You could do with taking a leaf out of the Weasley twins’ book

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You could do with taking a leaf out of the Weasley twins’ book

 

 If you grew up reading and loving Harry Potter books, you are probably guilty of reading it more than you would like to admit. The older you get, the books become more relatable and myriad of aspect unfolds, uncovering different lights every time. It’s like peeling an onion. As a child, you learn about love, loyalty, friendship, bravery and all that good stuff. When you grow out of that stage and go through the transition into the awkward stage of being a teenager, it teaches you to be comfortable in your own skin. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be a Luna Lovegood in the world of Hermiones. Or the other way round. 

And as a BBA student who has taken ‘entrepreneurship’ class, the Weasley twins seem more than just goofy, fun loving pranksters. They, in fact, are savvy entrepreneurs who transformed from rags to riches through their venture. Their mother, Mrs. Weasley states, “I must say, I didn’t approve at first, but they do seem to have a bit of flair for business.”

For those who are not familiar with the Harry Potter franchise, let’s set the scene. Imagine walking along the street which was once bustling with happy people buying potions, cauldrons, wands and magical creatures to be turned desolate with half the shops closed down and people anxious and scared to be out in the open. In this gloomy alley, amidst rundown shops, there is an obnoxiously decorated shop with people ambling around with smiles in their faces and a large purple poster that says,

“WHY ARE YOU WORRYING ABOUT

YOU-KNOW-WHO?

YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT

U-NO-POO--

THE CONSTIPATION SENSATION

THAT'S GRIPPING THE NATION!”

(You-know-who aka Lord Voldemort is a Hitler- esque powerful wizard who is chasing after immortality while wanting to kill off the race he deems inferior.)

The rag- to-riches story of the Weasley twins is in fact inspiring. We can learn a lot from their experiences and mistakes as we, of course, do not have the time to make those mistakes and learn ourselves. Aspiring entrepreneurs should take a leaf out of the twins’ book and learn from their experiences. Here are some of the tips from the proud owner of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.

Transfigure your passion into business 

 

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The twins have been able to show us that if you have passion to do something, it will outshine any kind of adversities. The twins have a penchant for mischief and a knack of pulling epic pranks. They combined their passion and business to form a novelty joke shop located at Number 93, Diagon Alley. Despite having many obstacles – be it financial problem, lack of support from family, dangerous circumstance to live in or banning of their products in Hogwarts – the twins shouldered on due to their passion and love for creating mischief and conjuring smiles.

Lesson: As a budding entrepreneur, it is vital to be madly passionate about your business. If the passion fades, so will the venture. 

“If the passion fades, so will the venture.”

 

Know your customer, do the homework.

 

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Before moving forward with their ideas, the twins had already understood why market research is essential, and that it is the base ground for any entrepreneurial idea to materialize. They carefully analysed the needs, demands and problems of the Hogwarts students. They then created products that would fulfil the needs, solve the problems and meet the demand. One of their creations is Skiving Snack Boxes, which contained pills that would make the students ill so that they could bunk classes. They had a separate product line for witches called the Wonderwitch, which ranged from Pygmy Puffs to Ten-Second Pimple Vanisher . They created products to fit the needs of their target market. They even considered buying Zonko’s Joke Shop and opening a branch in Hogsmeade to reach their Hogwarts customers.

Lesson: It is essential for entrepreneurs to know their target market, the needs and wants of their customers. Do a market research. Learn the customer's’ psyche and then cater to their needs.

 

Give the loop a try

The twins follow the ‘build, measure and learn’ feedback loop, another important theoretical framework in startup world, while developing their products. They built a product, tested it out, got feedbacks , improved on them and created antidotes and counter hexes. They would introduce a prototype in the Gryffindor common room, have fellow Gryffindors try them out either voluntarily or by tricking them, mostly when it's crowded.  If they got laughs out of them, they would sell the products to rest of the eager students. They would also look at the reactions and effects on the students, get an instant feedback and then fine tune and perfect them. An instance of this approach is when Neville turns into a bird,in the crowded common room quickly gaining the interest of fellow Gryffindors. This is a demonstration of  "canary creams" that turns a person into a canary after eating them. They got instant feedback from their target market.

Lesson: Instead of spending years and years planning, you can create a minimal viable product (MVP) and introduce it to the market and test them out. The response from the consumers will give you the direction of what to do next,whether you need to tweak the product or to just drop it. So, if you have to fail, fail early and save much of your resources, including time and energy.

 

Keep calm and respond to changes 

 

(Source: images.pottermore.com)

In a falling market, it is necessary to adapt, and Weasley Twins never shied away from reacting to changes. For instance, during the bleak time when Voldemort and the Death eaters were terrorizing the wizarding world, the twins came up with more serious range of protective gears. The Ministry of Magic bought 500 shield hats for the support staff that could not conjure a counterspell or project a shield. This prompted a product line of shield hats, cloaks, gloves, and so on, which were the money makers.

Lesson: It is important to be flexible to respond to the changes in the environment and stay afloat when the tides turn.

“Instead of spending years and years planning, you can create a minimal viable product (MVP) and introduce it to the market and test them out. The response from the consumers will give you the direction of what to do next,whether you need to tweak the product or to just drop it”

 

Persistence pays 

Despite all the challenges that came their way, the twins did not give up on their dream, like most successful entrepreneurs. Instead, they searched for ways to solve them. Their mom, Mrs. Weasley, disapproved the idea of the twins opening up a joke shop. She initially wanted them to have jobs in the Ministry of Magic like their father. So she burnt the order form of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and also destroyed the Ton Tongue Toffees they tried to smuggle out of the house while leaving for the Quidditch World Cup. They had spent six months developing those. Regardless, they continued working on their products even after that setback. 

“Entrepreneurs need to tackle all the obstacles that come their way and should continue believing in their venture.  And if you are a witch or wizard, just cast a Reducto spell to reduce those obstacles into rubbles.”

Another instance that tested their mettle was when they lost a bet with Ludo Bagman during the  Quidditch World Cup. They bet all their life savings, the money they had saved up for their shop. They gambled that Ireland would win the match but Victor Krum would get the snitch. Although they did win the wager, they got hoodwinked by Bagman when he paid them in leprechaun gold. As Leprechaun gold, although looks authentic, vanishes after few hours, they lost all their money that was set aside to open up a joke shop. Harry later gave them a seed fund of 1000 Galleons to kick start Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. They ended up being successful and declined Harry’s offer to pay saying “You gave us our startup loan, we haven’t forgotten”.

Lesson: Entrepreneurs need to tackle all the obstacles that come their way and should continue believing in their venture.  And if you are a witch or wizard, just cast a Reducto spell to reduce those obstacles into rubbles. 

A parting note for the budding entrepreneurs by one of the founders, Fred Weasley, “Where is the fun without a hint of risk?”

 

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Guest Saturday, 29 January 2022