Written by Yvonne Kloiber, Global Ambassador and Dual Degree Student. Hult Boston Class of 2017.
Picking up from where I left off at HBC Part 1: Finding your business idea, my team and I started going out to the field to find experts that might be able to help us develop the product. Our coach and Hult Faculty, Geoff Nesnow, kept telling us during the whole process: “Go out of the building, talk to people, and share your idea. If your idea is copied it was not good enough anyway. Sharing your idea only makes you better.”
“Go out of the building, talk to people, and share your idea. If your idea is copied it was not good enough anyway. Sharing your idea only makes you better.”
Test your idea in the field
Motivated by that we divided our team, started exploring different events, and talked to potential customers. Since our product—a rain spray that makes clothes temporarily waterproof—was targeted at commuters, we started talking to people on the T-Line (subway) in Boston. This first feedback gave the team a real push as the responses were really positive and people were extremely interested.
The Hult Business Challenge simulates a real business experience. During the experience, we faced all the challenges that any other founder would face: from the different opinions within the team about the best strategy, to investors that didn’t believe in the business.
The first Checkpoint—Investors challenge and scrutinize your product
The “Checkpoints” are benchmarks in the Hult Business Challenge calendar where the team presents in front of potential investors who will challenge the team’s thinking and express any doubts about the business idea. At our first checkpoint, the main concern that popped up was the question of trust – would anybody just spray a new product on their expensive clothes? To us, our product may seem obvious and trustworthy but we’re not considering how our customers might feel about it, or their needs and wants.
“By undergoing a number of coach and challenger meetings, Hult does a great job in bringing the teams back on the right track to reshape their ideas whenever they start losing themselves.”
By undergoing a number of coach and challenger meetings, Hult does a great job in bringing the teams back on the right track to reshape their ideas whenever they start losing themselves.
Tap into your global network
At this point, it should be mentioned that our team consisted of 6 completely different individuals and nationalities: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Russia, and India. This diversity helped us a lot to find creative approaches to challenges but also challenged us from time to time with different backgrounds and opinions.
Taking the advice of our coach, we started leaving the building. Our product development team went to Boston University and connected with a professor who was willing to help us with possible problems. Also, a ‘must-go’ in Boston is the Venture Café at MIT. It is the perfect spot to test business ideas, talk to people, and network.
Finally, we used personal connections and talked to friends. One key person around that journey was one of my friends from MIT who studied chemical engineering. He was able to give us some creative ideas on how to improve our product and how to find partnerships in order to keep developing costs at a reasonable price.
“Over time, the team developed problem-solving skills that will help us not just at Hult but also in the business world.”
During team meetings, the atmosphere ranged from concentrated to relaxed. Over time, the team developed problem-solving skills that will help us not just at Hult but also in the business world. At the end of all this, “Raino – the water repellent spray!” was born with the slogan “Don’t let rain be the reason”. Our team started working on the look of our product and the brand. Our idea is to create a spray that easily fits in any bag and protects your pants and shoes from rain during the short walk from your house or office to the public transportation stop or vice versa.
Stay posted for Part 3, to find out about the final presentations and last steps that we took at the end of the HBC project.
Yvonne Kloiber is a Dual Degree student from Germany studying at Hult Boston campus. She has a background in marketing and is passionate about international relations. She hopes to continue traveling the world after Hult and to pursue a global leadership development program.