Having a business idea can be so exciting that you want to launch immediately. However, it is extremely important that you don’t rush into launching an idea without first of all taking the time to compile market research. This is so you don’t waste your time, energy and money on an idea that may not work. Conducting the appropriate market research will ensure you are going to launch your business to its full potential and can make you aware of problems that may arise.
Some individuals will set up their business having completed very little market research, often asking friends and family for feedback on their idea prior to launch. On the other hand, you can find that some people will spend so much time researching their idea that they fail to ever launch. It’s important that you find the correct balance.
Often asking friends and family can lead to biased results. Therefore, by asking members of the public who are a sample of your target market you will be able to gain valuable and unbiased feedback that will result in organic answers. You could do this via forums, LinkedIn discussion groups that relate to your topic and www.surveymonkey.com. This will help you to further develop your product or service and also to better understand your market, potential customers and competitors.
Analysing your competitors is an important component of your market research. You should examine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with respect to their website, marketing, service and promotions. This will allow you to solidify your Unique Selling Point and ensure that your idea stands out from competitors in a positive light.
The Enterprise team give out funding awards each year in order to support students testing out business ideas, developing existing ones or £10,000 to develop a new prototype. Read on to hear from some of our winners from last year who were granted funding of £10,000. For more information of how you can receive these awards, see here.
TakeIn is an alternative takeaway app developed by Soham Trivedi and Geeta Patel, left). The app delivers home cooked food directly to the user’s home. They were inspired by the idea of sharing authentically cooked meals and intend to challenge the idea that takeaway food is unhealthy. In 5 years’ time, they hope to become the biggest food delivery provider in the UK, as well as completely redesigning the British takeaway marketplace.
How have you interacted with the Queen Mary Enterprise Programme?
We entered the Queen Mary Enterprise Programme when we applied for the Build It award. Having entered online, we were contacted to prepare a short presentation followed by questions from the panel. Following this we heard that we have been awarded the funding and could being testing out our business idea.
What was the most useful aspect of the support provided?
It is valuable to have input from an experienced individual in the Enterprise team through appointments and they have provided us with inspiration regarding how to progress with our idea and where to find various resources. For example, they have connected us with The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme who have a lot of home food businesses that will be able to make use of our app. There is lots of support available that would otherwise be unknown to us.
To launch Global Entrepreneurship Week, the enterprise department hosted 3DS this weekend. It began on Friday night and finished on Sunday evening with a pitching event to a panel of judges.
3DS is an American organisation which launched in 2010. Within this time, they have implemented their 60 hour enterprise boot camp across the globe in Universities such as Harvard, Brown and within the UK: Queen Mary University of London and University of Edinburgh.
The 3DS programme brings together students from different academic principles and participants gain experience in cross-disciplinary collaboration, brain storming and ideation, decision making and group productivity. They explore new ideas through intense hands-on education, pushing their abilities to the limits.
On the Friday evening, each of the 50 students came with a different business idea. In small groups, they pitched these ideas to one another and voted for the 2 they believed had the most potential. Of these 14 ideas that were pitched to everyone, they blind voted their favourite ideas and the top 7 ideas were then developed over the course of the weekend.
Through the delivery of different modules, as well as mentor support from industry specialists, the students learned to pitch, build and develop teams, conduct customer discovery and validate their market – they were really pushed to their boundaries!
Global Entrepreneur Week is a global celebration of the entrepreneur ecosystem, and during one week there will be workshops and support for every stage of the entrepreneur’s journey, as well of thousands of start-ups that are launched.
qEnterprise are participating in this week-long festival and have kicked off with a 3 day Start-up event which will be featured in tomorrow’s blog. Read on to hear about some upcoming events and activities …
Crowdfund Your Idea: Tuesday 15th November 1pm – 2pm
On Tuesday we will have a workshop called “Crowdfund Your Idea”, which will be delivered by Seedrs and will help you to develop a successful crowdfunding campaign. Until recently, raising funds for business focused on acquiring large amounts of money from very few people. Crowdfunding involves raising finance by asking large numbers of people to give you small amounts of money. If you need money and support to make your creative idea or business come to life, this interactive session will introduce the concept of crowdfunding and will outline how you should make a successful campaign.
Please register for the event here.
Maker’s Market: Wednesday 16th November 12pm – 2pm
On Wednesday we will host the Maker’s Market in The Blomeley Rooms from 12pm – 2pm. The Maker’s Market will see students, as well as people in the community, sell a variety of different products and promote their services. We have a diverse range of goods on offer including vintage clothing, jewellery and clay art, and we also have lots of food on offer such as Turkish street food, brownies and sweet tarts, so please do pop in.
We also have a number of student societies promoting what they do so come and see what’s going on. Please register for the event here.
3DS, 3 Day Start-Up, is an enterprise boot-camp that develops entrepreneurial ideas from concept to pitch over the course of 72 hours. Under the guidance of mentors and expert speakers, students get the chance to refine and test their own idea or work in a team on someone else’s. The weekend will culminate in a final public pitching event to a judging panel of industry executives.
We rent work space for 3 full days – Central Working 69-89 Mile End Road – and recruit 60 students from across London Universities with a wide range of backgrounds, and invite entrepreneurs and investors to give support. Free food and coffee will also be provided for the duration of the weekend to keep you going.
On the Friday evening, students will pick the best ideas for start-ups during the brainstorming session, and release a minimal prototype by the evening of day 3. The goal is to build enough momentum among a network of motivated people to sustain the company beyond day 3.
3DS is an American organisation who have delivered 100+ programmes in Universities such as Harvard, Yale and Brown, on 5 continents and have given rise to 56 companies receiving $19 million in funding. 33 companies from 3DS have been accepted to top accelerators such as Y Combinator, TechStars, and 500 Start-ups.
During freshers week QEnterprise held a coaster competition to encourage students to write entrepreneurial ideas down while drinking with friends.
We had a range of great ideas and selected the following four finalists:
- Johannes Roder, International Business & Politics, had an idea to set up a cocktail delivery service that would contain all of the ingredients you need to make them at home.
- Alamin Shahidul, Maths, had an idea to set up a website that could manage monthly subscriptions, such as Netflix, iCloud etc.
- Joel Phillips, Maths, had an idea to set up a detox smoothie stand that would be positioned outside of nightclubs, to help prevent a hangover the next day.
- Anand Bhudia, Maths, had an idea to develop an app that would help students to share or swap their chores to save time.
The Careers & Enterprise team voted for their favourite idea out of the final four, and the winner was announced at Thursday’s Social Enterprise launch and networking event, hosted by QMSU. We had 25-30 students attend and heard inspirational talks from two alumni and presentations from our enterprise team and the two enterprise societies.
The winner of the coaster competition was ……… Anand Bhudia, who took the first prize of a £50 voucher. Well done Anand!
We’re hoping that all of our competition entrants will develop their ideas by accessing enterprise support throughout the year.
For more details visit www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/enterprise
Are you interested in starting your own business, developing an existing idea or networking with other aspiring and established entrepreneurs?
Do you want to develop your employability skills?
The Enterprise team can help you achieve these goals whether you want to start a business or learn more about the process itself. If you have a creative idea or an existing business that you want to expand, we can provide you with the funding, mentoring and skills that you need to succeed.
We provide seed funding, an incubator programme, mentoring, enterprise boot camps, specialist workshops, free stalls at markets both on and off campus, pitching events and talks from local entrepreneurs. To sign up to any of our events visit https://careersandenterpriseevents.wordpress.com/
InQUBEate is Queen Mary’s 8 week start-up incubator programme, which has places for students to join in Semesters 1 and 2. During the programme you will have weekly meetings with mentors from a range of industries, receive training on a range of topics including marketing and legal issues, meet like-minded students to share your ideas with, and pitch for funding to a panel of judges.