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MSLCE Students Learn the Foundations of Entrepreneurship

By Lauren Vernea

During a recent Entrepreneurship seminar, MSLCE students participated in an all day workshop with Northwestern Professor David Schonthal.

Schonthal teaches in Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, focusing on new venture creation, design thinking, innovation and creativity. The workshop for the MSLCE cohort was a detailed crash course in the foundations of entrepreneurship.

“The goal of any startup is to make mistakes as quickly and as cheaply as you can” Schonthal remarked. “Fail faster to succeed sooner.” These words came to life as Schonthal walked us through effective business models focusing on finding your market fit, customer segment and discovering the value of your product or service.

Schonthal gave several examples of how to build a successful business model based on substantive exploratory research. Understanding a customer’s pains or emotional needs gives an opportunity for the entrepreneur to develop the gains or the benefits the customer expects.

One of the most effective business analogies from the workshop was seeing the business as a “pain killer” or “vitamin.” Ultimately, businesses that succeed are pain killers because they are killing a physical or emotional need for the consumer. On the contrary, a business as a vitamin is nice to have, but not essential to the customers desires.

This workshop was an eye-opener into the world of successful business models. As I look to expand my own film production company, the tools and insights I gained on how to reach a customer’s emotional need will stick with me. I learned the value in going deeper in my exploratory research. By identifying a target market and making an essential product, we can create businesses that are both innovate and lasting.

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