This youtube link is my task two
You must produce an individual report but if you were in a team the report should concern the team venture idea from Task 2.
Due to the large cohort, feedback will be outside the normal 15 working days; usually 30 working days.
Whatever the outcome of money raised in Task 2 each student will be given an imaginary £3000 to fund their conceptual customer engagement test for Task 3.
Whilst this module is designed to encourage you to take action and learn from it, the final task, due to time constraints, is a conceptual task, based upon learning from the previous action-based tasks.
Task 3 (60%) is the opportunity to reflect upon what you already have discovered but also to notice what information is still missing- what will help you develop more confidence to launch?
Task 3 should therefore explain what is already known and what you will now do to attract first customers using the imaginary £3000.
Technological advancement has created several opportunities in the world’s economy, including forming the basis for my current startup idea. To this end, the concept has evolved from the conceptualization and research phase to the startup stage. The report below analyzes the current state of the business idea and ways in which I will attract the first consumers and those that are reluctant to utilize the site. Based on the existing literature, it is suggested that the startup shall rely on a word to mouth advertisement, headline writing and subscription offers to attract and facilitate an increase of traffic to the website.
Technological advancement has created several opportunities in the world’s economy, including forming the basis for my current startup idea. Notably, the concept involves the creation of an education-based website where students can get notes within a click of a button in exchange for a fee. The site will offer the value proposition of accessibility by providing students who have limited time to make notes quick access to resources uploaded by others. In return, those who compile the revision materials will get to earn from their work. Over time, the idea has been articulated to others, and few changes identified to refine the value proposition and make the idea feasible to launch among students. While I feel confident about the viability of the concept, there are concerns about customer reluctance to the product, which I plan to address by conducting a customer engagement test, word of mouth advertisement, headline writing and subscription offers to help increase traffic to the website after launch.
Like any other business idea, the ESSAY A website has undergone a few business cycles, such as concept and research, to the current stage of a startup. As the literature suggests, the process of new venture creation begins with ideation, opportunity, and recognition (Salamzadeh and Kirby 14). A similar approach has been undertaken with ESSAY A whereby an opportunity was identified from the existing problem among Thai students at the University of Reading. Notably, following research, it was determined that a significant number of students might not have adequate learning resources or the time to prepare their notes. From this problem, an idea was conceptualized to offer students at different education levels quick access to reading materials at an affordable price. Also, advice and opinion were garnered at the bootstrapping stage of the business idea (Petch). Notably, it is at this stage that information and opinion were sought from peers regarding the potential and feasibility of the concept. After the feedback, the idea moved to the commitment stage of the business lifecycle.
Currently, the business idea is at the startup stage of the business lifecycle. Scholars consider this stage as a phase of shaping the entrepreneurial intention (Salamzadeh and Kirby 14). Notably, it is at this stage that I plan to enhance the business model and value proposition to help attract customers. Also, scholars aver that the seed stage is characterized by the initial capital that is used to produce products and services (Salamzadeh and Kesim 6). Similarly, the idea is at the juncture of securing funds through crowdfunding to finance essential activities before the launch of the website. After shaping the idea, the concept may proceed to the creation stage, where it will become operational.
To this end, there are aspects of the seed stage that I feel confident about, and which have promising outcomes for the website. Notably, I feel very optimistic about the new version of the site, which involves selling stories by novel writers. Unlike the initial idea, this new version creates an opportunity for students to upload and sell their stories to interested parties. The main idea of the latest version is to use captivating headlines to entice readers to pay to continue reading. However, the value proposition of accessibility may not be captured in the new version, as limited materials will be accessible to customers for every payment made. The main idea is to ensure that students have access to multiple resources at a standard subscription fee; thus, the new version may not adequately fulfill the existing value proposition.
Creating Changes to the Value Proposition
Following the information received from peers, a few changes have been made to the value proposition to ensure that the website provides adequate solutions to the customers. First, a second value proposition will be made to the site, whereby the customers will have access to quality revision materials. From the feedback garnered, it is established that customers may need assurance of the quality of the revision materials before they pay. Therefore, it will be essential for pioneers of the website, together with the help of professors and other experts in various subjects, to look through the materials to ensure quality before uploading them to the site. Also, headline writing will be included in the stories uploaded on the website to help the customers review the quality of the work before purchasing the materials. The established practice will provide added gains to customers as they shall receive value for their cash by having access to high-quality resources.
Furthermore, the recent feedback has also reshaped my thinking of the optimum customer and how to fulfill their needs. Notably, the optimum customer for the website is the pool of students who will facilitate the maximum generation of revenue for the business idea. As such, the optimum customer will comprise students taking A-level and GCSE exams, who fall within the age bracket of 17-18 years and 15-16 years, respectively (Morrison). It is worth noting that A-level and GCSE resources are almost similar worldwide; thus, this segment of learning will attract the highest number of users and generate the optimum revenue for the website.
In addition to the peers approving the viability of the business idea, it will be essential to conduct a customer engagement test to assess the chances of the website working. The customer engagement test will involve a quick online survey regarding the website. First, it will be essential to analyze the target crowd. In this test, the pioneers of the business idea will review the site to determine whether it targets the people with whom we plan to work with, such as students undertaking their A-grade and GCSE exams. Second, a content test will also be conducted on the website to assess customer engagement. Notably, resources that are getting the most clicks, and best reviews from customers will be reviewed. Third, a time of year test will also be done to assess customer engagement. While it is expected that students will visit the website frequently to access reading materials, it is vital to evaluate the time of the year when the resources receive optimal engagement from the customers.
While each of the highlighted tests will have unique importance, they will jointly determine the future success of the startup. As the literature suggests, there are significant differences in the evaluation of customer satisfaction from the companies’ and customers’ perspective, and the variations are reflected in the performance of ventures (Suchanek and Kralova 1330). A similar theory will be employed in the customer engagement test. Notably, as the conceptualizer of the website, it is possible to overestimate the effectiveness and performance of ESSAY A. However, conducting the customer engagement test will help gather data from the customers’ perspective. Information collected will help determine what resources are highly demanded and the period of the year when they are highly viewed, to determine when and what to upload on the website. The success of the test will be indicated by its effectiveness in measuring intended elements at the end of the online survey.
I hypothesize that the website will be visited by two types of customers, registered users, and unexpected visitors. The registered users comprise of students who will readily accept the service and develop loyalty and satisfaction with the website. On the other hand, unexpected visitors will mainly consist of students directed to the site through ads or after an SEO on Yahoo or Google (Marsigalia et al 5). Besides, some students may be directed to the site but develop a reluctance to use the resources. For this reason, different strategies will be used to attract each of these categories of customers.
Among the strategies that will be utilized to attract the first customers will include subscription offers. After the launch of the website, it will be essential to provide subscription offers such as discounted subscription for the first ten users to access materials on the site. Such an approach has been used to attract customers buying books online; thus, it may as well be replicated in the venture to entice students to purchase reading materials.
Furthermore, word of mouth advertising will be used as a complementary strategy to attract the first customers and demonstrate the value proposition of the website. As the literature suggests, word of mouth is likely to influence consumer behavior due to the high credibility and reliability transmitted by friends (Huete-Alcocer 3). Therefore, as students share their experience on social media sites, their stories will likely attract new customers to the website, as they seek to experience the value enjoyed by others.
In addition to word of mouth advertising and subscription offers, headline writing will also be used to attract customers and entice them to purchase the resources on the website. As literature shows, this strategy will most likely work among unexpected visitors, whereby an incredible story is utilized to attract the latter to products sold online (Marsigalia et al 6). Customers who develop an interest in the reviews will then proceed to make payments to have full access to the resources.
The £3000 raised during the crowdfunding will be used to finance all activities required to make the website operational. Notably, a significant fraction of the money will be spent on creating the site. Furthermore, part of the money will be spent on human resources, particularly experts who will assist with evaluating the quality of notes submitted by students, monitoring traffic on the website, and assessing the reviews by customers. A portion of the money raised will also be spent on conducting the online survey that is expected to test customer engagement and the success of the website. Apart from financing the website, it will be essential to manage my living costs. The amount required to fund personal expenditure will be obtained from the 15% commission received for each subscription. Below is a financial breakdown of the activities in the startup lifecycle and the corresponding costs.
|Customer engagement test
|Creation of website
Huete-Alcocer, Nuria. “A Literature Review of Word of Mouth and Electronic Word of Mouth: Implications for Consumer Behavior.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 8, no. 1256, 2017, pp.1-4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01256
Marsigalia, Bruno, et al. “Web Related Companies’ Strategies for Attracting New Customers.” African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, vol. 3, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-10.
Morrison, Nick. “We Need to Scrap Summer Exams as School Shutdown Looms Closer.” Forbes, 18 Mar. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2020/03/18/we-need-to-scrap-summer-exams-as-school-shutdown-looms-closer/#5664e732139b. Accessed 27 April 2020.
Petch, Neil. “The Five Stages of Your Business Lifecycle: Which Phase are You in?” Entrepreneur, 29 Feb. 2016, www.entrepreneur.com/article/271290. Accessed 27 April 2020.
Salamzadeh, Aidin, and Kesim, Hiroko. “Startup Companies: Life Cycle and Challenges.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2015, www.researchgate.net/publication/315308370_Startup_Companies_Life_Cycle_and_Challenges. Accessed 27 April 2020.
Salamzadeh, Aidin, and Kirby, David. “New Venture Creation: How Start-ups Grow?” AD-Minister, vol. 30, 2017, pp. 9-29. https://.doi.10.17230/ad-minister.30.1
Suchanek, Petr, and Kralova, Maria. “Customer Satisfaction and Different Evaluation of it by Companies.” Economic Research, vol. 31, no. 1, 2018, pp.1330-1350. https://doi.org/10.1080/1331677X.2018.1484786