What a whirlwind it’s been! I have to say that this course has been one of the most intriguing and engaging courses I have ever taken (seriously, I’m not trying to score points here). I would have to say that beyond the interesting classes which often consisted of playing with Lego, the most important parts were the occasional blog posts where we had to self reflect. Being introspective about myself and focusing on answering specific questions that were asked made me really think about who I am and what I want. After all not everyone can start a successful business. The biggest takeaway that I received was what I learned about myself which is that that I do have an entrepreneurial mindset; however I’m not going to be an entrepreneur. I believe in doing something you care about that gives you joy and is your passion. I believe in starting something from scratch and building it piece by piece (whether it is your business or your skills), and I believe that I can make a difference in some way, even if it is simply empathizing with someone else’s pain. I don’t however want to start a business because that’s not what I care about the most. I want to use my creative skills instead to make some kind of impact and make people feel more connected to each other.
I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I’m just writing what I feel. I have truly valued this experience and would like to thank M.J D’Elia for understanding what it’s like to be our age and how we learn best. Often the best way to learn is to actually to do something and get your hands a little dirty. This is my last semester and I will miss Guelph, but I don’t think I will realize how much until I am actually gone.
Good luck to all our future entrepreneurs- you are all brilliant, and I hope I read about you in the news some day! 😀
One memorable failure that I have experienced (which is relatively small in the grand scheme of things) is something that I discussed in my Self Understanding Activity at the beginning of the semester. Before I completed the goal of getting my Google Analytics certification during my co-op term at Softchoice Corporation, I failed the test the first time. The test required and 80% passing grade and cost $50.00 to take which was paid for by the company. So it’s safe to say that when I failed, I panicked. I had just wasted $50.00 from my boss’s own pocket (he gave me his credit card info to buy the test) after an entire month of studying. The next day he asked me how it went and I told him I hadn’t taken the test yet. He seemed very disappointed and said that I needed to “get on that”. I went home in a flush and after talking to my sister, the only sensible conclusion was to be honest with him and retake the test, this time paying for it myself. So the next day I braced myself and asked to speak to him. We sat in a conference room with my heart pounding, and told him that I had failed but was planning to redo the test and pay for it. What he said afterwards is a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my life. First of all, he wasn’t angry at all, but was wondering why I was so worried about telling him. Then he said something along the lines of “…shit happens, but no matter what, don’t be afraid of failure”. I retook the test and passed and was never prouder. This experience taught me a lot about persistence, and the idea that we all need to fail a little sometimes, to appreciate what we are capable of 🙂
The feedback that we received for our practice pitch was very helpful. Our assessment by QuickTrip pointed out some concerns that our group had discussed as well including the large amount of competition with other food-related apps. Their biggest concern for us to consider was the usability since this is solely a mobile app and they believed that consumers might prefer to use their laptops instead. Although this may be true, our group felt that instead of taking your laptop into the kitchen where you will be cooking anyway, they would much prefer taking their phones into the kitchen and would be in fact much more convenient for them. The main feedback we received was to clarify certain questions that consumers might have within the pitch itself which we will definitely take into consideration.
Our feedback from MoBo was very similar in terms of what they understood about the app and their clarity concerns. Their biggest critique was that the app would not survive if we tried to find recipes that use all the ingredients inputted to create one dish. This however was not our intention and was not clear enough in out pitch. The app is designed to optimize and will use the best combination of (potentially all) ingredients to find a recipe. They also did not understand our premium model and this is something we will further work to clarify.
Overall things we need to work in include our clarity in defining revenue streams and the functionality of the app.
This week, our group decided to stick with one of our primary business models- the Freemium model. This didn’t require a pivot as we all unanimously agreed that we should stick to a free app that people can download that has a limited version of what our product can offer. This app will indicate however, the various benefits that consumers would receive by purchasing the full app for 99 cents (such as the increased number of recipes available to paid users). We were able to find research indicating that the target market we are aiming for would most likely not pay for the app unless they realized the true value of it. This way, we can ensure that our product gets vast exposure through the millennial generation, and those who feel that our app benefits their lives will likely be willing to pay the 99 cents. Once they have paid for the app, they will be considered a premium user and will gain access to an unlimited amount of recipes as well as personalized features that can track each user and provide recommendations according to each person’s data entries and habits. We believe that by gaining customer awareness initially, followed by the conversion of various users who seek to benefit from our app, we can generate enough of a revenue stream to be profitable.
So far we have had to cover multiple areas of research in order to better understand our target market. The area that I am currently focusing on is market trends. For me I have found the Business Source Complete database to be the most useful. The main reason is because I have used this specific database multiple times over the years and I find it to be the most accessible and user-friendly. A lot of the links also lead straight to PDF which is very helpful. Another website that I have found to be very useful is Statistics Canada. This is not a research database provided by the University of Guelph, but the free information provided by Statistics Canada is truly valuable information. I have downloaded a variety of statistical reports and articles relating to several topics that are pertinent to our project such as the millennial generation, the increase in working mothers, technology and food trends. All of this information is important for us to know and will give us a broader understanding of the scope of our project.