Timsi’s reflective blog
Roy Ash: “An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it” (Pompa, 2019).
Very well said, this is quite true about all entrepreneurs I assume. As I remember from my entrepreneurial days, oh yes, I have been an entrepreneur for four years! A very good experience indeed, it was definitely fun, but I also learned a lot and discovered my true self and desires. Going back to the memory lane, I can very well relate to the above quote by Roy Ash. As an entrepreneur I always took risks, wanting more, and in spite of a few failures I did succeed. Not just a fashion designer anymore, within two years I was known as the ‘young female entrepreneur’ in my vicinity.
As rightly said by Albert Einstein, “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value” (Pompa, 2019), the success was not in earning profit, but in the love and loyalty from my customers to being announced as the first and the best young entrepreneur. This made several experienced businessmen want to partner up with me. Now that is what I call success! The journey started from freelancing as a fashion designer to soon owning a boutique of my own followed by a retail store for men’s and women’s accessories. In a little while, I was able to start another venture of hand and machine embroidery.
Not just in fashion, after being approached by several businessmen and their business proposals, I decided to start a new business in partnership with a baker. Working in the food industry was always my interest which led to the birth of my first bakery ‘The Bake Room’. This is not the end, while working for all these businesses, I realised I wanted to be a business woman and not just a fashion designer. I wanted to grow my businesses and work in almost all the fields possible, but my knowledge in business was not enough, and this brought me here in Kingston University.
Past eight months studying in the university have been a great learning experience. I was introduced to many new concepts and theories. My studies have helped me increase my knowledge in business management and international expansion, and here comes the most important subject ‘Design Thinking’. This module taught me various ways of doing a business, right from scratch of identifying a customer need and business opportunity to actually running a business. The main criteria of this module was to work in teams.
Working in a team can be quite challenging. However, it is equally important and helpful. As Michael Jordan states, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” Keeping this quote in mind, my team and I went through an intense session of brainstorming and discussions. After hours of debates we finally came up with a business idea called Fit Me – an exercise card game, an initiative to encourage people to work out more and add variations to make exercise fun.
Designing of Fit Me
Once the decision was made of the business idea, we were then into designing of the brand and logo. I was working with very talented team mates which helped us design not just the logo, but the entire game, from its logo to creating the game and its rules. This was enjoyable and a great learning opportunity. We were also successful in obtaining IP and creating a website, and realised the importance of marketing. In this project, we were well-off in taking Fit Me forward, and participated in various competitions where we had to prepare presentations and pitch in front of judges and investors.
With an excellent flow of team work, we were able to achieve quite a few milestones and make a mark. To start with we were in the finals for Bright Ideas competition and won the best display stand award at a trade fair held by our very own Kingston University. Furthermore, we also won the Dragons Den competition and got selected in the Young Enterprise UK finals. In addition, our team was also successful in selling our product to real customers in a trade fair at Kingston Town Centre.
Kingston University Trade Fair
Kingston town Centre Trade Fair
Through all these competitions and opportunities, we received valuable feedback and suggestions from our judges and customers. This helped us in improving and redesigning our product for better impact. Right from developing a business idea, designing and manufacturing the product to selling it to the world was quite challenging, but we never stopped. We thrived hard every single time to achieve success and recognition, and learned the importance of ‘sustainability’ of a business.
Design Thinking, along with all the various opportunities, not only helped me enhance my presentation skills, but it also helped me boost my self-confidence. After playing the role of a design thinker, I learned new techniques of running a business, and also to be innovative and creative as an entrepreneur. Earlier when I had my own other ventures I thought I knew quite a few things but being a part of this team made me think otherwise. My critical thinking skills were improved and at the same time I understood the responsibilities of being a part of the team and working as a single unit.
John A. Shedd, author and professor, said “A ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” (Anon, 2019). It, honestly, is very important to get out of your comfort zone for new learnings and taking risks as it broadens your horizons and helps you grow as a person. This is also the same for businesses and this is what makes a good entrepreneur.
These techniques and theories helped us in growing and understanding the different aspects of business, which eventually resulted in the making of our product, Fit Me. This journey of starting a business venture with complete strangers to becoming a team and growing together has taught me a lot. I am confident enough that this experience that I have gained throughout this project has helped me in becoming a better leader, a better team player and the most important of all, being a better entrepreneur. In addition, currently, my only goal is to use these theories in practical work where hard work and taking risks would not be ruled out. As it is rightly said by Walt Disney, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” (Pompa, 2019)
Anon, (2019). [online] Available at: https://lifehacker.com/a-ship-in-harbor-is-safe-but-that-is-not-what-ships-a-1780470980 [Accessed 25 Apr. 2019].
Pompa, M. (2019). 30 Inspirational Entrepreneurs Quotes to Motivate Them for Greatness. [online] The BigCommerce Blog. Available at: https://www.bigcommerce.co.uk/blog/quotes-for-entrepreneurs/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2019].