBC). I was happy to see that all 10 candidates accepted the challenge to enter the 12-week long program titled the Business Launch Boot Camp. It was quite amazing to understand that the future business owners involved in this program were selected out of a group of 36 candidates. This means that the future entrepreneurs participating in this program had a business proposal that was above the 73rd percentile of submitted applications. So, it was a blessing and an honor to discover that my business proposal was one of those above the 73rd percentile.
My business venture is to create a company that specializes in event promotions for music venues, artists, and entertainers by utilizing a mix of digital and guerrilla marketing strategies. I plan to create a website that features an eclectic variety of musical artists within the genres of hip hop, reggae, electronic, and latin music. This website will feature a database of artists and entertainers for venues and concert-goers to find local talent and upcoming concerts within the Denver metro area. Through the use of search engine optimization and analytic tools, I will be able to provide the perfect audience to the appropriate venue for musical performances.
With the help of RMMFI, I was able to gain a better understanding of my business concept within the first week and create a paragraph like you see above about my business venture…after one week of three 2-hour courses!! Last Monday, my pitch was “I am creating a digital marketing agency that focuses on event promotions in the entertainment industry.”
In one week, RMMFI helped me transform an ambiguous business description into a pitch that can begin generating leads to future sales. I have helped various small businesses, even a company in which I held a position within the executive management, create marketing strategies to try to reach their target demographics. I have never heard anyone in these organizations, even myself, present such a clear definition of their intended target audience of potential guests and customers as RMMFI has been able to provide to a future entrepreneur like myself. ”What entrepreneurial skills do they provide at Rocky Mountain MicroFinance?”, might be a question that one may ask after the previous statement. Honestly, they teach skills that anyone can find in any book about starting a business, but it is their process that makes these skills illuminate to the entrepreneur that is lost in an evening of fears, doubts, and worries. By engaging in a process that allows for immediate, yet positive criticism from your fellow business peers—this process will create results!! Or a loss of sanity…LOL!!
After my first week of RMMFI’s Business Launch Boot Camp, I can already notice a change in my thoughts, my words (both written and spoken), and my actions. I would recommend to anyone who wishes to launch a business or improve their current business to visit Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute’s website and schedule an appointment to speak with a representative. I just suggest to anyone who wishes go further than the Exploring Business Ownership sessions, and hopes to join the Business Launch Boot Camp in the future; to be sure to have a feasible business idea, a flexible schedule within your work and personal life, and a 12-week supply of the coffee of your choice.