Note to Future Self

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.

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The Entrepreneurial Way

entrepreneur2What is it to be an entrepreneur? It’s certainly not just about owning a business; it’s a lot more than that. It’s about conviction and the way you think. Entrepreneurs do things differently and being an entrepreneur is not easy. It brings a lot of challenges along with it, and one should be bold enough to take risks and accept failures. As Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot, rightly said, “You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end” (Pande, 2019). Being entrepreneurial means to know the industry well and be able to make the most of the knowledge to create new opportunities. The path to becoming an entrepreneur has no limits, it also about attitude and perspective to strive for change instead of settling in to routines and exact plans.

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A workshop for students by Kingston University, hackathon consists of two stages – one where you work entrepreneurs and help them with their business, and two where you were given a topic and had to identify the business opportunity and come up with a business idea. For the first stage, there were several business owners who faced challenges. We had to team-up with one of the owners and help them tackle their problems. To start with it, it was important to know more about the business and the problem. We had to interview the owner to dig in and get the insights with would better help us come up with solution.

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Young Enterprise

Young Enterprise is a platform for students to run their business. It consists of various competitions and organises trade fair to experiment and re-design the product or business (plan and model) based on the valuable feedback provided by the judges and customers for better results and success. Students were provided with support and networking throughout.

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Dragon’s Den (Part 2)

After the mock dragon’s den which was held in December 2018, based on the feedback from the judges we had to make a lot of changes in our product and business pitch. Yes, this was quite a pressure as we had to start from scratch. Going through our business model, we had to re-consider our target customers and increase our research work. By the final Dragon’s Den competition, we were all ready with the best product and pitch.

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Bright Ideas

Bright Ideas, an initiative by Kingston University’s Enterprise department, is a competition which gives you a platform to pitch in your business ideas. The main aim of this competition is to encourage young entrepreneurs and guide them with their business idea.

My team also participated in this competition and our hard work paid off as we were one of the finalists. It all started in October 2018 when we were just in our initial stage. After a lot of brainstorming, we came with a business opportunity and carried it forward with the research work to know more about the industry, market and customers. The process was not easy, based on our research and feedback, we had to change or modify our product.

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Trade Fair

Running a business could be quite stimulating and the most challenging part is to earn profits and value. It is not only about selling a product, but also about building customer relationship. Gaining loyalty from customers is very important for any business to survive. Designing eye-catchy products and marketing them is enough to attract customers, but what when they approach you for buying the product?

Online retail is quite simple as images and description do the work for you, but when you have to deal with the customers face to face and to convince them to buy the product is the actual task I feel; you have to be able to answer or solve all their questions and issues. As we learned in designing thinking – we have to empathise with them. It is essential to identify their needs and quickly analyse how your product can fulfill those needs.

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Dragon’s Den

Before leaving for Christmas holidays, we had an opportunity to present our business idea to the judges in our mock Dragon’s Den. Our group SKKT is designing a product FitMe!, which is an exercise game – an initiative to motivate people to work out more. We pitched our idea to the judges and got valuable feedback.

It was a five minutes pitch followed by Q and A with the judges which got over in a blink of an eye, but the time that went into the preparation was a lot and a played a part in increasing each student’s nervousness. We started with the preparation almost a week before and kept practicing as a team and individually, but it still was not enough. The anxiety kept on building.

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From brainstorming to bodystormig

I have heard and learned about brainstorming techniques before. It is a method used to generate ideas to solve design related problems, but what I never heard before was about bodystorming. Bodystorming is a technique used to develop new ideas by physically experiencing a problem. This included different methods such as empathy and ideation to help create a tangible prototype or solution.

To understand this concept, we did an in-class exercise of how we would redesign the university for wheelchair users to make it more convenient for them. For this, one individual from each group had to sit in the wheelchair and perform various tasks and the rest of the group members had to observe how easy or difficult the task was for the wheelchair user.

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The importance of team work

Everyone’s CV has ‘effective team management’ listed in their skill set. Does it necessarily mean everyone is just as effective working in a team as the next person? Personally, I have always been able to work well in a team environment. Be it as a team member or a team manager I enjoy the experience of working with people.

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