Reflective Essay.

Many people do make mistakes in life and only some in that lot take those mistakes as a challenge while learning from them. At first, I thought that I had made a big mistake choosing London as my destination for Master Degree but when I though of my previous experience in AIESEC (Worlds Largest Youth Run Organization) as Business Development Manager for AIESEC Chennai, India had made me fight for it. AIESEC had given me the opportunity to change from an introvert to extrovert. It also exposed me to Mentorship and showcased the importance of a Mentor. At the end of my two Year AIESEC Experience, I decided to follow three simple steps. Such as

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During my term in AIESEC, I saw a huge scope being an Entrepreneur and how flexible I can be. Though there are loads of decision-making risks, it is always a learning experience. That is when I decided to become a young Entrepreneur by taking my Fathers company to next level by expanding across the city and later in the nation whist running my own series of startups and successfully turning them into companies that is both beneficial for me and people related to it. Having a mid set of having closed arms and working under someone would not benefit the employer, made me take this decision. At the age of 19, I took a small step towards my Goal by starting an Augmented Reality Company with one of my colleague from AIESEC name “PupaClic”. It was started with a minimal investment of 30Pounds and two laptops. Two years down the lane, right now, it has 6 On-going projects and many strong pipelines for the future.

I decided to Join Kingston to mainly to network with people from countries and gain knowledge from them, later I came across designing a Business Module where I was said that we have an opportunity to start our own business. After selecting this module, there are so many things I that have learnt from how to work in groups from different ethnic background to find your own persona to prototyping to Trade fair to Displays stand etc.

A very famous quote from my inspiration Steve Jobs -“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” (Love, 2014)

Business Model Formation

According to Seiffer (2014) Business model is very important as it decides the business on the whole. As far of my understandings, business model is the process of solving a potential customer problem and identifying profitable ways to solve it. When we identified the major problem that women’s are facing in almost in everywhere. To enhance the product, we then decided to split up the feature we would like our product to have so that we can keep in mind these features that should be included in the future product we are going to make. Given below is a digital version of our Mendels Glezen Brainstorming template that we used and Hence Le Petit Sac was founded with an idea to solve a problem that is faced by majority of women’s across the world.

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Source: (Hsiaokai, 2014)

Major Lessons learned

My first learning in this module was about the use of U.S.E.R model of Design Thinking by my professor Beaumont (2010) that sparks a Design thinker to start the creativity process and innovate. It talks about mapping the user and solving the problem leading to a formation of Persona. A persona is said also to be the Target audience, the more the refine your persona is. The clearer your Business Idea would be. Later when the persona is formed and the problem is found out, it then slowly moves on to the next stage named Prototyping. In the process, I learnt to work as a team from different ethnic background group. Teamwork improves Morale, where the team members take more responsibility and have control over the work process. It also provides more flexibility to the members as they can support and backup each other in case of delay or other team member’s personal reasons. Teamwork also increases innovation, as the process of brainstorming is where a lot of arguments over the topic but it end as a good decision for the team that would be benefited by all. (Small Business – Chron.com, 2014) Talking about Prototyping that mainly eliminate ambiguities and improve accuracy for a product. It also acts as a test solution to what the product is supposed to solve and helps to reduce the future product failure and other issues. Prototyping also allows exploring the idea on design thinking and exchanging the product feedback from the selected consumer group. Prototyping also estimates the development cost, timescale, skill and potential resource requirement. (Sqa.org.uk, 2014).

Here is how our first Prototype looked

That evolved to

 

And that finally ended up to be our final prototype as

As seen, the first prototype is small and handy but does not solve the problem what we aimed for. Second prototype is slightly bigger but some features were missing and it could be used only for one purpose plus it is not elegant, stylish and sleek. Talking about the final prototype, it is sleek, elegant and stylish and solves the problem of the customer and is also multi functional. Thus it can be clearly said that Prototyping any business product until it is fully launched in the market would not only give you better picture of the product but also helps you gain feedback and improvise on the current model that would end up as a better product.

Problem found. Solution done. But how will you approach consumers?

Ans: Marketing and promotion.

Any one can create a product if there is an idea. But in order to make the product successful, right channels of marketing and promoting the product is very much needed and is very important for a product in a business. (Mikoluk, 2014) For Le Petit Sac we first moved into social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These were very helpful and gave us detailed feedback. Social media is an advantage as they are used to gain feedback for free. The main motive behind this is to gain customer insights and review about our product as it another important stage. (Suttle, no date) After collecting these data, it was used in the Lean tribe Canvas (Beaumont, 2013). The lean tribe canvas is about how an individual is according to the market. Each business can modify the changes accordingly based on the target individuals. I have learnt that marketing the product not only increases sales and improves awareness of the product, it will help any company learn/identify their customer value. Marketing also builds up trust between the company and the consumer that would automatically lead to securing a place in market as “Brand Image” (Mikoluk, 2014). Some marketing techniques can be profitable and some may not be profitable as it is the process of learning about the refined market groups. As a closing note, always remember, “Identifying the problem and creating a product is simple and easy. But to make that product successful the right channels of marketing and right promotion material should be used to make the product successful.”

  

Our advertisement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn0jaws3GxI

Our Website: http://www.lepetitsac.co.uk

 

Branding

Many people often get confused with the term Marketing and branding, but they are different. Branding is Delivers the message clearly, Confirms your credibility, Connects your target prospects emotionally, Motivates the buyer, Concretes User Loyalty (Lake, 2014). Branding is a part of marketing where branding is strategic that makes loyal customers that is the important for the success of a business. (Heaton, 2014)

 

Still unclear? Take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKIAOZZritk

Here is an interesting talk about Best Branding Campaigns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v549KzHZzhw

 

Displays:

Displays are great ways to promote and showcase your product. In the end of second term, all the teams from designing a Business had an opportunity to showcase their display techniques to the public and gain publicity. During our brainstorming session, we were discussing on how to display our product and thinking out all possible ways to make it look best. At the beginning of the discussion, we all had kept one motive that is to keep it elegant and simple. During this process, I learned that keeping the display simple would not only make it look neat but also gives a good impression on the people crossing it. I have also understood that your display should talk on behalf of you i.e it should have a story that would be different and gain quick attention. Here are few pictures of our display in Kingston Town. As said, it is simple and elegant and have a story that directly talks to the public.

Our simple catalogue

 

Presentation

I may have changed from an introvert to an extrovert but I do have stage fear. Our first presentation to the mock dragons was in PPT format. Like a general product prototyping, our presentation skills have also evolved from PPT to using Photoshop and other advanced tools. As I noticed, there has been a huge change in the way we presented since the start. From formal attire to super formal clothing on dragons den to Young Enterprise Finalist. It is mandatory that the whole team wears same colour code clothing to show unity. Wearing uniform clothing would not only create a good impact on the team for judges, it also gives the presentation a professional impact. Thus hence my first dragons den, my team makes it a point to have a professional look. Taking a look at this, I do wear super formals for other module presentation and ensures my team also follows the same.

Source: (hsiaokai, 2014)

Conclusion:

To sum up in short, this course not only helped me start a new business that has won Dragons Den of £3,000 seed money, Best Display in Kingston trade fair (inside the university). Best presentation (Dragons Den) and Best Young Enterprise Team 2014. I have no words to express when hard work actually pays off. On a final note, to anyone can start up a business but to run it successfully you need to plan before hand and keep plans for all possible failure so that the business has a plan to recover. Designing a business may be a yearlong module but the way course of action by which Corrine takes each and every class is interesting that would never make you bunk her class. For me till now, two companies down in my target, loads more to go. I can now proudly say that at the age of 21, I run two companies. I also learned how to work in different groups, accepting ideas and suggestions, act maturely and more over made good friends. Overall, it is a good learning experience and it’s always best to realize from mistakes and learn from them.

 

 

Reference:

All Kay, (2014). All Kay. [online] Available at: http://hsiaokai.wordpress.com [Accessed 26 Apr. 2014].

Beaumont, C. (2010) USER design thinking model. MACE Kingston. [Online] Available at: http://macekingston.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/usermodel-corrinebeaumont.pdf [Accessed 26 April 2014]

Heaton, J. (2014). The Difference Between Marketing and Branding. [online] Tronviggroup.com. Available at: http://www.tronviggroup.com/the-difference-between-marketing-and-branding/ [Accessed 26 April 2014].

Lake, L. (2014). Marketing 101: What Is Branding?. [online] About.com Marketing. Available at: http://marketing.about.com/cs/brandmktg/a/whatisbranding.htm [Accessed 26 April 2014].

Love, D. (2014). Steve Jobs’ 13 Most Inspiring Quotes | Slideshow. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/233085#1 [Accessed 26 April 2014].

Mikoluk, K. (2014). The Importance of Marketing: 10 Reasons You Can’t Afford Not to Market Your Business. [online] Udemy.com. Available at: https://www.udemy.com/blog/importance-of-marketing/ [Accessed 26 April 2014].

Mikoluk, K. (2014). The Importance of Marketing: 10 Reasons You Can’t Afford Not to Market Your Business. [online] Udemy.com. Available at: https://www.udemy.com/blog/importance-of-marketing/ [Accessed 26 April 2014].

Small Business – Chron.com, (2014). The Importance of Customer Feedback. [online] Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-customer-feedback-2089.html [Accessed 26 April 2014].

Small Business – Chron.com, (2014). What Are the Benefits of Teamwork in Business?. [online] Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefits-teamwork-business-3250.html [Accessed 26 April 2014].

Sqa.org.uk, (2014). Benefits of Prototyping. [online] Available at: http://www.sqa.org.uk/e-learning/IMAuthoring01CD/page_06.htm [Accessed 26 April 2014].

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Chapter 15. #LastFew.

The last chapter of my favourite module in Kingston has finally arrived that was Dragons Den with a closing announcement as Winners for Young Enterprise 2014. It all started off when the team decided to work hard for the final presentation. For the past few days we were working on the presentation and rehearsing the slides again and again to finish it in time, as usual!  i was bit tensed about it and then when we entered the room of our presentation in 336. The Dragons smiled and took away all my tension. The presentation started in a good flow and then ended up smoothly. At the end of the presentation, i have learnt to observe the audience expressions. As far of my understanding, any audience who have a smiling face or give a satisfaction look after any presentation is where they enjoyed the presentation and were amused by the way the presentation.  After we were done, i observed the Dragons expressions and all the three Dragons were smiling and having this satisfactory look that gave me some confidence that it would be good sign as Winners for Dragons Den and pushing us to Young Enterprise Competition. After the presentation we were asked to wait down for announcements and later we wee announced as one of the selected Team for Young Enterprise. We had to do the 2min elevator pitch to become the finalist, since we had practiced before hand for this session (just to be on the safer side and to avoid last minute preparation). We then had to present the pitch to judges (All Dragons). After a week later were the announcement for Selected Teams for Young Enterprise and we made it. The Winners for 3000 Pounds cash prize and representing Kingston University and South London for Young Enterprise National Competition. Whatever happens, it is usual for any teams to have disputes within them but when it comes to us, at the end we are like a family and would never give up on others.

 

It was a great pleasure working with everyone. Just to mention that i have made good friends with students from MACE and Designing A Business. Wishing everyone loads of success and God Bless us. 🙂

 

 

Final trade fair

Le Petit Sac recently participated in the Open to Public trade fair that held in Kinston Town Centre (Near John Lewis). We were competing against other teams (Including Undergrads). It was a tough competition though, Judges were marking us based on the the display and our pitch. Taking this as an advantage, we decided to approach the public and gain their feedback. At first, people were running away from me (I don’t look like an alien or not that scary). They were literally running from me and then later i started to target the public from aged 25 to 45 (specially girls) #ISoLoveThisApproach. 😛 When i targeted and approached them, i casually started off and then bought them to the question *pointing at the poster* “Have you walked barefoot after your night out?” surprisingly majority nodded “Yes!” and some said ‘No’. For those who said “YES!” i took them to my stall and explained what our product is about and where they touched our product and felt the quality. As corrine said, “If a customer is touching your product, He/She is more likely to buy”, to add to that i feel a customer is touching your product, HE/SHE is more likely to buy it but with second thoughts and if they have another product in mind with similar features.” Coming back to what happened in my stall, many like out product, took away our promotion material and social media information. But this one person who walked up and took our bag and felt it and said “I have been working in fashion retail sector for 12 years and this quality leather is very good and the finish is very good.” His wished us success and suggested to meet his friend who owns a store in Canary Wharf (a fashion designer too) so that she could help up us taking it to the next level. At first, it was a good start but since it is not patented we were advised not to approach others as it may be EASILY copied. After all, in the end we got some genuine reviews and this trade fair supported us and gave us the confidence in business.

 

Cheers,
Ashiq.

Trade Fair Scenes #MyUnderstanding.

Here are some few tips and my understanding on Trade Fair to stand out in the lot.

Firstly, Plan your trade fair and decide whom you putting up the show for. Getting ready for the show begins by mapping out who you’ll want to connect with to build your network, scope out your competitors or explore partnering opportunities.

Either you plan BIG or go home- Trade shows are like a flash mob of retail outlets packed into a tight space. Your “storefront” must grab people’s attention and draw them into your space.

It pays to invest in an easy-to-assemble display panel to fill whatever standard-sized exhibit space you’ve rented. Approach your display as if you were creating a killer billboard. Ensure that your logo is prominent. And support it with a key message of six or seven words that’s at least three feet off the floor so people can actually see it. it can be suggested to include graphics that are big and colourful—even shocking. People’s faces work really well in a trade-show both because people like to look at other people and striking images help spark conversations and gain attraction. Design your space to include interactive displays, so visitors will be more likely to enter your booth, allowing you to engage them in conversations.

Go approach people and talk to them about the brand. Gain their feedback and go back to the discussion room and try to improvise it. After all, your business is successful only if you have the right customer and showcase it properly to them.

Showcase your social media presence to them, it may not affect a lot of people but the interested ones can take a look and spread the word. After all, Word of mouth advertising is most effective advertising.

Cheers,
Ashiq.

Advertisements!. No barriers needed.

Companies usually spend loads of money to advertise their product. But as far as my understanding, A good advertisement does not need to be publicised massively if it is simple and easily understood by any laymen. Here are some simple killer adverts i came across:

Orion Telescopes (University of Texas, USA)

ad25-620x

 

Pepsi (Brussels, Belgium)

ad7-620x

 

Nivea (Netherlands)

ad31-620x

 

Pedigree (São Paulo, Brazil)

ad23-620x

 

Volkswagen (Berlin, Germany)

ad26-620x

 

King Khalib Foundation (Saudi Arabia)

ad24-620x

 

Tzomet Sfarim (Israel)

ad27-620x

 

McDonald’s (Australia)

ad18-620x

 

Ecovia (Curitiba, Brazil)

ad20-620x

 

Sugar-Free Chupa Chups (Spain)

ad4-620x

 

Mastercard (Canada)

ad28-620x

 

World Wildlife Fund (Istanbul, Turkey)

 

 

 

 

ad29-620x

FedEx China-Australia (Brazil)

ad33-620x

Plant For The Planet (USA)

 

ad32-620x

 

Weight Watchers (Germany)

ad5-620x

 

Pedigree (São Paulo, Brazil)

ad21-620x

 

Guinness (USA)

ad30-620x

 

Nivea Men (Hamburg, Germany)

ad10-620x

 

They don’t need a caption. The picture says it all. As said before, They are SIMPLE and Not congested.

Cheers,

Ashiq.

 

Reference: http://news.distractify.com/culture/arts/these-brilliant-print-ads-are-better-than-a-superbowl-commercial-could-ever-hope-to-be/?v=1

 

Display stands.

One thing i learnt in the process of designing my business. Once the problem is found and the product is ready after a lot of Prototyping, the best way to attract customers and gain publicity is through “DISPLAYS” in the right trade stand. It does not make sense when a product is at the wrong place for publicity. Some tips for a good display (From my understandings):

1. Make it simple

2. Do not display many products are display

3. Play with lights

4.  Highlight your product with focused light.

5. Make sure your display is colourful and elegant.

6. Try giving away well designed promotion material (Not the usual flyers)

7. Tell your customers a story.

8. Think in visual plane

9. Surprise customers with products features (visually)

10. Capture customer engagement (Good use in future for promotion)

11. Use bold shapes and colours

12. Keep it clean

13. Keep changing it in a fixed time period, so that people notice the change and look forward for new ones.

 

Reference: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223677

Cheers,

Ashiq.

 

 

Till now.

At the end of the first term, we had to present our products to the Dragons not once but twice. Le Petit Sac team had been working hard on the rehearsal and practicing for almost a week with almost everyday meet ups and practicing and kept practicing until we could fit in the time frame we set. Finally the day came where the team had to present to the dragons. At first it was a very tensed situation for me as after a long time i coming back to spotlight and presenting and had an inner stage fear. Although people tend to forget when they tensed, my main concern was not to forget my part that would put all my team members efforts down. At this nail biting moment, my team members were very supporting and motivating by asking me to relax and not to worry about the presentation. Le Petit Sac was called and with a deep breath i entered the room and the presentation happened. At the beginning of my speech, i was little quick and concerned about the next slide and made sure i did not miss even a singles word and successfully completed it.  This gave me a confidence and helped me prepared for the next presentation and as usual the team “KILLED IT“. AT the end of the day, we won the ‘Best Presentation” Award.

 

Being this as a kick start for our business, next was the “Bright Ideas Grand Final”  that happened inside the university campus and we won the “Best Business Idea”. Post that was the Trade fair inside the university where we were in the process of learning about the display stand and display techniques. We won the “Best Product” here too. At this point i realised that “Hard work does pay off, But sometimes its instant and most of the time, its LATE”

Seems like things are on the right track for us. Hope we fill our rooms with loads of trophies and prizes, Inshallah!. All credits to almighty. 🙂