MasterMedPrep: Our Start-Up Journey
Why did I start MasterMedPrep?
My name is Dan, and I am the founder of MasterMedPrep. Education has always played a huge role in my life, especially as I am the first person in my family to go to university and I believe strongly in widening participation. At the age of 16 I started tutoring out of my family’s dining room. I advertised by putting flyers up in my local area and through word of mouth. As I started university, I continued tutoring working for several tutoring companies.
I had a 100% success rate of getting my students into medical school and I was getting excellent feedback, so I wanted to expand this success. However, I got to the point where I could no longer cope with the demand on my own and I was frequently turning students away.
I had always wanted to start my own education project, but it seemed like an impossibly complicated and daunting prospect having to think about accounting, marketing, PR (Public Relations), recruitment, website development, content development, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and everything else that goes with business! The amazing support from the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and the Nick Sanders KickStarter Award made this dream a reality and helped me to navigate starting a business.
How has the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and the KickStarter Award helped me to start my business?
I came across the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and the KickStarter Awards when I was researching how to start a business and how to fund it. If I am honest, I was mainly attracted by the £1000 start up award available at that time for current students and recent graduates of the University of Manchester to explore a business idea.
I applied for the award and was successful. I used this award to help me to set up our website, develop content, and advertise our services. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the Nick Sanders KickStarter Award and the support from the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre extended far beyond the cash award.
I have had the opportunity to speak to experienced business-minded people within the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and access advice that has been so helpful to me starting a business. The opportunities have included speaking to a business planning expert, an intellectual property expert, and an accounting expert.
I faced the prospect of starting my first business on my own as the sole founder. However, the support of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre meant that I always had a network that I could rely on. Dr Laura Etchells, Enterprise Business Development Manager at the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, has been particularly helpful and we have regular catchups on my business plans.
I had the experience in education and the vision, but I needed the support of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and the Nick Sanders KickStarter Award to give me the business support I needed to turn this vision into a reality.
What would my advice be for people thinking about starting their own business?
- Get experience in the area that you are interested in. Any experience is good experience! This could be volunteering, working for a company, or even just chatting to people in your area of interest.
- Get a mentor! If you are a University of Manchester student or graduate, then I recommend getting in touch with the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre. If you are not, then reach out to people in your network – LinkedIn can be particularly helpful for this. People are generally friendly, and I always reply to people who send me interesting messages and ideas.
- Do your homework on your area of interest and competition – research, research, research. What is your unique selling point (USP)?
- Get a good team – you will need a good team if you are going to be successful.
- Never compromise your values – I am a true believer in sticking to the values that are important to you. I believe that in the long term you will always be rewarded for this.
- Make sure you are aware of the challenges of starting a business – you may lose any money you invest into your business. It will be more work than you think and it is a lot of responsibility. This is why it is so important to have a mentor and a network. The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre has helped me to navigate the challenges of starting a business.