Trade fairs are not my friends

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Trade fairs 

So in the last few months my team and I have been given the opportunity to sell at a couple of trade fairs. To be honest I found both occasions to be quite hard to perform within, and I’m not sure I like the process of trade fairs. I’m someone that prides myself on having a lot of confidence when it comes to talking to people and making new friends but this wasn’t the case when it came to the trade fairs. I found it very hard to try to sell the product to the public because you could see their reaction before I had even finished talking. I was lucky if I could even get someone to stop and hear me out, everyone seemed extremely busy and rude at time. It wasn’t always about selling a product to us, more so about taking time to spread the word about what we do and how we do it. It was our aim to build a strong network of connections and use them to help us grow. Don’t get me wrong I’m not stating that trade fairs always don’t work they have the potential to deliver great results and reach a wider audience. I believe in everything you just have to make sure you pick the right type of people to do the right job.

 The other members within my groups found it a lot easier to talk to people about the products they seemed not to notice when someone wasn’t interested and was able to talk through the whole product without missing a beat. I prefer the classic ways of selling, in store and online. Personally I would focus on selling on sites like Etsy.com where its hand crafted customized goods from independent companies. That’s definitely where I’ll be focusing my attention on in the future because I know I can shine in that area and sell a lot of products.

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Who said Innovation was hard work?

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So as part of my course I got the chance to take part in a university-based competition where students from different university enter a business idea to either win £250 or £1000. Team Memoby failed to win any of the prizes but that’s ok because I understand where we went wrong, I’ll talk about that in my last post. That main thing I got out of the whole experience was that everyone has a skill that is useful, everyone has the optional to do great things but it all boils down to confidence, self-belief and determination. I believe that its not just products or services that can be innovative but also people and there process of work. This theory was very clear in the final presentation of the Bright Idea competition where we had the most amazing guest Shed Simove, let me just tell you that this guy is innovation in a nut shell.

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Shed Simove

Let me give some back ground information for those of you that don’t know who Shed Simove is. Shed is a 42-year-old British performer, entrepreneur, author and producer that has taken the world by storm with his innovative, fun and experimental gadgets that leave you laughing and asking questions. His focus for the last 3 years has been to create books and novelty products. The list below shows some of the things Shed has work on that have helped him reach his current status of success.

 

2001 – posed as a 16 year old schoolboy for a documentary on Channel 4

2006- Worked for Celebrity Big Brother 5

2007- legally changed his name by deed poll to GOD

2008- Launched is own currency name The Ego

2011- wrote a novelty book, ‘ What every man thinks about apart from sex’

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I believe that Shed really proved that people could also be innovative. I describe innovation as a process, you think different, act different and produce something different. To be innovative could both be complicated but very simple, you have to take risks, because risk allow for greater rewards. However in saying that taking risk could also give you a huge loss, me personally, I welcome a loss if it means one day ill get a big reward, you have to go through a lot of crap before you find the piece of gold.

Tips on how to help the innovation process

  1. Look beyond the clouds to see the sun– sometimes things are not what they seen. You have to be willing to look beyond what you eyes will show you. With the right mind you can change anything.
  2. Questions are you’re friend – As long as you have questions, ask them. Questions are the best way to learn, you wont know unless you ask. Also questions can lead to some great connections.
  3. Soak it up like a sponge – No matter how old, educated or important you are, learning new things will always make you better. There is always someone out there that could teach you something new, be will to soak it up and lean.
  4. Grow like a strong tree- as time moves and trends come and go you have to be willing to change with the time and develop.
  5. Who said you can’t- You can do anything you set your mind to. If you always listen to the negative things people say you will probably fail. Keep pushing and keep trying, its all in good time.

 

 

Simove, S. (2014) Shed Simove the ideas man, Available at: http://shedsimove.com/(Accessed: 12th April 2014).

How the Memoby Box was created (Part 3)

This is the last section in a 3-part blog that looks at the product, design thinking and how we created the product. I will explain in detail how the memoby box came to life and the different skills we used to create a brand.

 Get the box

When my team and I started working on designing our product we seemed to complicate things a lot by finding the hardest and longest way to produce results. We started looking for different manufactures that would build the box we had designed, the aim was to use word and plastic but as time went on we found it would be very expensive because not only would you have to pay for the creation of the box you would also have to think about the raw materials. We would not make a profit because the coz for of product for each unit would be high. This is also where we used design thinking, instead of building a box we decided to by an already built plain box , which would save time and a lot of money. In total my team and I spent a third on buying a the boxes pre made, than if we would of made them ourselves. This means we can allocate the rest of the funds to designing the product.

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Change the box

To save money as we went to a bulk buying art Supply Company and brought all our material like paint, gloss and other things. We then transformed the boxes by sanding, painting an glossing. After doing a lot of research we decided that we wanted our products to have a homemade feel, that was a big part of our other all brand. Using the sixth rule from Eight Rules for Creating Great White Papers we found that “Graphics and the look are content too.” Sometimes the way the product looks it more important than what it does because the look is the first thing that is noticed so it can tell an interesting story.

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Customizes the box

Our university has a great arts and craft department that we felt we could use from the beginning. Early on we set up meeting and began to build connections with the staff in that department. In return they not only gave us unlimited access to the machines that 3D printer an scanner but they also help us regularly when we used the machines. Our main focus was to use the machine to scan the memoby logo but also scan customized writing and images for each customer, which in the end cost us nothing because of our connection.

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Throughout my classes the main theme that my teacher spoke about was based around being different. There are many different ways to do things but it’s about taking the skills you already have and using them in an unconventional manor. One skill can have a thousand uses but if you don’t try then you’ll never know. When creating your masterpiece use all resources and connections available, anything that is free or discounted can help.

 

 

ID Employee (2005) Eight Rules for Creating Great White Papers, Available at:http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/g.w.m.rauterberg/lecturenotes/Eight-Rules-for-Writing-Great-White-Papers.pdf (Accessed: 19th of April 2014).

 

Know your Market – Market Research

Market research can be described as desire to obtain information based around the product or service you are trying to offer. It’s the effort to gather information that best helps assess the market and type of consumers you are delivering this product/service to. Market research is also important because you are able to get out into the public and really ask the public what they want and what type of product/service they would put there money to. It’s a way of seeing you competitor and allowing yourself to learn the different ways they are successful

 

As a team, we found that market research would be such am important area for us because it could actually help us determine whether going a long with a product we created was still the right thing to do. Before settling on the Memoby time capsule design we looked at writing an interactive children’s book by creating an experience before the kids went to bed. So we decided to do market research in both books and boxes, below shows the system we used to obtain information.

 Market Research System

We first began by going into the market and seeing the different products offered in theses areas. We were surprised to find that there was such a high level of interactive books on offer.

 

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A book where the parent plays the puppet hand and shows the emotions of the snow snowman. Very interactive with the ability for the child to physically touch and feel the snowman.

 

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A book where the pages are moving like a Television screen. Allows the child to physically see the action.

 

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By far one of the best children’s books i’ve ever seen. This was a pop up book with music and character sounds.

Everything we thought had not been done, had been and to a great standard. We decided as a group that doing a book we not no a good idea because we couldn’t find a need that hadn’t already been met or a style that was new and innovative. After that we decided to do research into the different types of boxes that was similar to the capsule box we wanted to develop.

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Below are the other ways we did market research to best understand our product. 

  • Talk to the employees for the shops we visited
  • Talk to customers that may use the product
  • Go on websites and read different reviews
  • Look at the overall history of the market and its current success rate.
  • Look at the different products that could be similar to what we are developing.
  • Look at different ways to make our product better
  • Carry out online surveys and questionnaires

Some of the questions we asked were:

  • What different things do you consider when buying a product?
  • What things do you like and dislike about the products? currently on the market right now?
  • After seeing our idea, what would you make better?
  • What would you pay for our product?

 Market research is not something that can be done in just one day, it’s a process that should take time and take many different forms and directions. I think market research is an area that can really help create a strong product, its the customers buying the product so knowing what they want can only help help your product be a real success.

 

“It is not possible to make a realistic test of the effectiveness of a commercial in a laboratory situation in advance of real-life exposure. Until this simple but uncomfortable truth is grasped much advertising research will go on being sterile and unproductive.” Alan Hedges 

How to Design a Business

Discovery session: Number one
Market research using the “User Model”

Hello everyone, just a quick recap from my last post.
If you’ve already forgotten my name is Indie and for around a year I will be sharing my journey towards achieving a master’s degree in International Business Management with Entrepreneurship. I’ll be focusing on one of my yearlong classes named Design a Business. So far it’s an amazing class because we actually get to design a business.
In small groups we aim to complete the tasks below to help in the successful creation of a company.

1, Think of product (No food, too many rules)
2, Market research (Finding out what the public want or maybe what they need)
3, Make mistakes (Before you can be successful you must first make mistakes)
4, Start again- Start steps and two again (Second time lucky)
5, Product prototype (creation)
6, Product testing (Also research!! opinions and thoughts of the general public)
7, Product prototype creation 2 (Taking what the public said and making adjustments and suitable changes)
8, Branding (Creating an image for the product. Logos, colors, product name and such things as text font all matter)
9, Marketing (Making the product known)
10, Sales (Placing the product on the market)
11, Reflection (What went well and what could be better)

Below is a breakdown of the sections above. I decided to ask myself more questions in order to answer the key questions.A good buisness plan is well thoughtout and organised and interesting.

Business idea question list

  • The Idea:
  1. What is the business idea?
  2. Who is our target audience?  (Who will benefit the most from this venture)?
  3. What are the potential problems and how can they be resolved?
  4. What are our goals
  5. How will the prototype be developed
  • Market research:
  1. What is the industry like
  2.  Who are our competitors (international and UK)
  3. what tactics do our competitors use to help in there success 
  4.  Is there another product like this in the market?
  5. Is there an open opportunity in the market right now for our product?
  6. What does the general public think of this idea?
  • Marketing and Branding:
  1. How will we create a brand and what will it be.
  2. Are we focusing on any current issues within society today (Helping to fight weight loss, depression, military etc .. etc .. etc)
  3. Other than Facebook, word of mouth, twitter, flyers and posters, how can we market for the future?
  • Product purchase/ product design:
  1. Where will the supplies for the product come from? (Samples of what we are offering)
  2. How will your product or service meet customers needs?
  3. How and where will the product be sold
  4. How will we measure our progress?
  • Finance (predictions):  
  1.  What is our starting capital?
  2. Where will we get the funds?
  3. What will the money be used for (break down; Web design, domain purchase, product…Etc.etc etc.)?
  4. What is our one year predicted sales (cash flow)
  5. Financial forecast (What could our profit be in 5 years) (loss and profit)
  6. How can we secure funds (shares, partnership and sponsorships
  • Future Ventures:
  1. How will the company grow in the future? (include finance, marketing and branding)
  2. How will the new generation change the dynamics of the company
  3. In what ways can we adapt to the change of time (stay current?)

“Opportunists seek for a chance.

Entrepreneurs make new chances.”

Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut