FAIP 2021 Week 1: Business Model Evaluation & Polishing

Fie_Labs Agri-Incubation Programme (FAIP) was designed with a practical approach to entrepreneurship and innovation in mind. Our goal is to ensure that we support start ups that are solving real world problems or those that seek to provide products that are meeting existing and growing market needs.

To this end, FAIP is structured in a sequential manner to allow the participating start ups to immerse themselves into the rudiments of entrepreneurship & innovation from the first week.  In the end, the founders will have polished their business models and identified their sweet spot in the markets they serve where they have a perfect product-market-fit.

In our first week, our objective was to help the founders take a critical look at their start ups, evaluate their business models and establish if they are pursuing sustainable paths to scale. We introduced the foundational concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation; where problem solving or meeting a need in the society is always the starting point.

We then delved deeper into understanding what problem each start up was solving or what need their business model seeks to meet. Probing further on the problems and needs, we sought to clearly define the people facing the problems or having the needs the start ups seek to solve or meet.

Having defined the target customers for each start up, we then explored how they were/are solving their problems previously/currently without the solutions that our founders are proposing or offering to them. The objective of this exercise was to clearly define what alternatives are out there for the target customers from both direct and indirect competitors.

Next we dived into the solutions that each start up is offering to its target customers; and defined the unique value proposition that they are offering in comparison to their direct and indirect competitors. We further probed how each start up goes about ensuring that their target customers are aware of their value proposition; and how how they make their solutions accessible to their target customers.

When still focused on the customers, we established the various strategies that each start up can explore to strengthen the relationship with their customers to increase their customer satisfaction and retention rates.

Later we mapped out the operational framework for each start up; and identified the key activities that they must do in order to effectively and efficiently deliver their value proposition to their target customers. We explored their operational frameworks from an inputs, processing and outputs perspective; and for each stage we also identified and quantified the resources needed to execute the activities therein.

In addition, we explored how the start ups can deliver their value proposition most efficiently by collaborating with other stakeholders in their value chains and building synergies from the partnerships. For this segment we mapped out the key stakeholders that the start ups need to work with as they grow and scale their operations.

As we came to a close of our first week, we looked into the funding required to deliver the value proposition to the target customers and then broke them down into customized cost structures for each start up for ease of tracking and recording.

Finally, we assessed how the start ups get paid for the value they deliver to their customers. The focus here was to identify and separate the end consumer of the value and the person or organization paying for the solution. We also broke down the sources of revenues into separate streams for each start up for further analysis of their profitability down the road when we shall be taking a deep dive into financial planning and management.

FAIP 2021 Week 1 was obviously a heavily loaded one; but it had to be for us to lay a strong foundation for us to build on in the subsequent 11 weeks of the programme. With a deep understanding of their business models, the founders are now ready to dissect all other aspects of their start ups in details as they prepare to scale.

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