At Swanky, we often talk about creating and championing a culture of entrepreneurship across the agency. We’ve long wanted to create a viable, profitable and sustainable D2C business within Swanky that could encapsulate some of our most important values, including trust, adaptability and strategy, and provide fast track insights into ecommerce business management for our people – particularly those at the beginning of their careers.
Now, we’re doing just that – with a competitive twist. We’re delighted to introduce our new internal entrepreneurial competition, which we’re calling Unleashed! Inspired by Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank for our North American friends) the goal is to give our people the opportunity to dream up and pitch their most compelling ecommerce business plans for the chance to turn that idea into a reality.
Here are just a few of the benefits we’re excited to see from Unleashed:
- Tool expertise and experience – giving more of our people more access to all of the tools, integrations and platforms that feature in our clients’ tech stacks
- Leadership development – we’re encouraging some new faces to step up and lead teams
- Building understanding and empathy with our clients – whilst many of our teams have experience running their own Shopify stores, for others this will be a vital opportunity to step into clients’ shoes and gain a fuller appreciation for the challenges of running a D2C ecommerce store
- Increased collaborative environments – the cross-disciplinary nature of our Unleashed teams is giving Swanky team members the chance to work closely with colleagues from other parts of the business
- Experience budgeting and forecasting – the winning entry will need credible and accurate financial projections
- Gaining an understanding of life in bootstrap – as a bootstrapped business ourselves, we think that this is a valuable mindset that we’re keen to retain embedded in our culture
- Operations experience within D2C and B2B – whilst the scope of our services continues to grow, and we’re involved in nearly every aspect of our clients’ ecommerce stores, this will be a unique opportunity to see and own the entire end-to-end process of selling online through a Shopify store
- Career and entrepreneurship acceleration – as a business we’re keen to encourage our people to achieve their full potential, whether that’s through accelerating their careers at Swanky or by pursuing their side hustle (and we think Unleashed will help with both)
How it works
Sticking to a given year 1 start-up budget, teams will battle it out creating business plans for their very own Shopify D2C store to be built and run by Swanky!
Split into four phases, teams will develop their business ideas in preparation for a final gala pitching event scheduled for April. Without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how the competition works.
Phase 1: Brainstorming
During the initial entry phase of Unleashed, participants submitted their top-level ideas for consideration by the board. Five ideas were selected for their business potential and suitability, and allocated to fairly-weighted teams, each of which contains a blend of skill-set and experience.
Phase 2: Teamwork
After nominating a lead, delegating roles and responsibilities, and agreeing on their vision and values, each team has begun work on building out their ideas into a fuller pitch proposition.
The aim of this phase is to yield a sound business plan with profit potential. Each plan will cover components of a successful pitch, including the problem the team is trying to solve, market relevance, the product, finances, and a go-to market strategy.
By the end of this stage, teams will also receive pitch training to develop their skills!
Phase 3: The pitch
On Thursday 7th April 2022, we’re excited to be hosting ‘The Great Unleashed Pitch Event,’ which will feature a judging panel made up of successful entrepreneurs and business coaches.
Teams will each deliver 10-minute pitches that cover their proposed go-to-market plan, including platform and technical requirements, market analysis, and a forecast for years 1 and 2 of operations.
Following this gala pitching event, the winning team will be decided based on their ability to demonstrate revenue and profit potential, as well as a clear understanding of how the collective expertise at Swanky can most effectively be leveraged to create a fast-growth store. There will be bonus points for sustainability features, given our commitment to operating as a climate positive ecommerce agency.
Phase 4: Launch
Following an initial period of consultation to firm up the winning business plan, we’ll be holding a weekend hackathon in April to launch our new venture!
The successful pitch will see the involvement of wider team members over the course of the year, allowing Swanky as a whole to celebrate and adopt the winning idea, and ensure the success of the business proposal with appropriately allocated resources.
We can’t wait to see how our teams get on over the next few weeks and look forward to diving headfirst into our first Swanky-led D2C venture!
Your Shopify Plus agency
Rest assured that whilst we’re pursuing our own D2C adventure on Shopify, it’s still very much business as usual here at Swanky.
So, if you’re a business looking for help with your store design, Shopify Plus migration or digital marketing strategy, we’d love to hear from you! We’re passionate about helping ambitious, high-growth brands unlock their potential and achieve their ecommerce dreams. Get in touch with our friendly team of Shopify Plus experts today.
And if Unleashed sounds like the kind of venture you’d like to be part of in your workplace, you can find all of our current vacancies here.