All businesses start with an idea on a small scale, a dream that blossoms into something bigger and grander. It begins with one location, one employee and one customer. To start with, it’s simple, but over time it grows. More locations, more customers, more suppliers can follow with a strong business, and you need more people, processes and solutions to manage it all.
But where do such ideas come from? In starting his business, Anthony Douglas, founder of golfing start-up Hole19, a sort of TripAdvisor for golf, wanted to build something from scratch and at the same time solve a need that he had. ‘I wanted to become a better golfer and share experiences with my coach and golf buddies,’ he says.
‘At the time, golf was quite insular and individual in terms of scoring and performance. I wanted to create a platform to change that and make it as social and interactive digitally as it had the potential to be. So, I decided to quit work at start Hole19. We had a team relatively quickly mapping courses and building the software and the rest is history.’
Timothée Le Quesne, co-founder of electronics manufacturer Energysquare says that his idea originated at Université Paris-Saclay, when he had lots of student projects to complete.
‘During one of them, the ArtScience prize, our team of engineers and designers spent six months doing brainstorms and prototyping new technologies and products. When we finished our studies, we realised this project could make a successful product, so we decided to launch our company,’ he says. The business, which is based on wireless mobile phone charging, made a partnership with EDF, the main French electricity provider. which helped the company to register a patent.
Sarah McVittie and Donna North are co-founders of Dressipi, a London-based fashion technology start-up. It offers a ‘true personalisation’ solution based on the sentiment that context, emotion and different attributes around fashion are vital influencers on purchasing behaviour, employing a team of expert technologists and fashion stylists that work side by side.
The women did a lot of research by travelling up and down the country holding ‘style parties’ to try to gain a deeper understanding of the frustrations that women have when dressing and shopping.
Separately, understanding the challenges retailers faced was also extremely important and they soon realised that a problem for a consumer, like returning an unsuitable garment, also represented a cost or lost opportunity to a retailer. From this, they began developing a recommendation service that could ‘plug in’ to a retailer’s website and help their customers, while allowing them to improve metrics like average basket size, returns rates and conversion rates.
Getting advice from Dressipi’s chairman Lord Rose has proved invaluable as well as other influencers they have met along the way who share their vision.
The ideas stage of a business is very exciting, but there is a point in your business beyond starting up when you have conflicting data and messaging, and you end up with an inconsistent customer experience. It can become not so simple.
SAP Anywhere allows small businesses to provide a seamless customer experience, one where you can see all your new leads and where they are coming from. It shows what’s being sold, through what commerce channels, and allows you to process orders from one place. It helps you run your marketing programmes, and gives you insight into your inventory so you can optimise campaigns in real time. You can make everyday business decisions on trusted information, so now you can turn your dream of running simple into a reality.