At GLIDR, we know that being a teaching assistant (TA) is hard work. We decided to partner up with Jillian O’Connor, a highly experienced TA from University of Southern California, to bring you ten tips to help ensure that your next entrepreneurship program is guided by success.
- Organize Team Members - When it is time for your cohort members to sign up, it is helpful to create a form that you can easily fill out with your cohort members' names, teams, roles and emails. This will help to streamline the overall setup process of your cohort.
- Communicate Everything - Compose an email to the members of your cohort, highlighting instructions for logging in toGLIDR, and first steps for using the platform. More often than not, members tend to get lost by clicking on a wrong link on the LaunchPad Central website (e.g. “Get Started”). Moreover, it is also helpful to let your members know that emails received from LaunchPad Central may sometimes be within the Spam folder of their email inboxes.
- Compile Resources - Before the cohort kicks off, add an office hours sheet and any supportive materials that you will need for a successful start to the Resource Hub. In your welcome email to the cohort members, make sure to direct your members there. Within the Resource Hub, there are already some useful resources included under Customer Discovery Tools, including: Team Member Get Started Guide, Intellectual Property Basics, and Example Customer Discovery Presentations from Steve Blank’s website.
- Make Your Teams Feel at Home - Inform your cohort members that the first step to be completed upon logging in, is filling out their Team Profile, followed by entering their first hypotheses in their Business Model Canvas. It is recommended to start with Customer Segments and Value Propositions thereafter.
- Enable Weekly Digest Emails - Your notification settings allow you to enable daily or weekly emails updating you on the progress of your cohort. It is beneficial if the TAs and Instructors of your cohort set up weekly digest emails from their notification settings.
DURING THE COHORT
- Allow four weeks for the members of your cohort to settle in. More often than not, the starting point to your program may be rockier than expected. This is particularly the case when the members of your cohort realize the volume of interviews that need to be conducted, and display signs of despair during the first two or three weeks. Based on our past experience, you may find it to be helpful to know that improvements start appearing around the week four mark.
- Click on the Play button within any section of the Business Model Canvas to understand how to fill in the selected section. the In every section of the Business Model Canvas, there is a Play button included to the right of the section. The Play button links to a help video, created to educate the cohort members of the purpose of each section within the canvas.
- Advise the members of your cohort to export their Business Model Canvas by taking a screenshot. The Business Model Canvas is a very expansive tool and can carry a vast amount of information. When it is time for presentations, the best way to keep the canvas in-tact, is for the cohort members to take a screenshot of the canvas and then paste into their slide decks.
- Look for the color coding feature of the Business Model Canvas, to immediately grasp the current stage of hypotheses displayed within the canvas. This is used to visually tie a hypothesis to a Customer Segment. Within a hypothesis box, there also indicators that will signal the current stage of a hypothesis - in testing, validated or invalidated.
- Make it a habit to check the overall health of your cohort on a daily basis, by monitoring your Leaderboard and each of the participating teams' canvases. If you notice that a team is starting to lag behind, it may be time to reach out to their mentors and instructors.
LESSONS LEARNED & DEMO DAY
- Encourage the members of your cohort to tell their story on their final presentation day. Congratulations, you did it! The best part of any cohort is being able to sit back and see the amazing progress that your teams have made. They have learned a tremendous amount, gotten through the trough of despair, talked to countless people and are ready for their next steps - whatever those may be. Their final presentation should not be a sales pitch. It should an illustration of their journey though their time in the cohort. Make sure to recommend that they include their first and final canvas, their pivot points, and their key insights.