Breaking the Good from the Bad

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We had the chance to have a quick chat to Professor Saul Estrin a professor of business and management at LSE, he gave us the academic side to business planning and start-ups. Despite his academic background, Saul presented us with solid advice particularly for students wanting to start their own business. He wasted no time on small talk and went straight to the point, letting us know the Do’s and Don’ts according to a highly knowledgeable professor. Here’s what he laid on the table for us;

How can students that want to start their own businesses begin getting noticed?

I will say there is no limit to the networking you have to do. You have to be present in every fair, every talk and gathering it’s crucial to be in the know.

What for you is the most important aspect of the business plan or starting a business?

Well I’m not a venture capitalist so I don’t have to put my money where my mouth is, but I would say that the quality of the business model is important and whether the idea is a real opportunity. See my answer will differ at different stages, so this applies to students or people in the early stages of their business. However my answer would be different for already existing businesses.

When pitching an idea what do you think is crucial for the presenters to do/ or not do?

I can tell you academically I would be looking for different things. The obvious do’s and don’ts are one of them. So for example: if it’s sustainable from competition. It has to have something that prevents the idea from imitation, has to have something that cannot be taken. Another thing is that venture capitalist people give money to the person not the idea itself. They put faith in that person that presents the idea so it’s important to be a brand in yourself. During pitching investors will pick holes in your plan so the obvious mistakes to avoid are making sure the numbers add up, allot of students come up with plans and their numbers don’t add up. You must justify every number, check your facts if they don’t come together, and if they find out that facts are wrong you’re finished.
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