With D-sider creator: helping hands for designers in the future

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Are you designing a product of your own? Have you been racking your brains for an original idea? Are you longing for a professional community that can offer you suggestions and guidance? The business plan we are about to discuss might be an idea that meets these requirements.

Today we have Kai Duan with us. He graduated from International Media Business of University of Westminster and is a co-author of this business plan. Now let Perfect Pitch ask questions on your behalf. All you wanna know is right here.

P=Perfect Pitch     K=Kai Duan

P: Would you tell me something about your business plan?

K: Our project is called “D-sider”. It’s an online community for burgeoning designers who want to share their ideas and exchange views with others. Traditional social sites are obviously not an ideal place for such a purpose. According to our survey among designers, 93% of respondents deemed it necessary to get inspiration from works and ideas of others while 90% of them hoped for comments and advice on their works from experienced professionals. Many unknown designers may be very capable. But there hasn’t been a good platform where they can display their talent. What we are doing is to provide such a platform.

P: How did you come up with this idea?

K: We did a lot of brainstorm together. Every member of the team agreed that we should design a product to really help students. Actually, there were many design majors in our school. We often saw them busy with their works in the forum or lab. It’s very difficult for young designers to establish a name for themselves in a big city like London. So, we decided to create a platform to help them. And then we developed the simple notion into a full business plan.

P: Was there any trouble during the preparation? How did you solve it?

K: Yes. Market analysis was the hardest part of our business plan. I guess other teams might face the same problem at that time. Building a website isn’t as easy as it may sound. It requires a lot of fund for daily maintenance and operation. Moreover, we had to convince investors of our project before we could get any investment. We figured that the business plan must be as thorough as possible. We had to consider related services, subsequent upgrading and improvement of the website. We brainstormed on the details of the product over and over again to make it impeccable. We often asked ourselves this question: what did we care most if we were investors. Then, we improved our project accordingly.

P: How did you feel when giving your presentation?

K: We completed the design of the project and submitted all materials a month prior to the presentation. We spent much time together going over every little detail of our project. We were fully prepared when that day came. We were excited and a little bit nervous because in front of us were real investors. It’s really an exciting and also rewarding experience. Given that time was limited, some team members didn’t have a chance to present their part of the project so fully. Although we were well prepared, some factors did affect our performance more or less.

P: What benefits did you get for participating in this project and activity?

K: The best thing I learned is how to think thoroughly and methodically about the details. It makes me more rigorous. By creating a business plan of my own, I have formed a basic understanding of the market. I feel that I become more mature and experienced after this project. It’s something I could never learn from any book.

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Look  how University of Westminster students pitch their business plans:

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An exclusive interview:Countdown to JustBuyIt launch

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Maybe you have noticed the special interview we are doing with graduates. Yeah, that’s right. Maybe they are not entrepreneurs in a real sense, but they have built up their own teams and come up with creative business plans that are spoken highly of by venture investors.

This time we have a happy chat with Zimu Jia. She is a Media Management graduate from University of Westminster. Now let’s listen to her business story at Perfect Pitch.

P=Perfect Pitch     Z=Zimu Jia

P: What’s the name of the project you started?

Z: It is called JustBuyIt. It’s a mobile application designed for women who love shopping. During shopping, everyone wants some suggestions from others. “Which color suits me better?” “Does this look good on me?” They are typical questions we hear in a clothing store. To get some advice from others, some girls shopping alone may try on a new dress in the fitting room, send mirror selfies to their friends and wait eagerly for their replies. Our product will be a perfect solution to this problem. But I’ll leave some room for imagination because our team members are working on turning the concept into a reality. Hopefully we’ll soon present you a real product and share the joy of success.

P: How did you come up with this idea in the first place?

Z: We found this idea in ourselves. There were four girls in our team who loved shopping very much. Sometimes we hung out a lot together or talked about our experience on shopping. Gradually, we came to realize that everyone needed a product or a service to solve this problem in shopping. Based on this requirement, we created our business plan.

P: Were there any difficulties during the preparation? How did you solve them?

Z: The biggest problem we met was calculating the cash flow for the whole business plan. We are students of media majors. None of us knows much about corporate finance. Anyway, we had to figure out the cash flow. We referred to all kinds of documents and consulted a lot of accounting majors. We also learned a lot from other business projects, which was very helpful for solving our own problem.

P: How would you rate your performance at the presentation?

Z: I was not quite myself that day because I was running a fever. But our team did a great job. I’m proud of them. The first one to speak that day was Jun. She used to work at 4A. So she had much experience in making proposals. She really knew how to draw attention from the audience. “What will you do after the presentation?” By posing a simple question on the stage, Jun successfully ignited their enthusiasm and introduced the theme of our product. She described the trouble she had herself when shopping and explained why our product could meet the user requirement. Story telling I think is a good way to draw audience attention at a presentation.

P: What have you learned from this project and activity?

Z: It makes me realize starting a business is an exciting but also very frustrating. It’s an idea and a common goal that keep motivating every team member all the way through. Even those knotty problems now appear interesting. Striving for perfection is an attitude essential for doing anything. That’s what I learned from this program. The experience is still very helpful in my work now.

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Look  how University of Westminster students pitch their business plans:

Do you have the same question?“I’m in my early 20s and is there such thing as wanting to do too many things in life?”

Brandon Lee —— an entrepreneur answered this question like this:

I think most people struggle with this as young adults.

This is what freed me from the paralysis of analysis:

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5 years ago I was a speaker, teacher, and trainer in a very unique non-profit niche.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been flipping houses (when you buy, fix, and then resell a house for profit) and have become a known presence in my local market.

In 3-4 years, I’m planning to choose my next “life.” I’m debating between law, tech, education, or maybe revisiting non-profits.

Who knows!

But the point is, I also want to do a ton of things, and I actually believe I can achieve many of them, and I owe that belief to that comic.

I’m excited to study a hard science down the road, maybe get into medicine, maybe be a sports trainer.

I’m excited to publish a few books, excited to travel the world, live in a different country, be a polyglot, and master a martial art.

I’m excited to be a teacher, maybe when I’m in my 50’s or 60’s because I’d want to be that teacher that was down to earth, encourage and believe in my students, make them laugh, and maybe become friends with them.

But for now, it’s real estate —  the intent is to build a solid financial base so I don’t have to worry about money when I pick a new “life” to pursue.

You have a great list, best of luck in your pursuits!

P.S.  This post isn’t quite complete without The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher. While that comic taught me a life strategy, James Altucher’s post gave me the tools to get it done more efficiently and effectively

What are the most common mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make?

Sometimes referring exclusively to venture capital-funded software startups — especially in online forums such as this — “entrepreneurism” traditionally refers to bootstrapped small business of any variety.

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What are the most common mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make?

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5 Quick Presentation Tips for Startup Pitches

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That is what exactly we need to know!

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David Cummings on Startups

Tonight I had the opportunity to hear startup pitches at the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition regional final at the Atlanta Tech Village. Being a regional final, this group represented the best HBS-affiliated teams from around the Southeast. Here are five quick presentation tips for startup pitches after seeing tonight’s event:

  1. Tell a Story – Most of the pitches were product-heavy and not story-oriented. The winner of the event told the best story and made the problem/solution most relatable.
  2. Invest in Slides – Slides should be visually compelling, even if the investment is modest. Everyone in the audience knows immediately if they’re homemade.
  3. Don’t Read Slides – One of the presenters read multiple slides to the audience, word for word. Ouch. Engage with the audience and don’t read to them.
  4. Max 10 Words Per Slide – Slides to be used as handouts are different from slides for a visual…

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Top 5 Speeches of all time!

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World leaders, successful humans and shokingly confident ‘nobody’s’ have touched us and changed us in many ways for decades. Here is a list of legendary speeches, some obvious, some not so. The question for a few is, was the speech itself so powerful, or was the moment given to these legends, unfolded before them for them to create history. Confidence and determination to be heard is one aspect that flows through each speech in this list!

1. Ouchh Charlie:  Chaplin delivers this legendary speech, silencing his parody to moments of reflection and philosophy of peace, dictatorship and mankind….bravo Charlie

2.  Bad news barer: Robert F. Kennedy announces the death of Martin Luther King, in his sadness Kennedy attempts to call out against racism and control a nations emotion from escalation, “What we need in the United States is not division, what we need in the United States is not hatred…”

3.  Guardian angel: Severn Suzuki addresses UN in front of the world, raising issues of environmental damage and starving children, she does this confidently at just 12 years old. “All of you are someone’s child..”

4.  Oscar Tears: Tom Hanks wins best actor award for Forest Gump in 1995. He doesn’t say anything we haven’t already heard but oh the emotion, the gratitude and the lovely film behind it all….

5.  Alligator wrestler: Muhamad Ali gives his famous speech before his Frazier fight. Never failing to demonstrate how important confidence is, Ali entertains the crowds at a conference.

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