An interview with a Uni of Westminster graduate: how did he make a business plan

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Since there is a traditional project for the students of Media Management in Uni of Westminster, all of us are told to make an elaborate, feasible, and creative business plan,and pitched it at the end of semester in front of some investors just like “Dragons’ Den”. I have to say, it really drives us crazy. So we contacted with Mr.Gaspar Oladosu who did that last year, let’s see what did our upperclassman  say about it.

P=Perfect Pitch     G=Gaspar Oladosu

P:What was your business plan? Could you give a brief introduction of your project (both the idea and the product or service)?

G:We named our business plan INGRIDI. It was a name we coined based on USP of the business. Ingridi was positioned to be a mobile app with a fully optimized website, which sought to capitalize on the success of food industry but unlike the typical food search app, it follows a revolutionary path by creating an ingredient-based menu database.

‘In a multicultural society, different groups expect different ingredients in a dish. Ingridi seeks to cater for this need. Searching by ingredients and considering the search history of the users makes it possible that it can offer entirely revolutionary and unique restaurant recommendations based on the dishes users want to eat.’ (Ingridi Business Plan 2014).

‘Ingridi is mainly designed for people who exhibit sensitivity with regard to what their meals contain: Hungry Surfers, Picky Eaters, Food Explorers, Specific Needs Dieters, inter alia. The number of sensitive eaters is on the increase because of health concerns. Ingridi also serves users who look for suggestions on their dining choices. It is poised to build up a community based on food and lifestyle information.’ (ibid).

The fundamental database of ingredients of dishes from restaurants is the key resource Ingridi acquires and holds on to, whereas the unique value Ingridi provides to its users is to provide results to them directly, quickly, and accurately –exactly what you want to eat in just a few steps!

P:How did you generate such an idea?

G:We arrived at the idea after a series of brain storming and research. (we followed the guidelines given in one of the modules…I think the one on Project Management) There were various ideas on the table, but after analyzing the merits of each based on the data we had gathered, we settled for Ingridi. With the entry of disruptive technologies onto the global scene, app developers have identified the food industry for prospective growth and as such have keyed into the rapport between food service and mobile commerce. It is against this backdrop that it became a wise decision to seek to capitalize on the success of this industry.

P:How was your preparation? What was the biggest problem or the most difficult thing in the process? What did you do to solve such problems? Or if it was not that difficult for you, could you please talk about how did your prepare the whole things?

G:In all honesty, this was the most tedious group work. It involved putting to use all the tools we had been equipped with during the course of the taught masters – from scenario planning to management report to the finance and media markets etcetra. I was lucky to have a group of team players dedicated and hardworking, but it still wasn’t a stroll in the park. After arriving at the concept or idea of our business plan, we drew up a project timeline and distributed functions amongst ourselves. Some handled the product structure, market strategy, technological framework , some researched into competitors, others handled finance and finding… etc. The biggest challenge in my own opinion, was making our business plan water tight by which I mean not subject to any loop hole or criticism, especially when we faced the dragons. It was tough but it was very rewarding. In terms of our risks and mitigations however, our major difficulty amongst others, was how we were going to change user experience in terms of the existing way of food searching.

P:What did you feel on the big presentation day?

G:The presentation day came with its usual anxieties, especially as we had to pitch before ‘strangers’ called the ‘Dragons’ being fully aware of their frightening resumes, as well as the fact that our grades were at stake. But because we had put in a good shift in terms of preparation and even had mock presentations earlier, we were able to handle the pressure. That in no way suggests it was an easy task, especially when we had to respond to the queries of the dragons. In all, it was very eventful.

P:Looking back the project and the process, what kind of help did it bring to you?

G:If I must say, the business plan project (as well as the Social Media Project which was my favourite) provides a platform to put into praxis the theoretical lessons gathered in all the modules. It presents a real world situation. The project has transformed me to ‘a jack of all trade’. You get to learn something about everything.

P:Is such help also very helpful and valuable for your current work?

G:My previous answer says it all. Project management, Team Work, Elevator Pitching, Brainstorming, Value chain evaluation…. these are all tools need on the job. The project equipped me with some of these.

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Look  how University of Westminster students pitch their business plans:

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