Team 3's Final Venture Project Edit
Who are we? Edit
Team 3 is comprised of Erik Nelson, Evan Beach, and Matt Crowe. We are all senior management majors at JMU with a concentration in Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. We came to together as a team in Professor Wales MGT 372 class in the beginning of the year for a random venture challenge. Developing cohesion and synergy on this project led us to deciding to become a team for our final venture challenge. All of us have an entrepreneurial spirit that we tapped into to become a successful team. With a diverse set of skills and resources, we embarked on our first true entrepreneurial experience.
Innovation Questioning Edit
We began our venture by trying to identify popular customer segments that are high in volume, and something that they all had in common which is attending JMU. We discovered that fraternities, sororities, clubs, and other organizations were a group that had the most potential to market to. We tried to find out what these organizations had in common, what we found was; they have houses that host parties. Our 3.5 years of primary research in the party scene at JMU and being in these organizations, gave us a solid background of this market. And an additional advantage with our target market and their residences is that they have a lot of people per house, so the price of the product would be split among the residents, making it a cheaper investment per person. This led us to developing a Big Idea Hypothesis.
Big Idea Hypothesis Edit
One of the key things for entrepreneurs to do is to nail down a monetizable pain. What we have witnessed at parties at JMU is that girls often looking for an elevated surfaces to dance on. This led us to questioning girls as to why they seek these surfaces to dance on. We received a multitude of various responses such as; to avoid guys, for the attention, because the dance floor is dirty/crowded, and simply because it's fun. What we also noticed as that many parties lack the elevated surfaces to dance on. This led us to developing the hypothesis of what if we created dancing stages for Greek Life and other organizations to have at their parties?
Key Innovations Edit
We developed many key innovations throughout this venture. One was that every stage we created was customizable, we would allow our customers to pick their own specs to fit the environment that they wanted to put the stage in. We purposely left the stages bare so that customers could customize it themselves whether it was putting letters on them, tapestries, or simply kept as a stage. Another key innovation that helped us establish customer relationships was allowing our customers to preview the stages before purchasing them. We believed by giving them the free trial that it would show them what they were missing out on until they actually tried it. It ended up being a huge success for both parties and pre-games. We also eased the customer experience by allowing them to prepay or pay on delivery.
Early Adopters Edit
One of our earliest adopters came when we first presented the idea of the stage in our weekly presentation. Bob in our class, a member of the Lambda Chi fraternity immediately asked us if he could purchase two stages. He fit exactly in the customer profile we were targeting, which was being part of an organization that consistently has parties. Eric's club soccer team also purchased two stages around the same time. This gave us confidence that the target market that we were trying to reach actually wanted our product.
This project led to us spending a lot of time at the local Home Depot. We were able to develop key partnerships that were integral to our success. Our friend Randall at Home Depot would cut all the wood to the specs that we provided for him. Ethan and Chris were handymen at Home Depot and they helped us build out first couple models until we got the hang of it. We also built all of our other stages at Home Depot because of the convenience of building it on the spot and their power tools were way better than ours.
Minimum Viable Product Edit
Final Business Model Edit
Lessons Learned Edit
We took away a lot of important lessons through the entirety of this project. My first piece of advice would be to start early and meet often. The deadline seems far away at first but the semester goes quickly so its important to get a strong foothold in the beginning to ensure success. Be passionate about your idea would be my second piece of advice. We tinkered around with a lot of different ideas in the beginning that none of us felt strong about. If you aren't passionate about what your making then you won't be successful. As soon as we landed on the idea of stages we shot off with it. My third piece of advice would be not to be afraid of failure. It took us quite a bit of figuring out on how to build the first prototype and our first attempt looked terrible. We went back to Home Depot and the employees were kind enough to show us how it was properly done.