When I decided to join the MiM at IESE, one of my main motivations was the possibility to focus on family businesses and entrepreneurship. Indeed, during the last period of the year, we could select electives depending on what we want to specialize on (finance, data or strategy and marketing). At the same time, in teams, we could experience the exhilarating journey of entrepreneurs through the TFM course (Business Plan). In groups of 3 to 5 people, we would go through all the different necessary steps to create a business from scratch. Brainstorming, market research, evaluation of needs, financials, minimum viable product (MVP)…and everything else in between! During this whole process, we are supported by our professors. This project is a great moment of the program as it allows students to put together all the knowledge acquired during the year in the different classes. At the end of the course, a written business plan is submitted, and the project is presented in front of a jury of professors and investors. To me, the feedback is the most interesting part as it is the final opinion of professionals on long hours of work. In some cases, if the project is viable and team members are willing to pursue it, some investors offer the possibility to invest in the project.
No Leftover Bread (NLB) – from bread to beer
To me, the most difficult part was to find a good idea. Even though the jury is not evaluating the idea itself but more the thought process and the work behind it (be prepared to defend your assumptions!), it was important to us to find a project that we were passionate about. My team and I wanted to develop a product focused on sustainability, but with a high scalability. While conducting online research, we discovered that bread was one of the most wasted food products in the world. So, we decided to focus on bread. Later came the idea of producing a bread-based beer by replacing 30 to 50% of the malt with leftover bread. We loved the idea of “turning waste into worth”. By partnering with bakeries and restaurants, we could collect the unsold bread to brew our beer. This is how NLB was born.
When designing the Minimum Viable Product, we wanted to go further than just a product description. We then decided to start brewing our own beer! It was a fun process, and a real satisfaction to be able to have investors to test our product. Unanimously, all investors were ready to invest in NLB, as the product was good, and the business plan well done. Let us see if NLB will be available in your fridge next year!
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy thing. Above all, it is a state of mind, a willingness to move forward. The problem-solving skill is key and the ability to work around any potential issues is required to succeed. Thus, the TFM is a good way to start practicing, without taking many risks. Entrepreneurship is about being prepared for the unknown, which in a sense is counter-intuitive.
Eisenhower once said, “in preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
My short experience with entrepreneurship is quite similar: if the original idea matters, be prepared to change it because it will change anyway. Strangely enough, the path to the implementation requires a strong desire to succeed, but above all a certain degree of flexibility.
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