In 2013, the Wisconsin School of Business and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) funded a program aimed at helping nascent entrepreneurs navigate through the many business issues that arise when starting and growing a new business. The effort created the Business and Entrepreneurship Clinic (B&E) and works in collaboration with the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic (L&E), the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery, and WARF, in providing free business advice and services for Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs. The clinic undertake various projects throughout the school year to help early stage entrepreneurs.
The Clinic provides varying levels of service and types of service dependent on client needs and capacity. Over the fall semester, the B&E Clinics was involved in many types of business models at a number of different stages ranging from ideation to growth and maturity. Under the Clinic’s direction, they have helped identify market opportunities, advise on sales strategies, present best practices on building a digital marketing plan, discuss opportunities for founders and businesses to pivot, review and prepare financial statements, as well as select a new name for a product and company. We would like to highlight a project the B&E Clinic is working on.
A recent University of Wisconsin MBA graduate connected with the B&E Clinic through the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship was seeking advice on developing an investor pitch. Before becoming a client of the B&E Clinic, this business had researched customers at depth, identified early adopters, developed working prototypes, and had begun a beta test. The client was moving forward and received positive feedback on the product while applying Lean Startup principles but struggled to nail down the pitch. Showing admirable self-awareness, our client was clear that their strengths were in customer research and project management but struggled to sell.
After reviewing the product, their original pitch, and discussing the feedback the client had been receiving, we began a series of mock pitches with each round showing significant improvement based on our feedback and suggestions. Made were improvements to the financial statements and best practices in sales and we were able to help the client empathize what an investor is seeking, with a more lucrative, larger and possibly targeted market on which they should focus.
Following our work, the client began to penetrate the market with strong early success. Our newly identified market opportunity increased and improved their feedback loop. While this client is continuing to iterate on their product and pitch, the B&E Clinic looks forward to the continued engagement and providing further assistance to the business as it grows.