Dear cabin crew, “ prepare for landing “ when we heard this sentence is announced. We can recognise that the journey is coming to an end. We almost arrive at the destination. It has been almost seven months working with a start-up business. It might be too fast to measure how the success of the business. But it is enough time to learn to start-up business from scratch. Before I applied for this course. I ran my own business for five years, It is an architect company. But I haven’t known even what is the meaning of the business model. This business came from my expertise. It doesn’t come from need or problem of the client. It is a good chance to learn to start a business from theory to practice. Many lessons are learned from design thinking module. I gain a lot of new experience. I force myself to break the old barrier and expand my capabilities. I will capture and summarise all the experience through this blog. I hope one day when I start a new business. It will remain me what I have learned in this journey.
The first thing that we do to start the business was to choose our team. Team is one of the essential resources to create business. It is not easy to find a perfect team from a group of peoples that you have met for 3 times. We knew each other only from our poster, it is a portfolio to represent yourself.
In general, I will choose to work with a friend or people that I’ve known each other. According to Coward (2015), two principal factors that lead to a successful collaboration are trust and communication. So, teamwork needs trust more than any skill. It is the way to stay in a comfort zone and avoid challenge. Therefore, I decide not to choose anyone and join the team with the rest of people randomly. I want to challenge myself and explore my hidden ability while working with new people. It make me found my hidden personality trait that is a flexibility. It describes the ability of a person to deal with change situation by define problem and solution in creative ways. It is a good chance to work with anyone that has a different expertise, motivation and language. The empathy start since we were finding the way to work together. According to Brown ( 2008 ), Empathy is one of A design thinker’s personality profile. To understand what another person needs and want. Innovation is powered by a thorough understanding ( Brown, 2008).
In the first stage of the design thinking process, It starts from empathy with the user as user-centre. There are many ways to identify user’s problem such as observation – observing what people do or reaction in an environment, interview – asking a question to people to define need and want. In design thinking class when we start the assignment. We have to get out of the building to observe and interview the user. We observed the people to choose a potential user to interview. After got insight from the user. We have to define the relevant problem that they are facing. It is the way to find appropriate constraints for the project. During the inspiration phase, the team need to share their insight to get inspiration to solve the problem. Brainstorm is used to generate the idea from all the members in the ideation phase. We connect the scenarios by sketching on the paper. Then selected the possible idea to create a prototype. The prototype is the minimum viable product( MVP ) for testing the solution. It is the way to gain feedback from a user. Feedback help develop the product to serve the user’s desire. However, every feedback might not fit the context. You have to think critically to apply the feedback to your product. The ideation process has to keep iteration as a loop from prototype to test, test to feedback. Then initiate the prototype process again before move to the implementation phase. It is one of the lean startup method, build – measure – lean, the fundamental activity of a startup is to turn an idea into products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere (Ries, 2011) In young entrepreneur project, we gain feedback from the classmate and the experts. We took a big pivot one week before the first trade fair. We change the outcome from service to product. Our first idea was a redesign old clothing to create new stylish one which was similar to the tailoring service. The expert gave us any advice about the problem which would happen during the production process. For example, as the service is to transform the client’s old clothes to new one. The new redesign product consists of three old shirts. So, each old shirt has different fabric which it was complex to complicate to combine together. Moreover, we realised that we lack of capacity to produce this product. If we keep developing this idea, we need to collaborate with external outsources for the production. Therefore, we pivot the outcome to produce the product under the idea that we can produce by our hand made. In Kingston trade fair, we create a minimal variable product which use the same material and pattern to remain all the feature. We gain a lot of useful feedback and develop the prototype until it becomes three final type of products to implementation such as artwork, bookmark and jigsaw.
If a frying pan is the secret weapon for the master chef, the canvas will be a secret weapon for an entrepreneur to startup a business. It is a tool to analyse the business model. There are three types of canvas that I learned in design thinking module. The first canvas is a business model canvas by Osterwalder & Pingneur ( 2010 ), which it ai, to describes the rationale of how an organisation creates, delivers and captures value. It is a concept that allows to think through the business model of organisation. It divided into 9 blocks which each part relate to each other. The starting point is customer segments. Because the customer is the heart of every business. Business can’t survive without customers.
The second canvas is a lean business model canvas ( Maurya,2010 ) It was adapted from a business model canvas to make it more practical for a startup business. It guides the entrepreneur to the way of building a successful startup. Furthermore, business can prevent the way to get risk in the future. According to Maurya (2012), The most startups fail because they lack an understanding of the problem since the start. The problem box was obviously added to the canvas on a place of key partners. After defining the right problem, It needs to define a possible solution. Solution needs to provide only minimal viable product. So, it took the place of key activities. After stating the problem and solution, a value proposition is also the key point of the business model.
The value proposition canvas ( Osterwalder et,al. ,2014 ) is the place where product/service divide with customer’s desires. There is a relation between what you make and why people buy it. Moreover, It helps understand how those two things fit together. The canvas is divide into two sides, product and customer. The product’s side need to find their benefit and features. The additional segment is user experience. It is the feeling after experience the product. There is a reason for people to purchase the product. In the customer side, customer’s desires are separated between wants and needs. The customer’s needs are the reasonable things. In contrast, customer’s wants are the emotional lead decision that makes in the way you want to be. Sometimes you can recognise your needs. Fear is the last piece of the customer’s circle. Fear can strongly drive buying behaviour. Customer’s fear can be the reason why no one buys the product. All of the canvas are the tools to evaluate from business through the company’s product. Each canvas fit with a different stage of the startup. When I start my own business, I will start with the lean canvas to focus on problem and solution. As a customer’s problem is a job to be done for the business. Value proposition continuously focuses on the solution that the business provides and the hidden needs of the customer. After getting the heart of the business, then use a business model canvas to recheck the relation between each key factors. It is comfortable and useful equipment to craft a successful business.
After we spend almost seven months for building the brand “begin again”. Our mission is not to create more waste and to reduce it in create ways. This mission reflect to characteristic of the brand. It was represented in simple and clean. There is the strength of the brand that advantage to keep develop this business. Firstly, Material is second-hand clothes. This material make the cost low, easy to find and never terminate. Secondly, the artwork is unique and original. Artwork can generate many products such as bookmark, jigsaw, key chain, magnet, postcard and e-card. Thirdly, The concept of artwork that connects with the city, it create a sentiment between artwork and customers. Lastly, there is a huge market of people who love to collect artwork or buy artwork to decorate their house. So, this product has a target customer.
As one of the weaknesses of our young entrepreneur company, that’s obviously seen, was the number of members. It lead to a cause of losing some opportunity in business. We also lack of diversity in the team. “ Every weakness you have is an opportunity for God to show his strength in your life” (2corinthians 12:9) It is a chance to develop the weakness to become a strength. If our team have an expert in financial, I will not clearly understand how to fill in the balance sheet, generate a profit & lost, create a cash flow. If we have three members, I will not have a chance to present a half of presentation. My presentation skill couldn’t develop and lack of practice.
Marketing is also one of our weakness. After attended to many competition during this year. I learned that winning competition can be a potential way to build up a brand reputation and awareness for the creative business. The competition such as Bright idea competition and D&AD side hustle, are welcome for any business model that have their own passion. I will use this as one way to grow the future business. The essential thing that I learned from building a startup creative confidence (Kelly T, Kelly D,2014) It is the belief of your ability to create change in the world around. You have to believe that you can achieve the goal that you have established by your creative ability.
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Kelley, D; Kelley, T. (2014) Creative Confidence. London. HarperCollins Publishers. p. 2
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Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y. (2010) BusinessModel Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries,Game Changers, and Challengers. New Jersey:John Wiley & Sons.
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Thomson (2013) Value Proposition Canvas Template, peterjthomson.com.