Nov. 13, 2018 by Event Collective
From Analog Customer Pain to Digitized Start-up Solutions
I was probably once like you; I thought everything was invented and we only needed to tweak the current systems. As an entrepreneur, I found out that this is not true. We live in a time of Digitization, and it has never been easier to start a company and create something new...
We live in an exciting time to follow your dreams of starting a company. In a few minutes, days, or weeks you can reach thousands of customers all over the world. In the capital of Copenhagen, Denmark, you can apply and have a CVR number for a one-man company in less than 5 minutes - I did that when I started David R. Consulting, a firm I created to do consultant work for example with Aalborg University in Copenhagen and The Danish Society of Engineers (IDA).
The price for starting the company was nothing, and suddenly I could send out invoices for my services. The easiness of starting a company and starting to go on the entrepreneur road lead to other ideas; ‘what if I could take my current customer pain and translate it to a digitized company’? To catch my drift, we have to go back a couple of years.
Student job: Liaison & Event Coordinator for The Danish Society of Engineers (IDA) at Aalborg University in Copenhagen
My job was to be IDA’s face at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, and to arrange 16-32 social and academic workshops and events at AAU-CPH. I had a pretty good budget to realise this, but they could just as easily have called me Jon Snow - because I knew nothing about planning and facilitating events.
So what do you do? You look at your student environment, and try to find out what they could be interested in attending. In the end you get titles like this; How to Network like A Pro, Party Boat before October Party, Workshop in Presentation Technique, and dozen other like it. But how do you find the right people, at the right price range, that want to engage and fill out those workshops and keynote speaks? You spend a lot of time. Using your network, calling people, asking what their references are, haggling a price that makes sense for both, and then you hope that everything runs smoothly from there. Finally, you figure out some sort of contract agreement, and long after that, it's a done deal.
Picture description: Example for some of the IDA events from 2013
My job was based heavily on my own network and luck. After I worked there for 2,5 years and finished my studies, I thought: I’m not the only one with this analogue customer pain. I have 35 other colleagues from the other Universities in Denmark where IDA is present. That is around 550 keynote speakers and workshops a year at the student area. IDA is organising 2500 events like it in Denmark alone, which is around 30.000.000DKK a year. IDA is 1 out of 160 of the biggest member organisations in Denmark. They have 2.6 mio. members use around 900.000.000DKK a year (250DKK pr. person). And what about the public municipalities or big corporations? No one has made a online digital solution for this.
That’s why I went out and founded Event Collective together with awesome people that fit the profile. I had maybe 4 competencies to grow a company, I knew I needed 20 to do it. Who could I find in my network who loves to do, what I hate to do? I knew nothing about coding, so I found a coder. I knew nothing about design, so I contacted a designer. I knew nothing about international perspective on a business, so I.. You get it. The rest is history. Today we have 55 speakers at our platform and 100 unique events. We got 35 bookings the last couple of weeks and we have a projected income of 250.000DKK in the first year. What was formerly an analog way of doing a job, can now be handled as an online digitized marketplace.
To wrap up:
- It has never been easier to start your own company. You can do that online in minutes
- “Everything is not invented”. A lot of services and functions are still being performed analogue. There is still many possible Digitized solutions to be thought of
- Through my student job I started my own company - find the costumer pain, and then do something about it. Is there a market? If so, then find the right talents to grow a company.
My only regret is that I did not start the company while I was studying and had a stable income and time. There is a lot of opportunity to find a problem and fix it with a digitized solution in today’s world. Here are some examples by others in the Copenhagen start-up community.
You know the old fashioned style of receiving a legal document, printing it out, signing it with a pen, scanning into your computer to forward it further, so that it can be printed out again, signed, and scanned into yet another computer? That is the known process of signing a legal document. That is a long work-pain for you as a person, for the trees and for a company. Referring to the process of being old and being long, does not necessary mean that it does not have the potential of being improved both for you, computers, and trees.
Multiple persons are involved in the process of a legal document that has to be shared, stored on a shelf with dust, and reused again when needed. By considering the main pain of this process, the startup company, ContractBook, have worked out a digital process where they have removed the need of paper, scanner/printer, and ink.
Simply by removing the middlemen, they have optimised the process by rethinking the steps and exchanging them with digital tools.
Picture description: screenshot of a contract signing process by contractbook
Everyone has heard about AirBnB and probably also used them to find a place to sleep, and used Uber to get around. This sharing trend is still growing, and new ideas are been played out. An idea, that has similarities to AirBnB, is to rent out offices on an hourly bases, called gaest.com - in Danish “gaest” [gæst] translates into guest in English.
This new business idea provides both small and big business the ability of being more flexible in turns of meeting their clients in other city and areas and even reducing their costs of the meeting in contrast to a restaurant or other public location.
The pain of this platform is solving various issues for different kinds of companies. For example; sales companies, companies without a lounge, who are just in the need of an office for a few hours with a request for a curtain style and appearance to schedule a successful meeting. The pain for the room-owners is that they often have an expensive rooms that is empty most of the day.
The digitalization of booking process and sharing them with others is just another way of rethinking the potential, and the occurring new needs of how companies are changing and need new methods to do business. Companies are moving and so shall the business around it.
Conclusion on digitization
The two examples of businesses above are mainly examples of how business ideas are becoming more dynamic and the need of inventing or producing an object is not a necessity when establishing a (startup) company. Selling a service and keeping it online is also a business plan that can result into a million dollar idea.
The startup process of Event Collective shows how a business idea can escalate from a simple analog process and the way of doing it, into a digitized platform while easing the process too.
The main points of this article is to view business ideas within the frame of digitalization of methods we humans take for granted in our everyday activities, which are not up to date. There are still a lot of company ideas waiting to be a million dollar success, and it has never been easier to be an entrepreneur. We have seen for the lasts decades how technological solutions are becoming more and more demanding. By meeting the customer’s needs of technological solutions may be easier to fulfill with a product or platform of services.
And this is only the beginning of the transformation of digital ideas that changed how we work and communicate in documentation and across boards of businesses...
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