One of the reasons why I chose to study an MSc Strategic Marketing at Imperial was practicality of the programme. I was therefore looking forward to the Summer Term because it was all about applying what we had learnt over the year. The Entrepreneurial Strategy module and Consulting Project were designed to have limited lecture hours and more time working in teams to come up with an original business idea and to solve a problem for a business in London.
The Entrepreneurial Strategy module was easily one of my favourite modules. Although we had lectures and workshops for guidance, the 2-month long module was mostly self-guided. The task was to, in teams of six, come up with an original and viable business idea with the deliverables being a final pitch and a business plan.
My team spent many long hours brainstorming business ideas. Based on our experience and interests, we volunteered a variety of ideas ranging from a pug café to an app that helps you find a buddy with whom to attend gym classes.
The results of one of our brainstorming sessions
In order to assess the viability of these ideas, we conducted market research by visiting a dog restaurant and also interviewing avid gym goers. Unfortunately these ideas did not pass the stress test of being pitched to our module's coach, therefore we had to go back to the drawing board to do some more brainstorming.
After many hours throwing out business ideas, a team member came up with an idea that is tailor-made for busy Master's students like ourselves, and also for busy professionals. An app through which you can complete errands - everything from having medicine picked up when you’re down with the flu to having your dry cleaning picked up when you have a busy day full of meetings. Our app is called Inst’aid, because it provides instant aid to busy students and professionals in London's Zones 1 and 2.
To bring Inst’aid to life, we created a strong brand identity which included a logo as well and app and website mock ups.
Inst'aid logo and app and website mock ups
In addition, we conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews with students and professionals to gauge interest in our solution. We also spoke with software engineers to assess how feasible it would be to develop some of the app's features, such as surge pricing.
Buoyed by the positive feedback we received, we decided to actually test Inst'aid. We created a WhatsApp group with a few friends who live in Zone 1 and 2 and encouraged them to reach out if they would like to have an errand completed for free. Through this WhatsApp group we completed two errands - one dry cleaning pick up and one house key drop-off.
Testing out Inst'aid by picking up dry cleaning for a 'client'
These experiments helped us refine not only our pricing model but also our time estimates for completing tasks. All this input was especially valuable in our final deliverables. This was a 10-minute pitch to our coach and an external judge (an angel investor) and in our business plan.
This module was a great way to implement everything we have learnt in modules such as Brand Strategy, Consumer Behaviour, Finance and Pricing Strategy, and Strategic Product Management.
I thoroughly enjoyed testing ideas, talking to potential clients, and, as an avid Dragon's Den fan - pitching our business idea. A huge thanks to my team for such a great two months!