This weekend I had the privilege of attending the second annual Girls to the Moon Campference, an event for young girls and their caregivers that featured over a dozen speakers and covered topics ranging from astrophysics to puberty. The campference, which was held at Nossi College of Art in Nashville, Tennessee, is just one of the ways Girls to the Moon works to equip young women with tools to discover their best selves and inspire change within their own communities.
One of the sessions at this year’s campference was “How to Go for It: Starting Your Own Business,” which served as an interactive crash course in entrepreneurship. The session was hosted by Kerry Schrader and Ashlee Ammons, the mother-daughter team behind the mobile app MixTroz.
Schrader and Ammons kicked off the session by breaking girls up into groups of ten and assigning each group a business concept. The girls were then challenged to develop a basic business model based on the concept they were assigned, including an overview of how their company makes money, its target customers and its competition.
I watched as a hundred girls brainstormed their way to viable business concepts within ten minutes. Not only were these young ladies learning to work as a team, but they were also learning how to think like entrepreneurs.
These are just a few of the lessons they learned—lessons that may serve as a reminder to those of us just starting out on our entrepreneurial journeys:
1. Entrepreneurship doesn’t start with an entrepreneur. It starts with a problem.
This was something the founders of MixTroz made clear from the very beginning. “We didn’t start our business by saying, ‘We want to be entrepreneurs,’” Ammons explained before assigning business concepts to each group. “We started our business by solving a problem.” The problem a company solves can be just as important as the solution it creates; the more pain the customer feels, the more likely he or she is to pay for a solution.
2. Know what makes your company valuable.
We’re not just talking about money here; your value proposition is what sets your company apart from the competition. What makes your product better than the other guys’?
3. Know your customer.
Reaching your target market can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Identify your customers first, then shape your business to accommodate their needs. Don’t waste valuable time and resources on people who aren’t interested in your product.