Report Index

MARKETING FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Jack Ball
Lecturer of Entrepreneurial Studies

Start-up companies search for the right thing to do. Established companies execute on a well-established plan. So says Jack Ball, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurial studies who brings 40 years of business consulting experience to the Zell Lurie Institute. Nowhere is that distinction more important than in marketing. “As an entrepreneur, you have a small amount of money, and you have to make a major impact in the shortest possible time before it runs out,”he says. “You can't afford to commission elaborate market surveys or build lengthy marketing plans, because you're still trying to find the right market niche and customer base for your product.” In his graduate-level course, Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Ball provides MBA students with a comprehensive road map for commercializing a product in an entrepreneurial enterprise. The sequence begins with developing a product that solves a real problem and offers customers a solution they are willing to pay for. It culminates with writing a “pitch deck”for the commercial aspects of the company that gives potential investors concrete details about who, what, when, where and how the product actually will be marketed and sold. At each important juncture during the course, guest lecturers are invited to impart their entrepreneurial insights on such topics as electronic-marketing techniques and cost-effective sales strategies. “I also share a lot of anecdotal experiences drawn from my work with start-up companies over the past 12 years,”say Ball, who is the president of Tyball Associates, as well as an independent consultant to the biotechnology industry and a board member at six companies and one nonprofit organization. In addition, he serves as mentor-in-resident at the U-M Office of Technology Transfer, where he helps faculty and staff members take their patented inventions through the commercialization process. “What sets the Zell Lurie Institute apart from other entrepreneurial-studies programs is that its students have an opportunity to interact with actual entrepreneurs,”Ball says. “This adds a dose of reality to their education.”