A Meeting with Portland State University

Despite the fact that Riverside’s course has been closed for about a week, I have had quite a busy last 7 days both working on some swing changes and having a few logistic-style meetings.

I participated in, or a better description may be that I was the subject of, Portland State University’s “Capstone Program” this semester.   Capstone is a senior undergraduate class that spends an entire term examining a few small businesses and building a business plan for these.  The class breaks into groups of 8 and these students research one business and present their findings as a final presentation.  Yesterday the group focussing on The Dan Plan presented a handful of adjuncts, professors and me.

It was fascinating to watch.  They had dug deep into my website, read papers on Deliberate Practice, perused all of the articles that have run on my project to date and in general were spot on about what my intentions and goals are.  At times it felt a bit personal as they analyzed my progress and estimated the chances of making it onto the PGA Tour.  They even interviewed two long-time Tour golfers about their experiences both from a practice standpoint and about securing their own finances while trying to make the Tour.  (unfortunately they signed a confidentiality agreement with the Tour players so I didn’t get to know who they were.)

They broke down my project into 4 categories.

Strengths:  Client’s Passion, 1/2 way to goal, Family Support, Blog/Website reach, Support of Team, Statistics for 2+ years.

Weaknesses: Lack of Funds, No real product of service, Lack of business focus, Tentative Speaker, Handicap currently is 4, Lots of Travel Required

Opportunities:  Outside Sponsorship, Grants, Publishers/Producers, Private investor, Crowd Sourcing.

Threats: Another person doing the same thing, Likelihood of completion, Golf pros opinions, Tax implications for donations, Weather in Oregon.

That was their SWOT analysis and I think they hit on some good points, although I don’t totally agree with everything, but when you have an outside group break down your “business” you aren’t always going to agree with all points.

After this, they went into a few of the aspects and then took time to present what they thought was the best potential way to support the project through the second half of the 10,000 hours.  Through their research and interviews, they basically surmised that due to the competitive nature and large numbers of people trying to make the tour and looking for private and business sponsorships that that route was not the way to go.  They presented that while the project can have a few revenue streams when completed (book, documentary, public speaking, so on) that during the final 5k the best way to support the project to the point where I can financially finish the best bet was on crowd sourcing.

Before I go on, I want to say that the point of me chatting with PSU and the point of the project is not now, nor has it ever been, to make money.  If I was interested in making money I would have stuck with a job from the get go.  Unfortunately, though, there is a cost in pursuing something like this and it is important to be proactive in order to accomplish goals.  I like to analyze different opportunities and see if there is something that I am missing that could be a potential source of growth.

Back to PSU.  Their conclusion was that by growing the traffic on my site I could get to the point where the cost of the project is completely covered by revenue supported by ad clicks.  What they suggested was to use a website like Hubspot (which I had never heard about until yesterday) to drive more traffic to the site.  It’s an initial cost of $500 and then $200 a month to use this service, which is a lot of cash for me.  That’s more than half of what I spend monthly to be a member of a golf course where I can practice and play 6 days a week.

I will do some research on this service and comparable services and make a decision some time in the next couple of months.

It was a great presentation and there was much more to it, but those were the highlights.  If anyone runs or is starting a small business in Portland I would recommend checking out the Capstone Program.  Brain power is always a good thing.

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