June 29th was the day of a new beginning for the iStart mentoring track that was setup between IBBT, Erik Talboom & myself (Jurgen De Smet). About the iStart Coaching Retreat We believe that, next to financial guidance, it is equally important to explore various systems, models, techniques, practices and experiences on how to go from a business case to a real valuable product or service in a more effective way. It is for that reason that we initiated the “iStart Coaching Retreat” concept, as a means to gather new insights and share experiences. Each last Friday of the month we’ll have a truly collaborative workshop focused on a topic that comes from you, the startup community. These workshops will be set up as a combination of operational mentoring and peer-2-peer exchange, in order to provide you with the best information and guidance as possible. Extras you can expect from these iStart Coaching Retreats: offline learning materials on project coaching/mentoring and networking @ IBBT’s open bar.

The kick-off session

As we are talking about operational mentoring we like to start our new sessions by reflecting on the business cases the startups are using by means of Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas representation combined with some mentoring techniques on how to use it properly to gain proper insights how to proceed quicker and with more focus and results to come.

The Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model. Most business cases are described in thick books covering a lot of facts and figures, which makes it less usable for your day to day operations. It also becomes a burden to change your model as you learn from the experiments or, for that matter, try to discover new possibilities you didn’t think of before. It is for that reason one could use this practical and powerful innovation technique that is designed for doers. Using the canvas, you will learn how to systematically understand, design and implement a new business model or analyze and renovate an old one the easy way! The business model canvas provides with you a way to visualize your customer segments, your value propositions for those segments, how you will deliver that value, which relationship you’ll need to build up or have with your customers and… how your revenue stream is linked to that. This relates to the key activities and resources that are needed to deliver this value, which partnerships are important and how your cost structure is linked to those needs. In other words: you’ll get a view on your complete business case that is easier to comprehend and thus change, (re-)invent, pivot and act upon.

Book reference: Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder Download the canvas here: http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/business_model_canvas_poster.pdf

Next topic – July 27th & IBBT Ghent Offices After the Business Model Canvas workshop with the attendees we shifted gears to a discovery round on what problems, issues are troubling these startup entrepreneurs the most and how we could support them with some or multiple of the models, systems out of our backpack. In that round it became clear that the following items where troubling them the most: – How do you still find time for family or friends? – What should I do first or up next? – How do I get more done with the time I have? – Could I reduce the stress I feel? – How can I balance better multiple jobs next to my startup activities? – Am I allowed to have free time? As those are very familiar to us through experience and other in-house, public or personal mentoring tracks it was clear that next months topic will bring techniques and principles that can help people find balance, structure work and gain more personal productivity.

Topic: Personal Time Management Principles & techniques to use: Theory of Constraints, Visualizing work, limiting work in progress, story lines, lean value stream mapping up to Personal Kanban (pkflow).

See you soon in our next retreat and become the entrepreneur you want to be not the one you have to be!