Complete these easy challenges to keep your Entrepreneurial ambitions ticking over summer. Let us know how you get on by using #EnterprisingSummer!
Exams are over, coursework is submitted and your room’s all packed up and ready to go: Hello Summer 2018! From us here at Enterprise, a massive congratulations to everyone for getting through another year of University, and a special hats off to the inspiring Entrepreneurial students that we’ve worked with since September.
Juggling your business ambitions with a degree is no easy feat, so it might be your prerogative to kick back and relax over the Summer months. But there’s still plenty you can do between now and Freshers Week that’ll keep the Enterprising ball rolling. Learn, research, practice; you’ll be amazed what you can do in the pockets of spare time you have. So if you’re still unsure about how to have an Enterprising Summer, we’re setting Cardiff University’s aspiring Entrepreneurs seven simple challenges to keep your business ideas growing.
Start an Entrepreneurial Blog
Start talking about your business ideas as soon as possible. Blogging is an easy way to catalogue how far you’ve come and keep important information filed online. This is great practice for copywriting and finding a tone of voice to take forward into future branding discussions. You might even earn an audience that becomes your market, or even your crowdfunding.
Blogging will get you thinking about what words truly define your mission; you’ll be using the same words when talking to influential people, all the while giving your start-up a history for the people to explore. Try WordPress for an easy format.
Become a Curious Explorer
Kick-start your Entrepreneurial progress by building a business model canvas. Working through the Curious Explorer stage on Simply Do Ideas will map out your idea into manageable chunks by asking important initial questions about your business. Completing this stage is also what Enterprise requires of anyone coming in for a Business Advice Meeting. You don’t need to complete any other stages, but the Curious Explorer information is essential to making the most of our time together.
Build your client profile
Now you’ve fleshed out your business on Simply Do Ideas, you need to understand your customers. Who are they? What do they look like? What are their interests and needs? Know this, and you know your customer’s characteristics, behaviours and traits, meaning you can find them and communicate with them more effectively.
In our Client Profiling workshop, you’d be using old magazines to build an image of your audience. At home, it’s easier to do this on Pinterest, where you can catalogue images together that fit a certain theme: your customer. Build a board that illustrates the answer to the following questions and you’ll build an image of who it is that wants what you have:
– What is your Customer’s Demographic? (Location, Age, Gender, Marital Status, Monthly Income, Education, Family Size)
– What are their Pains, Sufferings, Worries, Fears and Anxieties?
– What are their Pleasures, Desires, Wants Needs, Aspirations?
– What are their Interests and Passions?
Get an Online Certificate
Keep your spare time productive and complete a free online course. Not only will you learn how overcome some challenges that your start-up will face, but a lot of certificates are industry recognised and are worth more than a blank price tag might suggest.
We recommend starting with the Google Digital Garage. It’ll equip you with genuine digital skills and will show potential investors that you’re motivated to learn. Social media, marketing, using analytics, using video; all the lessons are there. And Ladies, if you have a bit more time on your hands, check out 1 Million Women to Tech’s Summer of Code project, which is focusing on bringing more women into software development. This would be a great introduction to coding and building websites and apps, should your start-up need it.
Pitch your Idea
There’s three ways to get good at pitching: practice, practice and practice. You should have a strong idea of what your idea is by now, including knowing your market, your strategy and how you’re going to solve the BIG problem. It’s time to put yourself up there and tell people about it.
Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to sign up for Dragon’s Den. Get some family and friends on the sofa, give yourself a time limit and show them what you’ve got. Make sure it’s people you trust so you can get honest feedback. Do they understand what it is? Is your pitch easy to follow? How prepared are you for questions? They might not know enough to grill you on your business plan, but ask for constructive feedback on your delivery, then do it again.
Work for a Start-Up
This is an important one if you want to know what you’re really getting into. Reach out to Start-Ups in your area and ask if they’re looking for additional support. It’ll likely be a bit of admin, social media and copywriting, so get accustomed to the environment and find out what a day in the life of an Entrepreneur looks like.
Most importantly, work-experience with a start-up is your opportunity to ask A LOT of questions. Get as much information as possible about what’s working and what isn’t and you’ll find inspiration for your own strategies and problem solving. A word of warning, though: don’t assume you’ll be paid for your time, but cover for your travel expenses isn’t too much to ask.
Enter an Entrepreneurial Competition
Our last challenge should use all of the skills you’ve complied over the summer. There’s a lot of competitions out there looking for new ideas, and a vast range of entry criteria. Do your research and see what problems you think you can solve with a new or existing business idea. If you need convincing, read our blog post on what our SPARK Competition applicants learned from pitching their ideas.
The best place to start is Virgin LifeStart, who offer cash prizes and internships for winning video pitches. They add new challenges every few months and no challenge is the same, so you’ve got total creative freedom with your submissions. And make sure you’re following Enterprise on Facebook and Twitter, as we’ll be sharing any new competitions with our followers.
If you’re tackling any of these challenges, we’d love to hear how you’re doing! Share your progress on social media with #EnterprisingSummer and if you need any advice, let us know at Enterprise@cardiff.ac.uk
Inspired? Get involved with Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up!
Do you have entrepreneurial inspirations and aspirations? Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up could help you realise your full potential in business and entrepreneurship. It’s all about thinking creatively, spotting opportunities, making things happen and developing skills for life. It’s not just about business; it’s about helping you to make the most of yourself.
We run workshops, competitions and sessions to help you develop skills and knowledge. Find out about all our courses and sessions on the intranet, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, with #ideastolife, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Caspar Jayasekera, Enterprise Marketing Intern.
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