Have you ever thought of starting your own business? Entrepreneurship is popular these days and with all the facilities available through the Internet, starting a business has never been easier. I am doing a module on Technology Entrepreneurship at Aberystwyth University (Mauritius) and post about it weekly. Here is what I learned during the ninth week:
1. Lectures Summary
This week we watched the Panopto video of the Guess Lecture which occurred at the Main Campus. It was a presentation by Tony Orme who works as Career Adviser for the Careers Service Office of Aberystwyth University. His experience as enterprise manager for the University was also very helpful. Here is an overview of what was presented:
Having a business can mean different things for different people:
- Self-Employment: The business is the main source of income for the person.
- The business is just side income for the person.
- The person can run the business while being a student.
- Being our own boss.
- Opportunity to do what we love.
- Having to take whole responsibility.
- Having to analyse risk and take action.
The business can be setup in different ways:
- Sole Trader – The individual is the business.
- Limited Company – The business in separate from the individual.
- Partnership – More people working together on the business.
- Social Enterprises – Business working for social good and reinvesting the profit into the business.
Turning good ideas into a viable business
To turn our idea into a startup we were suggested to take the following steps:
- Analysing the market to know who are the customers, the users and their habits.
- Creating a Business Plan summarising past and future activities.
- Networking with others for advice, equipment and promotion.
- Assembling a dynamics team with members who complement each other.
- Setting goals and objectives for different points in time.
- Taking action as the planned.
The following skills will be required:
- Technical knowledge – Being good at providing the service/product.
- Market Research – Determining how to sell which product/service, where, when and for how much.
- Legal rights and obligations – Filing patents and registering to the corresponding authorities.
- Financial Analysis – Knowing how to predict and control money income and outcome.
Our Business Plan needs to answer each of following questions and more (5W1H):
- Who are we?
- What are our skills?
- What is the “Back Story”?
- What is the idea?
- Why did we come with this idea?
- What is the proposed business?
- What is product or service?
- What research have we done?
- Who are our potential customers?
- Who are our competitors?
- How will we reach the market?
- How will we make contact with customers?
- How will we advertise, promote it?
- What are our selling points (price, quality, availability)?
- Where and how will we sell it?
- At how much will we sell the it?
- How much will it cost us to run the business?
- When will money come in (from different customers)?
- What are our short/medium/long term plans?
A SWOT analysis identifies the following aspects about the business:
- Strength (e.g what we are bring, technical things we know, etc..)
- Weakness (e.g where we need help, potential problems, etc..)
- Opportunities (e.g how we can grow, good things that may happen, etc..)
- Threat (e.g how our market share can decrease, bad things that may happen, etc..)
A PESTLE analysis identifies the effects of the following sections on the business:
This will help us deal with changes in those sections.
By asking some questions to people we can get a big picture of our market and identify:
- Potential Customers
- Potential Suppliers
- Potential Competitors
- How to market the product
- How to sell the product
This will help create our:
- Marketing Matrix defining Product, Price, Place, Promotion.
- Marketing Mix to help us evaluate strategies.
Supporting a new Business
When starting up, a new business will need:
- Money (Capital)
- Information, Advice (Mentoring)
These can be obtained by taking loans and going to business skills workshops and other networking events. More support can be obtained from investors/venture capitalists, the university (InvEnterPrize) or other institutions (Big Ideas Wales, Princes Trust, Livewire etc).
2. Project achievements
This Friday we had a “major” group meeting on Friday but I could not make it. However I sent my contribution to the Whatsapp group chat and the following pictures:
The Group also sent me some highlights of the meeting:
3. Interesting additional things
This week I went to Infotech,a major Technology event in Mauritius, and asked questions to different companies. I was primarily looking for retailers and eCommerce companies which will help us on our group project and CS37420 assignment.
I also learned about:
- FirstSearch: a database of high-quality advice for building startups. I wished I came across this earlier as it provides really useful content.
OptionPlan: a tool which helps entrepreneurs calculate how much to award to each team member.
- Entrepreneurs On Fire: I started listening to this podcast where entrepreneurs tell their stories and what they learned on their journey.
Total Time Spent
- Lectures: 1 hour
- Group Activity: 3 hours
- Panopto videos: 1 hour
- Week Submission: 3 hours
- Additional Explorations: 6 hours
Total: 14 hours
Questions & Thoughts
I’m looking forward to get more information about the group meeting I missed. We really need to speed up as the deadline is approaching.