This semester is one of the most revised times of my life. Which I will never forget, or accept. This semester my business partner and I started a company called Resense and it has been a wild journey. From researching and curating our products: to competing in memory box national competitions, every step of the way was a learning experience. Last month we traveled to Texas to compete in the TCU Standards and Venture competition. Although we did not win, we were able to take all the feedback from that competition and learn from it. Now, in less than a week, we will be taking part in another national competition called E-Fest in Minneapolis. If you follow this journey you will realize that I like my clich inspirational quotes and I have to finish one of the George Bernard Shaw: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. “
Throughout my life, changing and admitting that I was wrong were two of the hardest things for me. This was mostly because it meant that I had to swallow my pride and admit that I was not perfect but also that change would have nothing to do with what it was like. However, recently as I matured I was able to embrace, embrace and look forward to change. As Shaw says in his quote, I understand that change, in most cases, means something is going well or progressing. I was learning a lesson and personally improving myself or fixing something with a better version than before. That is progress.
This is exactly what we expected as we analyzed the response to TCU competition. We know our product is not perfect and the judge’s thoughts, criticisms and ideas allow us to see the key areas for improvement before competing in e-fest. Through our pitch, we focused on the pain we were dealing with and how our product has been able to create a real impact for potentially millions of people. However, we lost data to back it up. We forgot one major thing: Anyone can have an amazing product but if someone isn’t willing to buy it, it’s worth it. Prior to TCU, our website had some engagements and more than 20 people interested in buying a memory box were interrogated, but only one followed. This was a major issue and the judges pointed it out. When it comes to opening eyes, we’ve done what any good entrepreneur can do: Pivot. Something is not working, so we need to change what we are doing to make it work. After some analysis, we realized that we noticed the wrong audience when sharing our products. We initially targeted care facility managers, but we soon realized that they did not have time to test our product with residents. So this week, we did some research and started targeting activity directors. We also changed our sales pitch, offered to host night activities at their facilities and brought boxes as a welcome gift to introduce them to residents and managers. Since that change, this week we’ve got 5 ADs in more than 7 facilities to test our products, including dates set for activity sessions. Shaw was right, with a very simple change, we were able to see almost three times the progress we saw all semester. Not only will this add credibility to our e-fest but it will also show the need for our products. We will cite some of these activity managers who have constantly thanked us for helping these residents and finding new ways to help them remember and keep them active.
Next, some of the feedback boxes we personally received were related to the design. We agree that it looks like a prototype. We have decided to help enhance the aesthetics before the e-fest. We’ve redesigned some of the materials that will be in the box to make sure everything is consistent and matching. We also add more branding to us and redesign the information handout to make it look more professional which is the first thing the user does when opening the box. Not only does this make our product look better, it also makes it look more professional.
Finally, to ensure our success at E-Fest, we’ve made changes based on feedback from judges and our customers. Many products were beneficial to the customers, but we came to see that the color and sudoku products were disappointing. We forgot that not everyone likes sudoku but some people like color and vice versa. So it was frustrating to have a product that would bring them both together. These boxes are meant to relax and stimulate the senses without disappointing the user. So, we decided to design and create a completely different adult coloring activity. We’ve made sure the designs were big and simple enough for our users, and we’d love to hear back from them if we’ve solved any problems we’ve encountered. We’re redesigning our survey system and hoping to reduce the frustration of caregivers by asking better questions that can be answered quickly because we understand that many of these care facilities are short staffed and don’t have time to answer after a lengthy survey. Each box has been used.
So the conclusion. George Bernard Shaw was right. Although the changes we have made may seem minimal. My business partner and I have already seen a huge improvement in a week. We’ve grown the business in less than a week this entire semester, just looking at the problem from a different perspective. I guess this is the entrepreneur. Find a problem, start trying to solve it, and if your method doesn’t work, pivot until you find the perfect solution. We were quite discouraged for a while there. No one was interested in purchasing our products or genuinely. However, by changing our perspective and looking deeper into the needs of our customers, we realize that we are talking to the wrong people. Once we fix that, we still don’t have an activity director who doesn’t schedule an activity session with us and partner with our company. We cannot make progress without change and sometimes that change changes our outlook slightly.