Entrepreneurial Training – From the experts

Ever wanted to become an entrepreneur? Groupmates is officially part of Entrepreneurial Spark. Last week we had to attend their amazing bootcamp in Glasgow, in prior to our Hatchery’s introduction.

During the bootcamp I had the chance to meet amazing entrepreneurs from all over Scotland. This gave me the chance to realize that being an entrepreneur sets you apart from the rest of the world. It’s a state of mind that you get the chance to experience only if you are ready to take risks, no matter the consequences.

Don’t be an entrepreneur because your dad is. Be one because you are!”

Now that you have an idea about what an entrepreneur is, lets talk about what the “chiclets” of ESpark were told during their bootcamp.

Bootcamp’s key moments (for me)

Stop Assuming

Creating a business on assumptions alone can be disastrous. Obviously someone has to start thinking of solutions for problems he usually faces. Remember though:

You Are NOT Your Customer

To figure out whether other people are facing the same problem, and most importantly are seeking for solutions to this problem, you have to stop. Clear your mind. Go out and ask them. Remember to ask WHY many times.


Customer Insight Tool-kit

It is suggested that an entrepreneur applies 5 roles during his quest for the truth

The roles

  • Data Detective
  • The Journalist
  • The Observer
  • The Impersonator
  • The Social Butterfly
Data Detective

Can you make some research for me please?! This is the role that most of us should already be familiar with. Remember that Google is just one source of data.

Other tools given to us from our enablers:

  1. Office of National Statistics
  2. Google Tools
  3. Business Gateway
  4. Research Reports – (e.g. Mintel) – feel free to suggest more tools
  5. Trade Publications – (e.g. Business source complete) – feel free to suggest more tools
  6. SDI/UKTI (Scottish Development International)
The Journalist

Think of a journalist’s job. Now apply it.

Simply, speak to your customers, trade associations, and industry experts.

Key questions: What? Why? When? How? – did I forget something? Jump in.

The Observer

Two things to remember here:

  1. Observe your customers in the real world – When you are out there, talking to them, don’t just “hear” to what they say. “LISTEN” but listen with your ears, eyes, perception.
  2. Shadow your customers – It’s kinda like stalking them. You can learn more things from people’s “real” behaviours, when they think no-one is watching. Make sure you don’t end up in prison though.
The Impersonator

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Live their live for a day. See how you like it.

Social Butterfly

Talk to people. From a casual conversation you can get lots of information.

Know your customer

Now that people answered your “whys”, it’s time to put their responses down and get to know:

  • Customers wants
  • Pain-Points
  • Needs

Customers Wants

What they really want?

When you are out asking people why this and why that, you should make sure that you read people’s body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. Figure out what they really want, their real “wants” might be behind the words.


The customers pain-points are the things that really bother him. It’s drives the customer crazy! Guess what? When you relief a person from something that drives him crazy, he’ll buy your mother f****ng solution!

Problem Statement

Person + Need + Insights

The Product

You are very likely to develop a product after the completion of your research and validation.

Remember to be aware of the ugly baby!

Also don’t ask your parents if they like it, of-course the answer will be yes! (Except if the parent is my dad, ask him, he’ll be so honest with you. You’ll hate him!).

Of-course mistakes are part of the game. For this reason (I guess), our trainers made sure to emphasize what Eric Ries refers to in his book – ‘The Lean Start-up – “Validated learning“.

For example, here is what Groupmates business plan includes as part of the organisational structure of the company


Being part of our structure, it forces us to never forget about validation.

Design Thinking


One image says 1000 words. In the case of the Design Thinking Process shown above, is more than 1000 words.


When you want to develop something new, no matter how small, return to design thinking.

Also the customers are changing. That means that the design thinking process should be in our business’ portfolio on a yearly basis. I suggest twice a year.

What next

I think value proposition creation is next. You can use the business model canvas, it may help you figure out your value proposition.

Be the “EST”

Make sure to be the “est” at everything you choose to do.

  • Best
  • Friendliest
  • Cheapest
  • Happiest


I personally find the creation of the value proposition to be difficult. Besides saying to people that you are the “est” or the only one, you need to prove it as well. You also need to express it nicely in your messages.

For Example

Although we have users on Groupmates’ beta version, we still can’t express our value proposition properly. I actually think we don’t really have one yet. We lack numbers.

The plan we came up with is to organise focus groups. We need 50 students to do that. We also need to do them (focus groups) right. We’ve never done it before so anyone with experience on the area; PLEASE HELP! 🙂 Also people who know students.

Different brands, unique propositions

Examples of value propositions:

  • Gets the job done (e.g. LG TV, cheap but gets the job done)
  • Brand status (e.g. Rolex)
  • Risk Reduction (e.g. Insurance Companies)
  • Performance (e.g. Rolls Roy)
  • Customisation (e.g. Android vs IOS)
  • Accessibility (e.g. asos)
  • Convenience (e.g. McDonalds, you’ll find them around you when you’re hungry)
  • Price (e.g. OnePlusOne) – These guys love Tuesdays!
  • Cost Reduction (e.g. Aldi)

Can you see your company there?

Revenue model

I will close this post with the revenue model (otherwise I’ll never stop typing!).

How do you make money? I give shaving machines for free and I sell blades for a fortune! – Sounds familiar? This is Gillette’s “Bait and Hook” revenue model.

Your revenue model is how you profitably match your product or service with your desired customers.

Other Models

  • Unbundled  – A company with small “sub-companies” (that’s the best way I can put it. Investopedia explains it better here
  • Long Tail – Having huge ranges of products but selling only few. For example GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is owner of a huge amount of patents but makes use only of few. The rest they rent to other businesses.
  • Multi-Sided Platforms – Brings together 2 or more groups of people. Ebay is the easiest example.  (buyers, sellers, retailers).
  • Free – Give a product or service away for free. For example Facebook is 100% free for the users, but they make money from advertisements. Read this for more details on the model.
  • Advertising – Think of magazines. They sell very cheap. They make the money from advertisers.
  • Freemium – Get an account for free, upgrade to premium for access to more features. For example LinkedIn.
  • Bait and Hook: The best way to explain it is with Gillette’s example.
  • Open – I think this is for open source companies. That means they give away their product for free but they make money when they offer training, presentations etc. – If I am wrong please correct me. I asked my best friend (Google) but he couldn’t give me a satisfactory answer.
  • Freemium Upside Down – You pay for premium but you almost never use the product. For example you have an insurance for your car; if you don’t have an accident, you won’t use it!

Thank you for reading guys. If you are working with us at Groupmates “GO BACK TO WORK!” 😀 If you are interested to work with us “VISIT OUR WEBSITE NOW – click here

Oh don’t forget to sign-up so we can invite you to our beta! Click here


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