Workshops

Workshop Five- Business plan

As a follow up to the dragons den workshop we were asked to form our own business plan using the previously discussed business model canvas as seen below.

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I followed the same plan as before, mapping out the canvas frame on a big whiteboard at home. Then I work through each section one at a time and I bullet pointed the main points ready to expand later.

Then I wrote out each point and expanded it as much as possible thinking about many different factors I’ll list a few examples below;

  • Legislation- animal welfare, staff rights, land use, pet shop licence, exotic animal licences.
  • Competitors- other local pet store, online distributors, breeders, other re homing centres staff- wages, hours, rights, qualifications
  • Base costs to run the store- food, water, supplies, heating, electricity etc
  • Base costs to start up the business- building, tanks, storage, set up, transport etc
  • Training needed- first aid, driving, exotic experience, breeding, blogging, website running, public speaking.

My idea was a variation of my dragon den group idea- mine was a rescue pet and supplies store, they offered training and handling events as well as adoption of animals unsuitable for rehoming for a monthly fee.

The comments I received upon my plan being marked was:

“This is a very good business plan. Strong understanding of the value proposition and the elements of the business plan. More direct market research data to better define routes to market would add value.”

I was extremely happy with the response and I plan to develop my idea further.

I removed the travelling aspect of the dragons den plan and added a few unique selling points one of my favourites is a monthly direct debit that sends you substrates or  food supply before you run out so you never have to worry about that again!

Business planning- Step by step.

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Example of a standard pet shop. Credit: Alresford
My opinion

I feel I have greatly benefited from this assignment and the workshop, I have gained so much new knowledge and now feel like I actually have potential to make something out of nothing!

The lecturers were very helpful with this assessment and I’m very glad we had the business plan practice through the dragons den workshop as I would have no idea what to do without that experience.

Has this affected my future plans?

Yes! I hope to further develop this year and look more into market research and possible funding options for this.

I’d like to also practice other enterprise/business ideas I have on this canvas model to see if they could work and to expand the possible roots I could take.

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Workshops

Workshop Four- CV writing

This workshop/lecture was to help us write a great CV to get us noticed by employers and to remind us all of the importance of a good CV.

This is the chance to sell yourself, ensure the information provided is correct as false information on a CV isn’t going to help you or the employer. Everyone has their unique selling point just own it.

How to write a good CV

A CV is the first piece of communication an employer is likely to have from you so it’s important to make a good first impression!

first impressionThis workshop is also to help us in our first assignment we were tasked with choosing a graduate level job and then applying for it with a CV tailored to it and cover letter but what did this actually entail?

 

I have only ever had one successful experience with my CV- when I was 14 I applied to be a volunteer at a local dog groomers and got the job, she even asked if I had help from my parents writing it!

I was pretty impressed with this and haven’t really changed my CV much since then… I’m now 21 and what was impressive for a 14 year old’s CV is NOT impressive for a 21 year old graduate’s CV!

So I was very much looking forward to this workshop to get some tips to give my CV a much needed tidy up!

Tips
  • Tailor your CV
  • Keep it concise
  • Don’t include photos
  • Up to date contact details
  • Cover letters are the first thing they read- MAKE IT COUNT!
  • Professional email address
  • Simple layout
  • Get a friend to proof read it

cover letterDon’t neglect your cover letter.

Your cover letter is a summary of everything you have to offer, give examples of why you fit the job description.

Make them want to read your CV!

10 tips to write the best cover letter
My opinions

This workshop has helped to remind me of what I need to include in my CV and exclude.

I had forgotten the importance of keeping your CV up to date and I found this workshop very beneficial.

Has this affected my future plans?

Yes, this definitely has! I need to do more work on my CV, I hope that by doing this I will be able to land my dream job- you could be the best person for a job but they’ll never know if your CV isn’t at the right standard.

Workshops

Workshop Three- Dragons’ den

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Our business team! Photo credit: Nicole Barton

Today’s workshop was Dragon’s Den we were set the task of creating a business idea, plan and pitch- After planning our ideas we had to present them to the dragons! This workshop lasted the whole day and we were put in random groups of 6.

 

Step one- Pick an idea: Our group idea was for a business called EduPet, the basic concept was an educational roadshow pet shop that also re-homed exotic pets.

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This is the brief we were given, we added our own idea to it.

Step two- Present idea: We were asked to stand up and present our idea to the dragons, this was rather intimidating however we only had to speak for a minute each and had planned it all out so it went well.

Step three- Business model canvas: We were given an example business model canvas to help us structure our business plan, we found this pretty straight forward to follow.

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Business model canvas used.

Step four- Presentation/pitch: Each group made a 20 second pitch video, ours was based on a poster we made.

Step five- Question time: The dragons asked us questions about our idea including questions about costs and profits, we worked these out during the planning stage buy using average profits of similar start up businesses, we also looked into running cost.

We got the chance to watch other groups present their ideas which was helpful, one group made a great video pitch and really impressed the dragons with their creativity.

We were shown this pitch as inspiration for our own pitch. Credit: Mad Men

My opinions

I don’t feel I would have been able to present a pitch alone so I’m grateful this was a team exercise and i found t useful to create a whole business plan and pitch idea in a day as this is something I have never done before.

Has this affected my future plans?

Yes, I feel more confident about my abilities to form a business idea, and I now know what to include in a business plan so I may even start up my own business in the future.

Workshops

Workshop Two- Careers cafe

Today’s workshop was the careers cafe. It was a series of talks given by Bangor university Alumni.

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Careers cafe, coffee, guest speakers and inspiration. Credit: Richard Stay

There were four guests who spoke to us about their careers: Bethan Wynne Jones, Dawn Thomas, Graham French and Jon Cannon.

They each work in a different area and we were able to gain so much knowledge about a variety of subjects due to this. Each guest spoke in turn and explained what they did and how they got there, this was extremely encouraging and insightful for the students that attended.

Bethan Wynne Jones

Bethan studied Zoology and graduated in 2014 with a masters, she then had a few temporary jobs before attaining her current position.

She now works for the National Trust at Snowdonia, her main roles are event planning and volunteer projects as well as general management of the woodland areas.

Dawn Thomas

Dawn was originally a nurse but changed her career path, graduating in 2010 as a mature student. Dawn had a lot of volunteering experience and this lead to her making great connections with the North Wales Wildlife Trust where she is now a Living Sea Awareness Officer.

Graham French

Graham started his career teaching at an outdoor education centre but he decided to return to university to get a PGCE this allowed him to go into teaching. Teaching not only opened up the mind of the children but also the world for Graham, he was able to travel the global to places such as; Canada, Austrailia and South Africa teaching science to children.

Jon Cannon

Jon graduated from Bangor in 1988, his dissertation was based on crocodiles that were transported to the menai to study!

He previously worked for National Resources Wales and now he is the process science manager for Welsh Water. Welsh water are known for hiring science graduate which is promising for the room full of students listening to these talks.

opportunity ahead
Stay positive! Credit: Peel Halton

Advice

  • Volunteer to enhance CV
  • The more experience the better before applying
  • Create contacts
My opinions

I feel that the careers cafe was a real eye opener, I previously had no idea that variety of things I could do with my degree!

I’m glad there were so many different speakers and that they were all walking different career paths, this has given me a lot to think about.

Has this affected my future plans?

Yes, I will now look into a wider variety of job areas and not just straight zoology based work.

I will also aim to get more volunteering experience on my CV.

Workshops

Workshop One- Assessment centre

This workshop follow straight on from the Career’s cafe- it was great to get the chance to have a mock interview right after being inspired by the speakers at the career’s cafe!

First of all we got split into groups of 4, we took it in turns to play the interview panel and the interviewee.

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How do you stand out in a crowd of outstanding people? Credit: Red WigWam

At first it was quite intimidating, I didn’t know the people in my group and they all seemed very confident with comments like “This is going to be easy” and “I’ve done this so many times”.

As someone with minimal experience of interviews I hoped taking this module would help to boost my confidence.

We were given secret sets of questions to ask the interviewee, a few examples of questions are:

  • Why did you choose your dissertation?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • Talk about your experience

After we answered the questions we were sent out of the room and the rest of the group “the interviewers” would mark you on your performance- this was based on what you sad, how you said it, interaction with the interviewers and body language.

Video: How to ace your interview! Credit: Aaron Marino

As I said before, the rest of my group were extremely good at explaining themselves and keeping their cool under pressure, but me… not so much. I some how managed to ramble on and say nothing at the same time!

Need help getting a job click here.

Beblin test

The second part of the workshop was the Beblin test/self perception inventory.

We were given three worksheets to assist us with this.

The first had seven sections, Each section had a question e.g. What I believe I contribute to a team” and then a set of answers ordered with letters a-h, we were asked to put ten point by the letters we felt answered the question for us.

After filling out each section we tallied up the points in a table to see what letter we had the most of for each question and input this into another table which told us what team role is best suited to us.

team roles

The third sheet explained each role, I got the role Team worker which after reading the description seems to fit me well.

My opinion

I feel the interview were beneficial however I feel we should have had mock-mock interviews to prepare us as some people had an unfair advantage and this was a graded assessment.

I feel the belbins test is quite accurate for me at least. However I believe it could be easily shaped by the interviewee to give a certain answer so it’s not going to be accurate without honesty.

Has this affected my future career plans?

This has affected my future plans as I now know the areas that need improvement and I will in future do a few practices before a real interview!