How WBS helped me build a business in lockdown
16 June 2020

Adam Uttley discusses how his Executive MBA has given him the confidence and knowledge to launch a new business venture during lockdown. 

Lockdown has been really tough on a lot of people. Not only has it affected the income of some, it has taken a toll on the mental health of many too. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had a side-project that I could throw myself into during this period and to have WBS to support me.

When I commenced my MBA, I did so with the primary objective of equipping myself with the knowledge and skills to start my own business, although I had no idea where to start. I am not working at the moment and I had intended to get some consulting work over the summer to provide me some income, but lockdown completely killed that idea. Instead, I decided to use the time to really push ahead with my dissertation and explore a business idea that had recently been forming in my mind.

Remarkably, it has been an extremely good time to formulate and develop ideas. Firstly, so many people have been accessible and generous with their time. It has been remarkably easy to find people to pick their brains about new ideas as many have had more time on their hands. Zoom has also really helped with this as it has been a great substitute for face-to-face meetings and what it lacks in proximity it more than makes up for in efficiency (no travelling!), and I have made so many great connections during this time. A second benefit of people having more time has been the volume of people interested in participating in market research as they have been much more willing to spend 10 minutes on a survey and a pilot. Instead of the 100 responses I expected, the number of responses has been boosted to over 750 in just 2 weeks. Undertaking the survey has been made so much easier for both the participants and I by the free Qualtrics software that is available to all WBS students – an extremely powerful and user-friendly market research tool.

The personal support I have received from WBS has also been fantastic during this time. Although I haven’t had any formal teaching during lockdown, I have been able to get lots of time with my Project and Dissertation supervisor and from my Executive Career Coach. The latter has made a huge difference to me, helping to unlock the right mindset to just go for it and put myself out there, and this has been supported in a big way by my amazing colleagues in my cohort and beyond, who have encouraged me every step of the way.

All of this has meant that from a standing start in early March, I’ve been able to build a business in a remarkably short period of time. I have now launched Sobersauce, a service to let people discover amazing-tasting, and healthy, non-alcoholic beers. Without WBS, my inspiring cohort and, indeed, the lockdown period, this wouldn’t have happened.

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