Planning and Timing…

Planning plays an important role in any business since proper and perfect planning on time can actually make a big difference in the progress of your business. We have been doing a lot of planning in regard to our product. All dates set deadlines prepared progress rate is perfect and we are moving ahead with everything planned on time.

The timing is perfect for starting up a business here in The UK is now since there are reports that the best time to start up a business in UK is 2018 and here we are with our businesses about to enter the market this year with all our amazing products and services as a part of our course.

This experience is going to be one of its kind and the learning from it are going to stay with us all for life. All the learning we’ve had and the things we have learnt i.e. time management and proper planning and team work would help us soo very much in future.

I hope to learn more and more and to take along a great learning experience at the end of this course and if possible would want to continue with this business here and keep making new products and improving and innovating products and services in London.

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The Pivot or Persevere stage…

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Today after a long winter break we got back to the class with the progressed planning of our product. All the teams were asked as to would they like to Pivot or Persevere their ideas and products for the final trade fair i.e. if they would like to kill the baby or keep the baby. It was nice to be back in the class recalling our ideas and product specifications.

There were teams who actually killed their baby and were starting to work upon their new idea as the old idea wasnt working out well, whereas we i.e. Team Quintet decided to move ahead with our product as we were very sure of the product we are making. We discussed a lot about the final production process of boxie today and we came up with conclusions as well for the same. we finally ended up deciding the materials for our product today and we plan to start up the manufacturing process by monday the coming week.

We got time today to rethink and recollect and to work on the final steps regarding our product according to the steps on the Lean Canvas and so we did come up with a lot of conclusions today and hopefully we would be ready with our product on time before the trade fair and hopefully we do well with this business.

Talking about competition…

Competition arises in any market due to the rapid growth in the business industry and the ever changing demand in the market and ever changing trends. Entering into a business in today’s time is big risk of all times since there is absolutely no guarantee of success in this aspect. I am glad to have joined this course here at Kingston University as I have got this amazing opportunity to experience a real business startup as a part of my course but nevertheless we cannot ignore the fact that be it any country or any sector there has to be competition and if we plan to start a business we must have in mind that to succeed you have to be different.

While talking about competition what comes in my mind is that with my product Boxie, there is as such absolutely no competition at all if seen in the literal terms surprisingly since my product is one of its kind and no other product of the same kind has ever been made or the problem that we are solving hasnt been brought into practice in the market yet. If we talk about the prices of the various glass cases available in the market, yes definitely we can have competition but in terms of the product its design and innovation there is no competition.

The innovation used in this product is based on a problem that one of our team mate came up with regarding her forgetfulness of the her glasses and lenses so we were like we had to solve this problem as it was never heard of and so we would’nt have to think much about competition. So here we are with our product BOXIE and we hardly see any competition for it in terms of the product but it is never certain while in the business industry you never know what happens at which step of your business so all we can do is to be really careful and keep a watch on the market and always keep improving your product.competitiveness_business-1024x691

BOXIE…

Boxie is our product, the multi functional case basically used to store glasses and lenses and the lenses liquid all in one box. It is a foldable case which can be used for storing different things as and when required. It is a joint effort of Team Quintet which includes Me, Mais, Celine, Josiah and Si Charan. We did a lot of research and brainstorming before we came up with this idea which solves a big issue of misplacement of being forgetful of the important stuffs that people need on an daily basis.

Boxie solves this very problem. Since is can be folded flat and can be used with one side use at one time and both sides used according to the use and also because it saves space while carrying it is an amazing product and we already have our customers ready to buy our product while it is still in the prototype phase which is a lot more inspiring and encouraging and this pre demand for boxie makes us believe in the product and we hope we definitely do well with this business.

Boxie can store glasses on one side and shades on the other side so it gets convenient for people who wear glasses as instead of carrying two cases separately and also since the box will be open to customization people can use it for any other purpose as they wish such as storing makeup products and brushes and important keys and cards or other useful stuff.

Another interesting property of Boxie is that it has an inbuilt mirror so that it can be used while applying or removing lenses if u carry those or for applying makeup while you are on the go. Currently Boxie is in its prototype stage and is soon going to be produced and launched at the upcoming trade fair in the university and then it will be open for sale to the customers.

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With this product we wish to make lives easier and convenient for people and help them reduce stress of being forgetful of important things that they need on a daily basis.

The Mock Dragon’s Den…

So the day arrived when we were all set for pitching everyone looked amazingly dressed for the event, the room was set up perfectly for the pitch and the judges table looked a bit daunting since we had to present our product for the first time. Well honestly I was a bit nervous and I guess everyone else was as well. We were all soo practicing before the judges arrived and we were busy thinking how we could set up the props for our skit and discussing about the pitch and stuff with our professor and class mates.

The judges arrived just in time and all of us got back to our tables and were all sitting quietly as Alice, our professor started with introducing the judges to the class followed by the judges introduction of themselves to the students. The judges told us what they expected of that session and of us that day. The pitching finally started and the first teamĀ  started with their speech, and we kept our ears open to all the little details such as the pitch the research areas that the teams have focusedĀ  on and what all measures they have taken in order to make their product new and innovative and also we were looking forward to the judges comment on the speeches and the type of questions they were asking and in the mean time also rehearsing our skit.

Finally it was our turn to present and so we went ahead and distributed the leaflets that we had printed out a day before for the convenience of the judges and then we started with our pitch and it went better than what we had expected. The skit was actually interactive and fun as we could see the judges and the rest of the class enjoying it, so this idea proved to be fruitful. The judges in the end appreciated our techniques and pitching idea as ours was the most different one from the class since no other team prepared a skit.

The question and answer session after the pitching was the best part since we could answer all the questions asked by the judges since we were extremely well prepared and then the feedback from the judges boosted our morale to another level as we had a lot of positive comments and also all the judges were ready to be our first customers so that was the best thing we could hear.

So overall experience was amazing and we came back home with alot of positive feedback and improvement ideas for our product and business which did help us to solve a lot of concerns we had about our business.

 

 

Preparing for the pitch…

So here we were all geared up for our Mock Dragon’s Den. All five of us gathered up before the pitching day and we had a lot left to do. The idea was finalized but preparing a pitch around it was not an easy task to do as there were a number of guidelines to follow and a lot was told in class that we had to keep in mind while preparing.

The first thing we did was we prepared a list of probable questions that arises in concern to our product and that could be asked to us by the judges while we present. Since we were not ready with the pricing and material of the product we exactly knew what questions we need to prepare. The questions that we had prepared were as follows :

Q1. Who will buy the product i.e. the target customers ?

Q2. Who are the probable competitors ?

Q3. How will you attract your target customers ?

Q4. How will the product be distributed or made available to the target market ?

Q5. What are the long term plans with this product ?

Q6. How do you plan to expand the business or grow ?

Q7. What is the production cost of your product ?

Q8.What will the price for the product be ?

Q9. How much investment will be made on this product and what returns and profit are you expecting out of this product ?

Q10. How do you think this product will have a long lasting sale ?

These were a few questions that we came up with and then we figured out the answers for them which took us long since we had to research a lot for it.

Then finally after a lot of discussion and a lot of pondering upon the pitching idea we came up with the idea of preparing a small introductory pitch about what our product actually is and how it functions and all details about it and along with it we prepared a small skit where we were supposed to enact a small scene in front of the judges and the audience giving our product a more realistic view through our enactment. We thought this was a brilliant idea for pitching and we moved ahead with it.

A lot of practicing was required before we could attend the Moc’s and so we did practice in the library. The introductory pitch was ready soon but the enactment part was tough as we had to come up with a lot of ideas for enactment to make our product appear like it already exists in the market and people already are using it. So after spending a lot of time over it we prepared a script for the skit and then rehearsed among ourselves.

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We had our prototypes ready by then and then we printed leaflets for the judges with all the necessary information of our product so we could present it to them before we start our pitch, we thought it would be more professional to do so and would leave a lasting impact. So this is how we spent the day before the Mock Dragon’s Den. We hoped for the best and so did we get.

 

 

The Entrepreneur’s Perspective :

I had attended this seminar on New Ventures in Healthcare and Fund Raising : What can go wrong ? , delivered by Mr. Stefano Ciampolini, who is a successful entrepreneur in the healthcare sector, in the business school on the 13th of November in a hope to learn more about business and startups and the pros and cons of any steps we take as entrepreneurs, and attending this seminar was indeed an enriching and learning experience.

 

Mr. Stefano, as I found out during his speech is an ex student of Kingston University and had won the Bright Ideas Competition from his cohort and later went to The Imperial College to persue his MBA Degree where he also won the Business Plan of the year Award in a competition. He is the 4th generation healthcare entrepreneur in his family but he did all his work independently without any help from his family. Mr. Stefano is a founder and manager of many healthcare ventures and also is a survivor of a severe financial crisis during his career.

While throwing light upon his life and journey to becoming a successful person he also told us about his problems that he faced during the peek of his career. He started a new company in 1997 and had put in all his money in the business and had got investment but then one of the Russian investors was murdered and due to this he had to suffer a huge financial crisis and loss of business, but with time and ideas and the resources he already had created from his earlier ventures he came over that phase and recovered the loss.:

He taught us a lot of things including:

What do investors look for in a business idea :-

  1. Stable cash flow
  2. Recurring revenue stream
  3. Scalability
  4. Barriers to entry
  5. Defensible niche markets
  6. Technology, etc

and few more pieces of very useful advice from him were :-

  1. Timing is everything, the timing for starting up a business or generating funds etc should be perfect.
  2. At early stages of business one should only raise funds in equity, no debt or fancy financial instruments.
  3. One should never say no to selling of a business if it feels right, this way one can become a serial entrepreneur and start with a new venture or project all over again.
  4. to always settle all the possible claims as they pop up because the lawyers always win.
  5. Never set an overambitious target, and
  6. Always perform due diligence on your potential buyers/investors as they will do the same with you.

This, along with many other real life experiences and teachings and know-how about how to startup a business and the risks involved, the investors requirements, how to search for the correct investor for your business and how to be safe from suffering a loss, is what I had taken away in the form of learning and understanding from that seminar. It was really an enriching experience to also meet him in person after the seminar as he is extremely polite person and always ready to help and answer questions.

Rest I hope to inculcate the learning while I work on my startup and his formula’s for living a calm life even in a crisis would help me to become a successful entrepreneur someday.

Thank you.