Killer Cake PopsEdit
The Killer Cake Pops are an entrepreneurial venture that was founded in October 2014 for Dr. Bill Wales' entrepreneurship class. They specialize in selling customized cake pops for various events, charities, and local activities in the Harrisonburg, Virginia community.
The team is composed of David Bernhardt, Tom Manzella, and Ryan Altamirano. Together, the three have been able successfully combine their various skills and resources to create a profitable venture that has been consistently producing sales. Their vast social network allowed them to spread word of their famous cake pops around the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, which was pivotal in gaining an early advantage in the marketplace. They also took advantage of friends and family that were able to assist them with production of the pops, which allowed for a greater output of cake pops in a shorter period of time. Finally, their willingness to fail often and fail fast gave them the ability to recognize opportunities that would ultimately help their venture be successful.
Throughout the early stages of their venture, the team came up with several questions that lead them to their innovative insights. They are listed below:
How can marketing efforts be improved so that more people are made aware of the cake pops and become interested in buying them?
How can different themes be used to appeal to a wider variety of customers?
What if several large events were used as a channel to sell the cake pops?
How can a local charity be used as an advantage in terms of selling?
How can a large quantity of cake pops be produced without sacrificing quality?
Big Idea HypothesisEdit
"Our cake pops are intended for college students that are on the go and in need of a snack or pick-me-up during their busy day of classes. The cake pops are a small, customizable dessert that offer the benefit of being small enough to eat on the go while satisfying the customer's hunger. Unlike other snack options, our cake pops are customized based on where they're sold to offer aesthetic value and also are a lower calorie option due to their smaller size."
The venture is able to create value and use their innovative ideas to their advantage in several ways. First, by offering customized cake pops that vary based on the selling venue, the team can provide designs that appeal to the specific set of customers being targeted in any given setting. Also, the cake pops' flavor combinations give customers a choice and allow them to choose a cake pop that appeals to them. Finally, by being individually packaged, customers can take their cake pop on the go rather than being forced to eat it at the point of purchase.
The early adopters of the Killer Cake Pops were mostly college students that have a relationship with the three founding entrepreneurs. These customers were used to help determine what was most important to prospective customers and their input was crucial in determining what changes could be made to improve the product. They were willing to take a chance on our product due to it being very low risk ($2/pop) and to help improve it so that it would sell better in the long run.
The resources that are required for making the cake pops include all ingredients (cake mix, frosting, etc.), baking equipment (pans, oven), and the people making them.
The team learned several lessons in the early phases of their venture. Early in their venture, the team made the mistake of preparing a large amount of cake pops for a particular event without doing adequate research on the market. People at this event were offered several free treats in addition to the cake pops, so there was little interest in buying a product (difficult to compete with free). This was a valuable lesson because it made the entrepreneurs think more carefully about the demographics of their customers as well as their needs.