Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ron Kornfeld and the All Important Business Plan

The Entrepreneurship in Technology class got a treat yesterday with the visit and guest lecture by Ron Kornfeld. I met Ron many years ago when he was a fellow board of directors member for the WSA (Now the Washington Technology Industry Association - WTIA). He remained active with new and emerging companies throughout the dot com era and when he was not directly involved with any, he was consulting with them, emphasizing the importance of business planning and helping with ideation (the process of creating new ideas).

I asked him to come speak to my class eight years ago as he was one of the authors who contributed to the text of "Cracking the New E-Conomy" with chapters on that all important business plan. In fact, it was the business planning template that he provided for free from the Normandy Partners web site that the class was using in building out their own plans. It is also the business plan template I will be presenting on at the Startup Weekend Tacoma.

Since then he founded PersonalGrid, a start up that provided a first-of-its-kind consumer web service for sharing, managing, storing, and publishing digital information. He was also co-founder and EVP of Product Strategy at SchoolSoft Corporation, a start up developing the first adaptive web service to teach children in precisely the way that they learn best. He conceived of the innovative initial product plan, product roadmap, and go-to-market strategy. The company has evolved into a tremendous resource for teachers and students based on the efforts of the team who succeeded me.

So after couple of companies and successful exits later, he is back to the consulting field, though now the company is called NimbleSource LLC. According to their about page NimbleSource is describes itself this way:

"Business success is about speed: to market, to revenue, to profitability. Maximizing speed means fault-tolerant planning and agile market management to remove the friction in your business model. At NimbleSource, our principals have decades of experience in business planning, product management, marketing strategy, and sales excellence. We help entrepreneurs turn ideas into opportunities."

The business plan template and the advice provided along with the document are still quite valuable. If you go to the resource page of the site it will provide you access to the document. If that doesn't work go to the resource page and look under business tools.

We still use this template in the class, and will be using it during the Startup Weekend on Jan 29th, 30th and 31st. I have had a number of folks already send me their interest in participating to my gmail account.

Next week I will lay out more on the logistics including a map and directions to Suite133 and some general requirements of what to bring and what to expect.

You may want to take a look at the business plan template in the meantime.

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