Hi everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic morning, afternoon, or evening from wherever you are reading this blog! My name is Rizwan Tahmeed, a Grade 12 student at Woburn Collegiate Institute. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate Leadership Academy Lecturer Valerie Chiykowski’s presentation on Creative Destruction Labs and some of the cool materials that startup founders came up with.
Before getting into the highlights, it was an honor to attend Valerie’s lecture. The session was more informational and included a component where we had to formulate a one-minute pitch of a specific material. This lecture focused on her journey at Creative Destruction Labs, the application process, and what the organization is all about. As part of this blog, we were tasked with writing a business plan for a material I picked. I have chosen the flexible wire material and decided to create a business plan using the lean model.
In order to become a successful business, I would plan to partner up with several companies, especially those located in the service and utility industry. Many of our services, especially ones that require electrical energy, are linear and straightforward, reducing the transmission and speed, which can lead to outrages. Companies like Bell, Rogers, Toronto Hydro, and electrical grids such as the eastern bank that powers an enormous number of electronics in the eastern side of Canada and the USA, can use this flexible wiring to their advantage. The wire will reduce outrages, provide better infrastructure and reliability, faster transmission rates, and increased distance and length in connections. In terms of manufacturing, my business will handle the portion and creation of the wiring. In terms of suppliers, my business will work with ones that are reliable, trustworthy, ethical, keep our promises with who we sell to, and deliver high-quality products.
In order to stand out in the market and utilize our competitive advantage to the fullest, I plan to conduct several activities. The first one is offering trial periods to our sellers and allowing them to test our product in a certain location for a certain amount of time before deciding to buy it or sign a contract with us. Through this, buyers have the option and opportunity to try out a product and are guaranteed that they won’t be charged during the trial period. The second one is to charge and calculate costs according to the geographical and economic conditions of where the buyer is based from. In other words, big companies may be charged more than smaller businesses due to how much revenue they bring and the economic conditions of their target market. Through this, the price of the product is reflective of the situation and automatically adjusted to how the economy is doing in that particular location. The third one is creating alliances with other companies that experience outrages and offer them a product that can reduce that issue, eventually eliminating it. The fourth one is hosting competitions with startup companies and allowing them the chance to use our products in their product or innovate with our product to create a whole new product.
To become successful in our target industry, there are several resources we plan to use. The first one is intellectual property and capital. In other words, we will strive to hire employees from diverse backgrounds and different cultures who have different experiences and opinions. The second one is creating an engaging and collaborative environment where the organization mainly uses a boundaryless structure, allowing us to take advantage of the knowledge and skills of the employees. The third one is participating in small business events where we can gain exposure and allow people to trial our product. The fourth and final one is joining organizations that raise awareness of key issues in technology and obtain membership in associations where other small businesses join to receive benefits and network with each other.
Each product and company has its own unique value. Our product's value proposition is that it is extremely flexible and can be used in numerous applications, not only in utilities. In addition, our option of customization helps buyers build the right product or cable to meet their specific needs and specialized demands. Furthermore, the cable is created with a jacket that is flame resistant and resistant to various chemicals. The cable is also made up of material that allows it to be flame resistant to increasing temperatures, especially products where temperature rises as the product is used or powered on.
In terms of customer relationships, the business will interact with its customers and buyers using technology, software, and in-person services. We will use an automated voice calling software that helps customers and buyers direct them to the right person to talk to. From that moment, an actual employee of the customer service team will speak to the customer or buyer and help their issue. If it is a problem that requires further action or something that customer service cannot solve, the call will be forward to management to handle. We will utilize software by creating a centralized site where buyers can sign in to order products, call for repair services, send back products if there is an issue, and schedule meetings for new alliances, contract renewal, or solving major issues. The in-person aspect of interaction will mainly be for suppliers and customers who may wish to solve their problem in person instead of talking over the phone or have been asked to come into the store to solve their issue with the product.
The business’s target market is primarily utility and telecom companies. The business focuses more on those companies, but also offers the product to customers directly if they wish to buy the product. Of course, the product won’t be for everybody. This is where the option of the trial period comes in. Buyers have the chance to trial the product before deciding to craft a contract with us or avoid using the product. The business will also collect feedback during the middle and end of the trial period, which the business will use to improve the product.
The business will utilize several channels to communicate and talk to the customers. The first one is a website on the Internet where customers or buyers can interact with others to communicate problems, contact us directly, order products, and many more. The second channel is the store itself, which offers the same services as the online portal. However, it is mostly for customers and operates during specific days of the week. The third channel is setting up booths where customers can sample the product and try it out before visiting the store. The final channel is performing check-ins with the customers, analyzing the product every month at the user, customer, or buyer's workplace or home, and collecting feedback.
In terms of the cost structure and the areas where the business will be spending the most money, there are a few since the business will strive to maximize the value of the product. Some examples of areas where most of the money will go are research and development, manufacturing, paying suppliers, consulting service, and paying. The other areas where there is less emphasis on money are administrative expenses, finance expenses, operating costs, legal costs, travel expenses, and involvement in events where the business can gain exposure.
The business plans to use several methods to generate revenue. The first avenue is contracts, where the business accepts monthly payments over the timeline stated in the contract. The second avenue is investing in other startup companies for a certain percentage of the revenue. The third avenue is a membership service the business offers to customers and buyers. The customer chooses how long they would like to be subscribed for and pay monthly until the number of months they have subscribed for has expired. The final avenue is licensing costs for giving the product to third parties and renting and leasing costs for companies that want to rent or lease the product instead of signing a fixed contract with the business.
Thank you for reading the business plan. Even though this is not as detailed as a traditional business plan and uses the lean model, it highlights the primary or key characteristics in a traditional business plan that companies or corporations use, not startups. In closing, I can conclude that Valerie’s presentation helped me learn about her journey, Creative Destruction Labs, and discover how certain materials I have never heard of have been used. Valerie’s lecture was informative, unique, and one that helped me explore more about being a startup founder.