Last weekend, I posted my first blog post on entrepreneurship, in which I examined how important innovation has been for businesses, especially startups, through some examples including a brief overview of the economy of Malaysia. As I mentioned at the end of my blog post last week, I will talk about some of my experiences within the field of innovation and explore how innovation can help my own business this week.
The logo above belongs to a startup designed by me and my team during the Leadership in the Business World (LBW) Program in Wharton Business School this past summer. We completed a 25-page business plan in four weeks and presented it to the investors at the end of the program. Now I am working with my team to actually develop our plan into a virtual business. Since we are talking about innovation right now, let me take you way back into the very first meeting of my team, in which we came up with different ideas and tried to decide which direction we should go towards. Honestly, I was surprised by how creative my team members were, as they came up with innovative ideas such as biodegradable gums, which correspond with the ideology of an environmentally friendly business, and refrigerator scanners, through which we can scan our food and get the information of the expiration date on our mobile devices. In the end, we decided to work together on a transportation app called OneStop that incorporates different ways of travel into one easy-to-use and user-based mobile application. We were confident in such an idea because first, transportation is an indispensable part of everyone’s life; second, there has not been such an app that conveniently provides all different transportation systems; and last but not least, transportation is an industry massive valued at 58 billion and the number keeps growing over the past decade. We mapped out our research based on such an idea and finished an excellent business plan that was complimented by many investors at the end of the program. When I look back at my memorable experiences this summer, I, again, feel the extremely strong power of innovation. Our team did not try to come up with an evolutionary idea on subjects such as technology; however, we still accomplished our innovation through expanding on an existing industry and came up with something that was seldom attempted before.
Now let’s talk about some innovative ideas I have gradually developed for my own sneaker business. For a business in a fashion world such as a enterprise, there are two ways to innovate. First, it can focus on the design of the sneakers by coming up with creative design patterns and technology ideas. Second, it can also use innovative marketing strategies to promote itself to a wider group of audience. Since my business is based on a buy-and-resell model, I will focus more on the second part. Basically I have been inspired by the marketing strategy used by Tom’s, a leading footwear business in the industry that seeks a social impact. Every time a customer buys a pair of shoes from Tom’s, Tom’s will denote a certain amount of money, or a pair of shoes, to charity for those people in need or the lower class of the society. Since I am very interested in making a social impact through my business, I am very interested in similar campaign strategies. For example, I will market my business by donating a certain percentage of income to design ID (personally customized) sneakers for poor kids who are interested in sports. Such a strategy will not only bring me more customers who are enthusiastic in child care, but also make more sports fans learn about what I am doing and appreciate the power of my business. I am actually discussing such a campaign idea with my colleagues. I am confident that it will be carried out very soon.
That wraps up my blog post for this week. If you have any ideas about how to creatively market a sneaker business, or if you have any questions or comments on OneStop, the transportation app my team and I cooperated to design, please reach out to me. I would love to hear more feedbacks on both of these topics!