Designing a Business- First step towards my goal ( Final Essay)

“Dream is not something you see in your sleep, but it is something which doesn’t let you sleep”

Dream is the first step towards your success. Everybody has a dream. I have a dream, dream of becoming of the richest person in the world. With this dream I started my career with opting for software engineering in my under graduation. After successful completion, I knew I am not well prepared and have to know what is going in the rest of the world today. Being brought up in a healthy family with all the necessities provided, I never had to face any struggle and was not self-independent. I decided to study outside India, live an independent life, meet people from different countries and know how they think. Having good technical knowledge now it was time to enhance my business skills. Having 6 months of practical experience in my family business, I got admission in Kingston University and my road to achieve my dream started.

Coming here was all together a different experience for me. It was initially difficult for me to settle but gradually I started liking it. The course structure of designing the business seemed very interesting to me while choosing my electives. We had to run our own business for 8 months, developing your own product, market it and maintain the records. It involved all the things which is necessary to run a business.

Finally my classes started. Attending my first designing a business class was bit boring. But I knew there are lots to come ahead. Finally after 3 weeks our group was formed and we were given the brief by our mentor Corrine. We had to design and develop a new product which was creative and could solve the problem in our day to day life. We could invest maximum of 1000 pounds. I was not happy with this concept since I thought to develop a product you need machines and it involves lots of investment and experience. So initially it did not sound amazing to me. I started googling to find a product which we do manufacture and does not involve much of investment. After my research I was surprised to see that most of our daily used products started with small idea and very less investment. The top most businessmen in the world started with the scratch with no money in hand. I read an article of Nirma Company chairman Mr. Karsanbhai Patel. He started with a small idea of making washing soap. He used to make it with his hands and used to sell his washing soap from house to house in a small bicycle. Now that man is amongst the top twenty richest men in India running a billion dollar company (Iloveindia.com, 2015). He started with a small idea that made him big.

We had our first group meeting where everyone pitched about their ideas. Many ideas were suggested but there were some or other flaws in each idea. We were just sitting and I came across a website which said lot of people goes about finding their niche by business tools such as market analysis research. This is was we did exactly. It was written that why not to start a business and develop a product based on the need which we face now and is not properly addressed by existing suppliers. You experience the gap in the market place and you fill it (BBC News, 2015). We decided to address this and met again after two days. I was going through different blogs of my classmate and in it that I encountered a beautiful quote of Picasso saying

“We are all born as artists; the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up”

This led me to conclude that for us to be creative; we need to connect with the kid inside us, as he/she is an individual without limits, barriers, fear or anything that doesn’t allow them to make mistakes (Creativity & Education, 2014).

In the next meeting we decided upon the product which was phone cover having an automatic mechanism for ear phone space. Finalizing everything 20 days prior to the dragon den we came to know that similar product was launched 2 days before meeting in metro newspaper. We all very highly disappointed and soon had to come up with something new. Two new ideas came up but it seemed luck was not favoring us as some problems kept on coming in making those two products. Finally Sarah came up with the handmade product which was a bag cover made up of broken umbrella to protect it from rain and dirt. The idea was good and was making sense. In UK where rain cannot be predicted it’s the common problem for people especially girls who carry hand bags of getting it wet. We named the product rebrella (re-purpose umbrella) and presented our idea in front of Corrine. She gave us few suggestions and we incorporated those.

Having good finance knowledge I was appointed as a financial director of our company CreateABit. It was the dragon den day and we were well prepared. Overall the presentation went good. There were many flaws suggested by the judges. There were some errors made from our side as well. But who does not make errors. We learn from our mistakes and I guess this whole presentation was to point out our mistakes so that we change incorporate the changes before actually selling our products.

I always thought that to develop anything you just need good investment and detailed evaluation of the project. But now making an actual product I realized it’s not these 2 factors we have to consider, there are many thinks we have to consider like how we will sell our products? What will be our marketing strategy? Who will be our target audience? Another driving factor for any successful business is innovation. Innovation is not always coming up with new products or services to sell, but it can also focus on existing products and business practices to improve company’s efficiency, find new customers and increase profits. It is a key factor to turn one-time consumers into regular buyers (Carmichael, 2014). If you consider Apple Company, they are successful because of their innovation. Staring from I-pod, I-phone and then I-pad has made apple company what it is now.

I being the financial director decided to follow the business model of built-to-order. There are many advantages of this. Firstly we can customized based on customer requirements like their color, design and size. Secondly we don’t have to keep inventory in stock which ultimately does not block our money for any unsold rebrellas (Small Business – Chron.com, 2015). Though this would cost more but we could afford this strategy since this product is new to the market and there is no manufacturer as of now.

Having returned fresh from our breaks it was time for our first trade show at Kingston hill campus. It was the first time where we displayed our rebrella for sale. We made rebrella with different colors and designs to make it look attractive. As part of advertising we had made an Instagram poster to attract people attention and asked people visiting our stall to click the pictures with it holding our product in hand. We collected useful information like their Instagram name, email address ad their favorite color to maintain good relationship with them in the future.

Having getting positive response after our first trade fair, it was time to develop the proper packaging for rebrella and to focus on marketing of it. Both reflect what your product is all about. There is a great misconception about marketing. Some people consider marketing to be same as advertisement. But it is not. It is just one part of marketing. Marketing is wide range of activities involved which makes sure that you meet the needs of your customer and get value out of it. Proper message should be conveyed to the people when you market your product and it should not mislead the audience (Managementhelp.org, 2015). My fellow team members after attending the lecture of branding and packaging from Corrine came up with the rough sketch of the packaging. Neil Westwood founder of Magic Whiteboard- a company for which he was given £100,000 investment by Dragon’s Den in 2008 said that packaging which is bulky and occupies too much self-space is unlikely to impress the buyers. We have to think about storage, transportation and whether it fits the retail buyer’s requirements. It should be as light as possible and should reflect what your product is about (Coleman, 2013). Taking all this factors into consideration we decided to choose the informational route and spent a full day designing on Illustrator and creating a small info graphic to wrap around the center of Rebrella showing exactly how to use it.

Coming up with Instagram Poster was the first step for marketing. We tagged all the people who clicked the photos with the rebrella on Instagram as well on Facebook. Our website was created and was shared on Facebook. Sarah and Stephy carried out the interview with the YouTube blogger where they did a small kind of fashion show. This video was uploaded on YouTube and shared on Facebook as well. Advertisement is the major channel to reach the people. Lisagor says if you allow the viewer to project him or herself into a mental state of experiencing the product in the ad and have a positive reaction, it can go a long way to convince them and move to the next step for buying the product (Inc.com, 2015). For our video ad we came up with 3 different scenarios that show different uses for rebrella. In the first half of the video we have showed the problems which people face in their daily life and it was shot in black and white with sad music. In the second half we have shown the solutions for the problems by using rebrella. This part shot is colorful and energetic. Due to lack of budget we are not able to air this advertisement. But we made sure that advertisement should be professional one which can be aired any moment of time. Here’s our link to our final video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8Ft4OIigJws

After proper packaging and marketing, it was now time to sell. Second trade fair was organized at pehyrn road campus. Our main purpose in this trade fair was making as many contacts as we can and built some good relationship with people who already had experience. Our stall was very creative and colorful. Our advertisement was continuously played on the laptop to attract more people. We got pretty good feedback from the people and our purpose of creating the relationship was fulfilled to some extent.

Final presentation was near and being the finance director of the company I prepared all the financial statements. Since our product was unknown to the people and had big goals I decided to price it low initially and increase it with the demand. This was suggested by one of my classmates in his blog (boundlesson, 2014). In the feedback of the presentation there were some errors in the pricing strategy which was pointed out by finance expert. I believed he was right and we need to change our pricing pattern. Everything else was appreciated and overall it went good.

So as mentioned earlier my dream is to become the one of the richest man in the world. My goal is make my presence in the whole world through my business identity and lead a global company. Idea and innovation are the two factors which can lead me to fulfil my goals. I was just a normal student without any experience in business before joining my master’s course. Having done this module I have brief knowledge about how to start and develop a product. It has taught me all the necessary channels to run a company like finance, accounts, marketing, etc. But one thing which I learnt the most in this module is team work. You need a team to move ahead. You need to utilize the knowledge of your team members in which they are good at. Big ideas and solutions only come in meetings with your team. Initially you might not get the results as you expected but at later stage you will get success. Working with team not only teaches you creative thinking but also how to cooperate with other people if you are not familiar with them (Shane T, 2012). I am a food lover and want to do something in food industry. I want to create a company like PepsiCo and coco-cola and manufacture Crips and drinks known by my brand name. I know this will take many years but designing a business has showed me the way how to start with it. There is huge competition in this industry so I have to come up with something new which varies in taste and quantity which others are offering. I need to start producing at low-scale and target local market and gradually increase my market size. Designing a business has given me the start in the way how to think and how to start developing the product.

I thank Corrine for being such a wonderful mentor.

References

Iloveindia.com, (2015). Karsanbhai Patel Profile – Biography of Karsan Bhai Patel – Information on K.K. Patel Nirma. [online] Available at: http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-heroes/karsanbhai-patel.html [Accessed 23 Apr. 2015].

Carmichael, S. (2014). Why Open Innovation is Essential to Business Success?. [online] InnoCentive Blog. Available at: http://www.innocentive.com/blog/2014/10/09/open-innovation-essential-business-success/ [Accessed 23 Apr. 2015].

Small Business – Chron.com, (2015). Advantages and Disadvantages of a Build to Order Strategy. [online] Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-build-order-strategy-18276.html [Accessed 23 Apr. 2015].

boundlesson. (2014). [Blog] Pricing strategies for your product. Available at: https://boundlesson.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/pricing-strategies-for-your-product/ [Accessed 23 Apr. 2015].

Creativity & Education. (2014). [Blog] Available at: https://mvvmarketingltd.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/creativity-education/ [Accessed 23 Apr. 2015].

BBC News, (2015). Top tips for starting your own business – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16595152 [Accessed 24 Apr. 2015].

Coleman, A. (2013). What to consider when deciding how to package your product for retail success. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/sep/30/packaging-product-retail-success [Accessed 24 Apr. 2015].

Managementhelp.org, (2015). Marketing Your Products/Services and Promoting Your Organization. [online] Available at: http://managementhelp.org/freebusinesstraining/marketing.htm [Accessed 24 Apr. 2015].

Inc.com, (2015). 5 Tips for Making an Effective Video Ad. [online] Available at: http://www.inc.com/doug-cantor/5-tips-for-making-an-effective-video-ad.html [Accessed 24 Apr. 2015].

Shane T (2012) Ehow. Available at: http://www.ehow.com/about_5377583_effective-teamwork-skills.html (Accessed: 24 April 2015)

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The final dragon den

Finally the day had arrived where to had to show our whole team efforts which we had put on developing our product and selling it in past 8 months in front of the dragon people. We were well prepared with it and we’re pretty confident with out results.

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There was some technical issues during our presentation. Sound was not working and we had to play our advertisement in silent mode. 7 minutes were given to us and it went very fast. Judges liked some things of our products but there were some pricing and profit issues. Being the finance manager of the company I realized our mistake and we need to correct the price before selling more in the market. Our packaging and name was appreciated by the judges. The main drawback was the missing logo in the rebrella. It was the big mistake from our side.

I realized the reason behind why people always takes advices from experts before making any crucial decisions. We had lack of experience, but hearing our mistakes from experts made our realized our mistakes and steps which we could take in order to improve the product and make it successful.

Overall the presentation went very well, though we didn’t win any thing but I was happy with the feedback.

Second Trade Fair

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We had our second trade fair held at pehryn road kingston university. It was freezing outside and we had to set our stalls in open air. I was shivering since I didn’t expected that fair would be in open and so did not carried a jacket with me.

We quickly set up our stall. I personally was very happy with the stall we had put up. It was very creative and colourful. We had our advertisement running continuously on the laptop and some different photos of rebrella put up.

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Many different people came showed interest in our product. We did sold 2 rebrella that day and got many appreciation for out creativity. In the evening we went to a closed placed for award ceremony. there were speeches from some successful people and from them I cannot forget one speaker who said a line’ be a rat catcher’. His speech was very inspiring and motivating. Finally it was a great day for me which I enjoyed a lot.

REBRELLA VIDEO ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement is the major channel for marketing. Deciding upon to create a advertisement for rebrella, all team members came up with different ideas. After spending for more than 4 more hours we decided and came up with 3 different scenarios that shows different uses for rebrella.

In the first half of the video we have showed the problems which people face in their daily life. The video shot for this half is black and white with some sad music in the background to describe the situation. In the second half we have shown the solutions for the problems by using rebrella. This part shot is colourful and energetic. Let’s have a look at our final video.

We got some feedback from our classmates that rebrella should be more focused and more close-up of rebrella should be shown. We have incorporated all the feedback and will soon edit it based on feedback. But overall experience for shooting this video was very memorable. Since it was my first advertisement I will never forget this experience.

The game simulation

I have been lucky enough to have strategy module in my course. By far the most important thing rather say most interesting thing I came across in my course is the real business game simulation we had to play. We had to compete with our fellow classmates only. It was a computer software simulation where we were to take various decisions as a group as If we are running a real business. The decisions included everything from marketing, finance, csr, sales forecast, equity, production, investment.

We ran this business for 8 years. There were times were there was not a unique decision which came from whole company. Everybody had different opinions. But the real task was to convince the team and go for the best possible decision based on current market scenario. The market was changing every year but we had a proper strategy with a long term plan which eventually helped us to maintain the position in the market.  I was personally very involved in this game and have learnt a lot. I wish this game would have never got over. My perception for the business has now completely changed and now I have known in order to maintain and survive in the industry you need to have a proper long run strategy. Overall our company was second but we had the highest market share and revenue. I thank kingston university was including this game simulation In the module.

Branding and Marketing of rebrella

Marketing is one of the major factor of any business. Huge budgets are allocated for this. But how you market your product is very important. Proper message should be conveyed to the people when you market your product and it should not mislead the audience.

Social media today is best way to reach people and get noticed. It does nit need any money and so we decided to start with this factor. We started our marketing campaign by creating our Instagram poster for our first trade fair. We asked people coming to our stall to click the picture with our product and poster and we tagged them all on Instagram. We even uploaded our pictures on Facebook and started sharing our pictures and websites over there. We came up with an offer with 2 for 10 pounds to increase our sales.

Thanks to Sarah and Sephy who went for the interview with the YouTube blogger where they carried

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out a small fashion show kind off pictures with our product and explained our product. We even released our product for sale on e-bay. A professional advertisement has been shot which at any moment can be aired on television. Due to lack of funds and experience we haven’t done that yet.

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We got a pretty good response by carrying out these marketing. People have started knowing about our products and it’s gradually gaining the momentum. We got our first e-bay order right after our video on YouTube. Overall it is going as per our plan and soon we might get some big order. Fingers crossed.

INNOVATION- A KEY DRIVER IN BUSINESS SUCCESS..

Innovation is a major driver in business success. It’s not always coming up with new products or services to sell, but it can also focus on existing products and business practices to improve company’s efficiency, find new customers and increase profits.

It helps the business owners and employees to become better managers, better business people and push themselves and their businesses to evolve. Whether it’s an advanced version to an existing product, adding new flavors to a dish or a new class of offering, innovation is a key factor to turn one-time consumers into regular buyers. If businesses constantly do the same thing, there is no way business can grow. Innovation is necessary to help business grow, evolve and flourish.

Successful businesses not only respond to current market needs, but they also anticipate the future trends that allow them to meet the future demands and stay one step ahead than their competitors. It is a key differentiator between the company and its rivals.

One of the best example of the successful company who is innovative APPLE. Every year it is coming up with new version of iPhone with some add on features. Starting from I-pod and now I-pad, coming up with innovations frequently has brought the company to the place where it is now.