A module that challenges and encourages creativity in various ways. Starting with designing a simple hypothetical shoe to resolve an existing problem, to coming up with a realistic design for glasses case.
Throughout this entire experience one important thing we had to consider was being empathetic that was the key to successful design. In a general sense, empathy is our ability to see the world through other people’s eyes, to see what they see, feel and experience things as they do.
A small exercise on empathetic design, was the Shoe design project. We were asked to form groups and go out to talk to people about their shoes, in particular, what kind of problems they faced with their shoes, what were their favorite pair of shoes and why they prefer it. A set of simple questions designed to help us come up with an uplifted shoe design to resolve some of the issues we came across. However, despite the simplicity of our questions we found that people were usually having a hard time giving precise answers as to why they prefer one pair of shoes over the other, or even define a problem they have with their shoes.
There was an important lesson here, which became a main learning outcome from the project. It is the fact that, in many cases, people are unaware of what they want exactly and do not recognize a useful product when they see it or hear about it unless they have the chance to try it out and see it’s clear benefits, which leads us to the importance of ‘lean startups’ and the benefits of releasing an Early MVP to test the consumer’s appetite to your business idea.
When it comes to an MVP it is all about speed, the faster we release your MVP the more we’ll be able to collect simultaneous feedback, recognizing problems with our design and our iterative process will be more fluid. All of this leads to increasing our chances of success. It is also important to understand that we must be flexible while running a lean business, and a key factor is knowing when we need to pivot and change our path when we are required to do so.
Over 50% of companies fail after 5 years, and over 70% fail within 10 years time. As an aspiring entrepreneur. The statistics are frightening I think we can all agree on that. However, there are many things you can do to help us prepare for the transformation of our idea into a business that is run in a stable manner and has potential to up-scale.
We started building our business by defining a problem for Boxie the glasses case the journey began with glasses users, 4 out of 5 members in our group wear glasses or lenses on a regular basis and one of the key issues we faced was that we couldn’t find a case that can hold all of our eye wear equipment in one place: the glasses; the contact lenses; the glasses case; the glasses cleaning cloth; the liquid and a mirror.
people tend to get quiet forgetful when everything is scattered all over the place and that causes tension and stress. another issue was that most people had to carry two different glasses cases with them at times one for their sun glasses the other for their reading glasses which is quiet inconvenient consumes space and time. So, we asked ourselves How can we make people’s lives easier with our product? what can we do to resolve this problem?
After defining the problem we started coming up with alternative solutions until we reached one. A trendy glasses case that can provide extra space without being bulky and without consuming space in your bag when the case is empty.
Business Model and Value proposition
After coming up with a solution, we can start building our business model by identifying the key basic factors that will help us recognize the odds of survival of our business, and they include (Value propositions, customer segment, channels, cost structure, key activities and resources and partnerships, and most importantly the revenue streams) together these elements work coherently to help us define our business.
For our Dragon’s Den submission “Boxie” The business model “gives you the structure of a business plan without the overhead and the improvisation of a ‘back of the napkin’ sketch without the fuzziness” and the Value proposition “Your value proposition should focus on the superpowers, not the product. Rarely is your value proposition the product itself or its features.” canvas were crafted as follows:
Making of Boxie
Creating an MVP for our idea was the easy part, we started out with cardboard and tape and started demonstrating our MVP in class outside of class and to everyone we meet.
The feedback was unbelievably useful, we can see the product is receiving a-lot of attention people were asking questions and giving advices on how we can improve the product and we were quick to comply, iterate and implement every possible upgrade we can do with the resources and time we had on our hands.
We were so excited to take Boxie to the manufacturing stage, but unfortunately we faced a lot of problems in that stage, one of which was the Chinese new year, which left the Chinese manufacturing market closed for 3 consecutive weeks. We only had one and a half month to finish our product and that was not going to work.
After reconsidering our options we tried to reach out to the Turkish market and find manufacturers there. Finding a manufacturer in Turkey was another issue that involved lack of communication due to the language barrier and intellectual property rights.
After weeks of searching for the right manufacturer, we finally found one, But, there was only one problem, he refused to sign a confidentiality agreement (NDA), an NDA is part of protecting our IP rights. IP rights “are Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce”.
For more on IP rights visit my post at this link: https://maiscreativedesign.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/165
This had put us in a tough position and we were forced to make either one of two decision: Take a chance and continue with manufacturing at risk of being robbed of our rights or step back and make the product by hand until we can find an alternative solution.
with so little time on our hands, and the risks being too high, we decided to make Boxie by hand, and the results were beautiful vintage cases that target a specific market which is: The Vintage market.
During this entire process of back and forth decisions and multiple discussions, we were also working on the strategy of Boxie; How we intend to introduce the product into the market.
For the marketing campaign of Boxie we will be working on many levels one of which is relation ship marketing. It is very important to us to build strong relationships with our customers and keep them happy, costumers who love a brand tend to spend more money on it. This will be done through personalizing and customizing Boxie according to the preferences of the users. We will also make sure to collect feedback and implement whatever possible suggestions we receive from the costumers to make them feel like they were part of building it.
We will also market Boxie through social media channels such as instagram, twitter and facebook. which is already in process and pages have been established for this purpose and are already gathering response. This is a low cost approach to marketing our product as we already have the skills within our team to carry on such a process.
What to consider when building a strategy:
- Who is our client?
2. How we are going to make my client happy in a unique way?
3. Make sure to update our strategy.
Our primary Focus is the UK market, specifically London. We decided to start selling Boxie as a B2C product in order to test the consumer appetite, this will be done through various channels such as Amazon, E-bay, and Etsy.
Making the decision to produce Boxie by hand will protect our IP rights and help us test the market at a lower cost. We will be able to collect feed back on what kind of pricing and features to add to the manufacturing stage of Boxie. Of course, this decision is quick to burn out as we would not be able to meet the demand of the market based on hand-made product. so once the demand exceeds our hand-making potential we will quickly move Boxie to its manufacturing stage.
Long term strategy
As for the long term strategy, once we reach the manufacturing stage we will be able to upgrade the features that Boxie holds one of which will be adding a mirror which is a key component of our product.
We also want to evolve and modify Boxie iteratively with time this can involve adjustments made to the materials, design or any additional features that can be useful to the costumer but still serves the purpose of the company.
The more developed Boxie becomes, the more funding it will need to reach it’s full potential, we intend to meet this funding by raising finances through crowdfunding or through an angel investor. One of the platforms we intend to use for our crowdfunding campaign is Kickstarter or Indi-egogo.
A crowdfunding approach is appropriate for us at this stage as acquiring a bank loan is quiet difficult for us, it is also a good way to avoid giving away any equity at this early stage of the product. If the crowdfunding campaign is a success, then we can also conclude that the demand on our product is quiet high which will prove the viability of our solution and strengthen our position in the market.
Our second option: an angel investor is also an appropriate solution to gather funds. We are quiet confident that we can get an angel investor as we have already received interest from a few people who want to be a part of Boxie’s Journey.
Perhaps one of the most important parts to a successful business is the team that is working behind the idea. Our team does not fall short from skills and abilities so we hope to attract the right investors into our business by demonstrating a strong skill set and a motivated spirit.
After acquiring the right funding and finding the right investors, we will begin our manufacturing stage. our long term vision for Boxie is to start selling as B2B product. we consider approaching Opticians, travel product stores and supermarket.
Expanding our horizons
Our target market begins in the UK, due to our current geographic location. Acquiring a patent in the UK
However, we intend to take boxie globally within the next 3-5 years, this includes countries such as the U.S, Canada and Australia. In order to be able to do that we need to consistently register a design right for Boxie in every country we get into to avoid having our product replicated and to protect our business.
We decided to up-scale our business through introducing a series of foldable multifunctional products such as pencil cases, travel bags, and bags for swimwear. despite the majority of our target costumer being aged 14+ we also consider creating a kids version of Boxie which they can customize themselves by drawing or writing on it.
These are a few of the factors that need to be considered while starting up a business, and a general overview of what needs to be done. However, there is one key factor that can cause a successful business plan to fail if not considered correctly, and that is the FINANCE of a business. It is nearly impossible to find a successful business that does not run its finances correctly.
Running a startup has definitely taught me to see things from multiple perspectives at the same time, all these elements need to work together coherently to insure a safe environment to grow a business.
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