As part of my MSc in International Management & Leadership, I took part in the Business Incubation Programme (BIP) which involved developing my own business from scratch as a project.
Your Project Idea
Developing my BIP idea
My business idea was to launch an online media website, called Furio Magazine, that is dedicated to alternative music of the 1980s. The aim of Furio Magazine is to deliver high-quality, in-depth content about the bands and artists that defined this decade.
By providing loyal fanbases with high-class journalism in a variety of different media formats such as written text, video and audio, our aim lies in bringing them closer together with their idols and offer them insights that they won't get anywhere else.
Part of developing my own business was to research the market landscape in which I wanted to launch my product, to ensure it was viable.
To effectively support content production, Furio Magazine’s business model will be built on three different revenue streams that involve subscription model, advertising and e-commerce.
With the digital publishing market expected to grow to £39.68 billion in 2021, and a vast majority of 96% of consumers reading, watching or listening to media content for almost 24 hours a week, we are entering a highly desirable market with a viable outlook (World Economic Forum 2020).
Further research showed the ongoing cross-generational appeal of 80s music among music listeners worldwide, giving Furio Magazine’s business topic a central point of interest in the market (YouGov 2017).
As far as competition is concerned, Furio Magazine operates in a very clear niche, making it much more interesting to dive deep instead of broad when it comes to content production.
Furio Magazine is currently implementing the Lean Start-Up methodology aiming to further develop an already existing online audience, before focusing on extensive content creation and eventually enforcing on getting the planned business model to work.
What is the time frame for your project delivery?
I started in September 2020 and hope to have completed it by August 2021.
Your experience of the project:
What were your biggest highlights whilst working on the project?
It was a great milestone when we reached our first 5000 followers on Instagram. We also received really great insight and inspiring comments from fans who experience the 80s and are now able to revisit that time via our content.
Selling our first item of branded merchandise was also a highlight!
What challenges did you encounter?
The first challenge was coming up with a suitable business model, which involved lots of research. Then it took a lot of time to find talented and passionate writers and taking them on board.
Finally, it took quite a bit of research and insights to understand the type of content our audience wanted to read and what they responded to most that would help us refine our output and content planning.
What do you feel you learned most from this project personally and professionally?
I really enjoyed taking a step back and starting to see the online magazine from a business perspective, having to make it commercially viable and appealing to readers, rather than from a music fan perspective.
It is so important to take action and respond to market changes and audience insights right away and learn as you go, even if the product isn’t finished or perfect yet, it is a constant process of learning and refining based on insight.
Another learning is that planning is everything, having all eventualities in your head!
What support did you have on the project?
We had great support from our supervisors throughout the project.
Your future career:
Has this project helped you decide on a future career choice?
While my supervisors really pushed me to develop something that is commercially sustainable, Furio Magazine only a passion project for me at this stage, next to my normal full-time job. But we’ll see what the future brings...
What advice would you share with anyone thinking about applying for this PG course?
In terms of the overall course, MSc in International Management and Leadership, I’d recommend you start thinking about a business idea or consultancy project as early as you can. Talk to your cohort, air your ideas, it’s great to get heads together and discuss things out loud to help formulate and tighten up ideas.
It’s worth developing organisational skills, you can reach out to the team at the Business Innovation Zone for support in this or reach out to your tutors who always make themselves available.
Allow yourself to learn as you go and identify your strengths and weaknesses!
With regards to the taking part in the Business Incubation Project specifically, again I would stress starting as early as you can on developing your project. It’s great to keep a diary as you go as well, to jot down ideas, pain points, successes and keep a record of how things progress – it's a great learning and reflection tool.
Test your product as much as possible, in as many ways possible (customer insights, talking to colleagues, analytics, surveys etc).
Use all the data available to you to make business decisions and inform your progress.
[Published July 2021]