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Supa Campus

Supa Campus is a 12-week business development boot camp that offers 50 entrepreneurs mentoring, business support and industry expert advice while being based out of our brand new, Tintagel House.

Supa Campus

The Supa Campus program is specifically designed to support entrepreneurs to scale and sustain their business. Each week of the programme focuses on a different theme such as marketing, finance or recruitment etc. with guest-experts providing advice and guidance. The following blog posts document what our residents took away from the masterclasses provided each week and how they’re implementing this new info.

Bejay– Supa Campus, Head co-ordinator

Week One - Sales and Business Development

Though we could have started with any other aspect in business, I thought it was important to learn about business development in the first week so that the groups in the campus could have a strategy in place to get the most out of the 12 weeks ahead. One of the key focuses to take away was on value or more, identifying what is important to you within your business and developing a plan around that. This authenticity is felt by your audiences and can go a long way in sustaining your business.

The team and I plan on reminding the businesses on the campus just how important this value is.

 

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Supa Campus Resident feedback

Hayat - Neon Moon

What have you taken away from business development week?

Sam gave some great advice that related to the position my business is currently in. He talked about the importance of not forcing a scale up if your business is not ready.

How will you implement the lessons you’ve learned?

Speaking with Sam, he wanted me to focus on what I wanted from the business. He emphasised the need to work towards attainable goals. Critically, he made me realise it’s vital to work towards whatever you define as success. Even if it does not compare with what your competition is doing.  As long as you get what you want out of it then your business is always going to be successful.

Have you started to make any of these changes?

Yes, when I’m strategising, I put greater emphasis on where myself and my brand will be in 5 years time as opposed to what I think is expected of a fashion brand. I’m playing more towards what I want to do which is to disrupt. That’s what makes me happy, and now the brand is geared towards being the disruptor in the lingerie industry whilst remaining profitable and having the revenue to do all the cool things I want to do. After speaking with Sam, false scaling up is not on my mind any more. It was an important lesson to learn and something I immediately applied to my business strategy.

Has business development been a challenge for you in the past?

Yes, as previously I’ve not been the most organised in terms of where I want the business to go. I want to become more forward thinking. I want to know exactly what I’m doing tomorrow and why that action is going to take the brand one step forward. I want to do something each day that is going to push the brand forward and ensure the brand does not stagnate.

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Jay - Recovery Massage Therapy

What have you taken away from business development week?

It really helped with strategy and how to be disruptive. It particularly showed how a company can go about entering a space where there are already a lot of big rival competitors who have huge budgets. The sessions showed how you need to present your company in a way that catches your customers' attention straight away. I loved the Sam Conniff stunt of plastering his building in pink to publicise his new book. Examples like that help young entrepreneurs understand that it's alright to be different. It showed you don’t have to model yourself on the competition, it’s alright to be yourself. Do things differently- that was the point that you started the business in the first place.

How will you implement what you’ve learned?

I’ve got some crazy stuff planned. The adverts you see from us aren’t going to follow the typical model. Our adverts are all going to be from a fitness point of view. We’re not going to be talking about massage therapy or physiotherapy, we are going to focus on the benefits and present that in a way that's going to be completely different. So that when you see one of our adverts, you know it is us straight away.

Have you started to make any changes?

Yeah, following on from this week's talks I’ve already started to upgrade my pitch deck. After hearing the masterclasses from Sam Conniff I really feel that I’m better at articulating our vision. This is great as before the accelerator I was not that good at it and I didn’t spend enough time developing it. In regard to business development – Standing out has always been the plan so hearing examples of people who’ve mastered being different is great and inspiring.

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Bejay– Supa Campus, Head co-ordinator

Week Two - Sales and Business Development

Week two and we’re on to PR.  It’s not uncommon for start-ups to experience rapid growth.  Let’s say you go viral, how do you handle it? If you get popular quickly people will look you up and decide for themselves, what kind of business you are based on what they read, watch or listen to.  This could be content created by you or by others after having been in contact with you/your business.  Either way, how you handle yourself will be spoken about and for the content you can control, you want it to be true to you.

For our first session we welcomed Ed Staite – Professional speechwriter. We covered how to deliver our most successful elevator pitch and he taught us how best to come across when under the pressure of having little time.

Session number 2 was a panel discussion and interview training session with Tom Maddox – former BBC2 reporter (as well as Channel 4, BBC Radio and IRN)

This session was designed to teach the campus participants about how to prepare for live TV and panel situations. We covered how body language as well as spoken language, impacts a conversation. We were introduced to media training and we focused on honing our presentation skills as well.

The final session was a one on one with TV Producer, Angela Ferreira. Over her career, she has dealt with a variety of individuals with personalities that vary from gentle to eccentric (to say the least). She spoke very candidly about how to navigate through different industries and different members of society. We discussed closing deals and how to move through dealing with people who may not have your best interest at heart. We believed these three sessions would be representative of the challenges a modern entrepreneur might face today, as their business grows.

 

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Supa Campus Resident Feedback

Henri - Keeome

What have you taken away from PR & Media week?
Angela’s comments on adaptability really resonated with me. Maintaining your inner integrity and values on issues whilst also being able to adapt yourself to the people you’re connecting with. She stated the need to act differently with certain groups of people, even dress differently, and change your vocabulary depending on the group you’re in. Humans are not robots, decision are made by humans and you’ve got to be able to build a rapport and you can’t do this if you have a stiff image. So, the ways to interact with different groups is something I took away from this weeks’ talks.

How will you implement the lessons you’ve learned?
The key area of my business is making sales. I always say that a business is not a business until you start making sales. So, I intend to use Angela’s advice of taking on different personalities depending on the person you’re trying to sell to, and to use this to my advantage.

Additionally, I liked Angela’s advice regarding really listening: Listen to what a person is saying and recite back something they’ve said in order to establish a connection. I’ve already used this in a sales call. Before starting the pitch, I asked questions and listened to what they were saying. I then tailored my sales pitch based on what was said.

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Matt - Date Makers

What have you taken away from PR & Media week?
The main thing I took away from the session with Tom was the importance of body language and how I need to stop fidgeting when being interviewed. I actually went on for a trial interview that was filmed, and when we watched it back I could see my knees were moving all over the place. That video really showed me I just need to sit still, sit straight and be clear.

Another takeaway was the advice to simplify the message. Specifically, Tom stated the necessity of not using jargon. It’s important to not assume other people know what you’re talking about. I have a tendency to just start talking about something I’ve been thinking about and assume the other person will immediately know what I’m on about. So just keep the message simple.

Have you started to make any changes?
From a pitching point of view, we are going to change our elevator pitch slightly as a result of these sessions. Now we are actually walking people through the customer journey. So, we will take out our phone and show the clients how to explore the the app and then how to book from there. Before, we tried to over complicate the pitch as we believed the more complex the pitch the better it sounded.

Has PR been a challenge for you in the past?
We’ve actually had a really good response from PR. I think that’s to do with the amount of content in the media dedicated to dating and love, so people are interested to hear about our Datemakers App and what it’s all about. So far, we’ve been in the Bristol Post and we have a monthly feature in Bristol 24/7.  The latter provides a great free outlet for us as it’s Bristol’s biggest social publication.  Last year we had a radio interview with Bristol Community FM where we discussed the best date night in Bristol. We used dates available on our app to compile a date night consisting of beer tasting, inventing your own ice cream and  finished with attending a Craig David concert.

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Bejay– Supa Campus, Head co-ordinator

Week Three – Investment

Week three focused on Investment. Most business owners will find themselves in a position where they need to raise money in order to proceed. Investment is the enabler needed to take your business to the next level and so taking the residents through the various types of investment and key lessons involved was imperative.

For this week's masterclass, we brought in Anthony Rose, Founder of SeedLegals. Anthony is a seasoned entrepreneur who has spent the past 20+ years starting and building his own businesses. His experience meant really valuable tips to be shared, the opportunity to learn from someone else’s past and therefore a head-start that most young people in business wouldn’t be privy to.

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Supa Campus Resident feedback

James - Lemon Jelly

What have you taken away from investment week?

Before now, I’ve thought of my company as my baby.  I wanted to nurture it and protect it. You hear horror stories about people who gain investment and then they lose control.  The direction changes or the company’s mission gets diluted with too many different opinions and ideas. Anthony’s talk made me realise that giving away a small percentage can really excel your company and take it to new heights, not only through the financial investment but also through the contacts you gain from collaborating with an investor.

Has investment been a challenge for you in the past?

As we are such a young company, it’s not something we have fully looked into yet but we’re starting to. It’s come to the point now where we can only get bigger and better and achieve what I want us to achieve with the help of investment. The talk by Anthony Rose came at a really crucial time for us. Anthony made the information on investment bitesize, making it less daunting and more accessible.

Adele - The Wedding Arrangers

What have you taken away from investment week?

Anthony (Rose) advised to “be laser-focused on what your customers want because everything else is just a distraction."  This is a simple but often forgotten fact. The best thing you can do for your company is build a product or experience that people really love. Yes, investment can allow you to grow quickly and give you access to different handy tools But does rapid growth for my business help my customers achieve a better wedding?  Will they love the service more if my business was bigger?  Will they recommend me more?  For me, authenticity this is the key factor in growing a business.

How are you going to implement that advice?

Since the beginning, we’ve been very focused on customer feedback. We take everything on board to ensure that the next event we deliver is improved upon. Thankfully, the changes we need to make are usually small but we’re always looking to improve our service and offering. We try to make the planning process smoother each time. So, we will implement Anthony’s advice by ensuring our offering is the highest quality it can be, making wedding planning a fun, stress-free process. I think this will also give us the confidence to seek investment in the future to bring on new members of staff to deliver our vision.

Has investment been a challenge for you in the past?

It’s not something we’ve seriously thought about previously. But we may start looking at it as our company continues to grow.

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Sanmi - All Shades Covered

What have you taken away from investment week?

The main takeaway for me was the importance of having certain documents in place before you start a business. For example, Anthony spoke about the need to have a co-founder agreement to ensure that whatever happens, even if someone leaves, your business will remain. That’s not to say you should assume people are “shady” but at the same time it’s important to protect the business. Things do happen, people do move on so,you have to ensure you have the correct documents are in place to make sure that the business and the idea stays alive.

Has investment been a challenge for you in the past?

We had a bit of luck early-on as my co-founder already had a relationship with someone who would become one of our core investors.  From there, we were a part of a network that has allowed us to build out our investor base. They all helped us to build our product and continue ensure we’re on the right track.