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  Bootcamp Workshop Descriptions



Bootcamp Class 1: Product Definition

Objective:  Develop a clear understanding of the problem you are solving (or need you are filling) and a complete definition of your unique solution including features, advantages and benefits.


  • What problem or need does this product address

  • How does your product fill this need

  • Is it a “whole product” or a component of a larger solution

  • Who is going to buy your product and why

  • What features/benefits are most important to the customer

  • How will you “position” the product

  • Is the product a “one-off” or the first in a larger product/service line

Bootcamp Class 2: Market Definition

Objective:  Identify, size and characterize the target markets for your solution and define the reasons customers will buy.


  • Market Overview:  What is the nature of the total market? Diversified or consolidated? Local, regional, national, international?

  • Market Segmentation:  What are the most likely customer segments (definition:  same people, buying the same product in the same way and for the same reason)

  • Segment Analysis: 

    • How many customers?  Where are they located?  Is the segment growing or declining?

    • How do they buy? (direct, web, distributor)  How difficult is it to gain presence in the channel(s)?

    • What is the value of the product to them? (e.g., enjoyment, advantage, process or savings)

    • What are the compelling reasons to buy?

    • What are the customer’s alternatives?  (competitors, substitutes)

    • What is the intensity of demand -- in what quantity and how often do they buy?

    • How much will they pay? (pricing)  Do they have money to pay? 

    • Do these customers have any special requirements (e.g., lead times, customer service)? 

    • What is the competitive environment - who do they buy from today?

Bootcamp Class 3: Competition

Objective:  Characterize your competitors (all of them!) in each market segment and define why customers will buy from you and not them.


  • Who/what is the competition in each market segment and on what basis does each compete? (e.g., price, quality, relationships, features, location, payment terms, longest in business, etc.)

  • What are your competitive advantages over each? (e.g., cost structure, location, service level, method of selling, partnerships or alliances). 

  • How sustainable are these advantages?  Can you create barriers to entry? (e.g., IP protection)

  • What are your competitive disadvantages?  (e.g., access to capital, market presence)

  • How will competitors react to your entry into the market?

  • Sources of data: research reports, competitor market claims (websites), business directories, census data, media kit demographics (magazines targeting your markets).

Bootcamp Class 4: Business Model and Risk

Objective:  Define how this business will make money based on pricing, costs and gross margins.  Identify and assess risk factors that must be mitigated to ensure the success


  • What is your estimated product cost of goods (labor, material, overhead, other)?

  • How will you price your product?

    • Cost-based pricing

    • Value-based pricing

    • Market-based pricing

  • What are the business risks and how will you mitigate them?

    • Product risk (Technology, obsolescence, cost, feasibility, etc.)

    • Market risk (Reach, timing, price, economic factors)

    • Competitive risk (low barriers to entry, 800# gorilla, etc.)

    • Team risk (wrong people, under-performers, etc.)

    • Sales channel risk (Unable to get product distribution or placement)

    • Financial Risk (gross margins, net profits, returns sufficient to achieve goals)

    • Capital risk (can you raise enough capital to start and grow the business?)

    • Introduction to EZ Number Pro-Forma Software for financial statements, budgets, startup expenses

Bootcamp Class 5: Brand and Business Identity

Objective:  Create the business identity, product positioning, key messages, and other marketing materials that will drive demand.


  • Mission statement and/or tagline

  • Key messages

  • Elevator pitch (short and long versions)

  • Business Identity (logo) and Internet URL

  • Collateral materials (brochures , PowerPoint – company story)

  • Define one-time startup costs and create a 3-year expense budget for brand and business identity

Bootcamp Class 6: Channels

Objective:  Determine how to reach customers with your marketing messages and physical products


  • Marketing Channels

    • Website strategy (look and feel)

    • Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, other)

    • Publishing - blogs, articles, book(s)

    • Other (public relations, public speaking, event marketing)

  • Sales and Distribution Channels

    • Define sales channel for each market segment

  • Define one-time startup costs and create a 3-year expense budget for channels

Bootcamp Class 7: Marketing

Objective:  Develop a plan to generate sales leads for your new business including advertising, social media and other business development campaigns


  • Identify “low hanging fruit” sales opportunities to generate early cash and references

  • Create targeted lead development campaigns (directed at specific market segments)

  • Develop a business networking and community involvement strategy

  • Create advertising campaigns (print, social media, internet search, other)

  • Define one-time startup costs and create a 3-year expense budget for marketing

Bootcamp Class 8: Sales

Objective:  Define your sales cycle, selling methods and management processes for driving sales, processing orders, and supporting customers.
  • Sales Process – create a sales system

    • Identify distinct steps in the sales process and duration of each (sales cycle)

    • Create a system to track leads and manage sales process

    • Sales funnel management (customer relationship management)

    • Sales order management

    • Measure results (e.g., sales cycle, close rates)

  • Define one-time startup costs; create a 3-year unit sales forecast and expense budget for sales

Bootcamp Class 9: Business Operations

Objective:  Define organizational structure, licensing requirements, facility needs, and other physical aspects of your business.


  • Legal structure – form of business

    • Identify business needs and risks

    • Assess alternatives (sole proprietorship, LLC, S-corporation, other)

    • Business licenses and registrations (Federal, state, local)

  • Business infrastructure requirements

    • Facility (office, storage and/or production)

    • Mailing address, Phones and Internet

    • Insurance

    • Furniture, office and/or production equipment

  • Define one-time startup costs and create a 3-year expense budget for business operations

Bootcamp Class 10: Team and Business Systems

Objective:  Determine the organizational needs of the business (employees, vendors, professionals, etc.) and the systems you will need to operate the business.


  • Identify systems and procedures needed to operate the business

    • Banking (e.g., checking account, business credit card, merchant services)

    • Accounting and tax reporting

    • Purchasing and payroll service (if you have employees)

    • Other (specific to business)

  • Define team requirements – outsourced versus in-house

    • Marketing and sales

    • Operations (product or service delivery)

    • Customer service

    • Finance and administration

  • Define one-time startup costs and create a 3-year expense budget for business systems and team

Bootcamp Class 11: Financial Projections

Objective:  Prepare sales forecasts, operating budgets and estimates of start-up costs to support creation of a 3-year financial model including income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.


  • Overview of Profit and Loss Statements

    • Sales Forecast

      • Unit sales by product by month

      • Unit price

    • Cost of Goods or Services

      • Product acquisition costs (i.e., materials and manufacturing or purchase price)

      • Product or service delivery costs

    •  Operating expense

      • Marketing

      • Sales

      • Finance and Administration

      • Other

  • One-time startup expenses

    • Business organization (legal and license fees)

    • Design services (business identity, website, marketing materials)

    • Furniture and equipment

    • Other (i.e., deposits, inventory, receivables)


  • Overview of Balance Sheets

  • Overview of Cash Flow Statements

    • Total negative cash

    • Breakeven point

Bootcamp Class 12: Startup Funding

Objective:  Estimate the amount of capital required to start the business and fund it through cash flow breakeven.  Define sources of capital.


  • Summary of 3 year financial plans

    • Income, cash and balance sheet

    • How long will it take to reach break-even?

    • How much cash do you need to start?

    • Use of cash

  • Capital sources – to finance business startup

    • Cash flow from sales (bootstrap) – deposits, advance payments, outsource, trade, vendor terms, do without

    • Personal loans and credit cards (SBA?)

    • Other sources (family, friends)

  • Risk assessment and mitigation strategies such as:

    • Sales lower than projected

    • COGS and expenses higher than projected

    • Unexpected expenses

    • Slow payment or bad debt


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Tom Eckmann

Absolute Business Services Inc.

PO Box 19860 ● Seattle, Washington 98109

Phone: 206-441-2067 ● Fax: 206-350-5235


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