Young Enterprise is all about learning to run a business, and I saw an amazing amount of this when I judged the North Hampshire Young Enterprise on 27th March 2015. But what really surprised me were the lessons I took away from the evening, and stuff I’ll look to apply in my own digital marketing business.
When you run a business, you can often get caught up in the day-to-day running of it – talking to clients, chasing new business, managing staff,that sort of thing. So it’s very refreshing to take a step back, and watch other people trying to start and run a business. As young people, this is normally their first stab at starting up a profitable venture, and because of that, they are free of some of the preconceived notions many adults have about what a business looks like.
Anyway, here’s what I learnt as a Young Enterprise 2015 judge:
Never Walk By a Skip Again
Team Conspiracy from Farnborough 6th Form College found the inspiration for their idea from the school skip. Student artwork was being thrown away, so they decided to hook it out of the skip, and sell it, with a commission paid to the artist if sold.
This takes recycling to a new level, but also meant their costs were really minimal and profit margins were massive. So the next time you see a skip, take a look inside – you never know !
In my mind, the winners last night came top for a simple reason; they found their niche market, then built a product which would appeal to that market. Team Inspire from Farnborough Hill School targetted the student market, then created a student cookbook. In the process, they also identified that only students would buy the cookbook, but their parents too.
It’s a simple idea, but very difficult to execute. When asked, many businesses say their ideal customer is “everyone” which just doesn’t work. Inspire showed me again why targeting your market is so effective.
Put a Twist on It
The London Authentic team from Salesian College reminded me of one fact; there aren’t many new ideas out there. Most new concepts are twists on something else, and their brand did this really well.
They took the infamous Keep Calm imagery which is so well known, and reworked and repackaged it. And to great effect I felt – it seemed to resonate really well with the products they were branding and the local people they wanted to sell to.
So those were the ideas that got my juices flowing as a businessman, but I do know the other judges also got excited by some of the other ideas from teams. Good luck in the Hampshire Finals to the 3 finalists – I wish you every success !