Reflective Essay- ‘From a student to an Entrepreneur’

I come from a joint family and we have business from past forty years. I have a great influence of my father on me and I always knew that one day I wanted to start my own business. After completing secondary college I choose Foreign Trade for my graduation. During my graduation days I was attracted to imports and exports and was keen on making this as my career. Although I am from a business family background, I never got an opportunity to work with my father. Due to this I was lacking practical experience. I knew that having only theoretical knowledge was not enough and was waiting for an appropriate opportunity.
When I first heard about the Entrepreneurship course in Kingston University in felt that this was the right chance to develop my business skills and become a successful entrepreneur. I was aware of the fact that business culture in my country has been changed a lot. Many multinational companies have been settled and have become strong since last decade. To resist this competition I wanted to build some growth strategies. After enrolling in this module I have definitely gained a lot of experience. I got an opportunity to start my own business and I have learnt my mistakes as an Entrepreneur.
During the course:
Out of the comfort zone:
In my graduation, I had hardly talked with my professors and had never presented anything in front of my classmates. Even in the other modules we didn’t have any one to one interaction with the professors. But Entrepreneurship module was different. The best part was the style of taking attendance. Every Friday the class started with a question and some really interesting answers. But this was new to me. In starting I felt very uncomfortable in giving answers and Friday was the scariest day of the week. But I realized that if I have to improve my skills, then I have to move out of my comfort zone. I trained my mind and made it believe that there’s nothing wrong in making mistakes. The first step I took to move out of my comfort zone was to face the fear. I did all the things that we impossible for me. I started this by talking with my classmates. Initially by say Hi. Then I started talking with them on social sites after the class or by sending them text messages. These small steps really helped me to improve my communication skills. As I developed good bonding with some of my classmates then it was never a difficulty in entering the class room.
I was never a tech savvy boy. In fact gadgets had a last preference in my life. On top of that when we were needed to post blogs on wordpress.com and twitter, I was in the shock. But then I decided that I will never say no. I decided to educate myself. Posting of blog is still a tough job for me, but still at least now I know how to write them. (Edberg, H. 2011) (Cynthia. 2010)
Time Management:
Managing Time is like going on a battle field as I do thing repetitively and get easily tired of doing things. In beginning of I faced lots of problem in managing between Entrepreneurship and other modules. Fridays were the most hectic days as I had two continuous lectures with no break and Entrepreneurship module was one of them. Also as the module move forward, I realized that I had loads of work pending. As I was a fresher with no work experience, I lacked in Time Management skills. At that time I made sure that I will improve my time management skills. The first step towards time management was to never put things on pending for later when they can be finished today. This change in the attitude made thing easy and I was able to finish work on time. Second step was that I had made a schedule for the things which were unfinished. I also made sure I regularly follow the routine. I also started sorting my pending work into two groups, Time Consuming and Fast Finishing. This division helped in calculating what time it would take to finish a specific work. I had also prepared ‘Things to do list’ and the things were ranked as per the priority. I had also made sure that things were completed in the same sequence. (Albert. 2011)
Team Management:
I strongly believe that my family is successful in business because my uncle’s and my father work in teams. From my childhood days I have observed my family business and have come to the conclusion that team working is one of the important aspects of successful business. I always wanted to work in teams but in my graduation more preference was given to the individual performance. In this module I got an opportunity to work on team management strategies. In most of the lectures we were needed to team up with other classmates and perform the task. During this duration I have learnt many important facts about team management. First thing in team management was motivation. At times when all of us were clueless on the given task, motivation always helped us to boost up our confidence. Also I have learned that communication plays a vital role in team management. Communication does mean only within the group but also outside the group. For communication within the group we required to take some short group meetings, decided how we would execute the task. I have also learnt an important thing that in teams there is no space for I, there’s always we. In group meeting it’s not always that everything runs smoothly. Sometimes there are clashes of ideas and some disputes in team members. At this situation the most important thing is to maintain discipline and focus on the completion of the task. (Mind Tools. 2011)
Leadership:
Successful business always has a powerful leader behind it. I always had feeling that I can be a good leader but never got chance to show it. This module not only gave me the opportunity to lead in my groups but also gave chance to improve my leadership skills. Honesty is the most important quality a leader should posses. Honesty here means dedication towards team and the given task to perform. Leader also needs to be clear about the aims and objectives for their team and should always remind these aims to his team members. I have also learnt that whatever task we had been given in the class, it had to be executed in a strategic manner. Thus leader should know the strategy and should have a vision before performing any task. Leader is also needed to have good relationship with his team members. These relationships grow stronger with good interpersonal and group discussion. I have also learnt that things always never go as they are planned to. There should be always a plan B. Thus every leader should keep this in mind and should develop an adaptable attitude. The final thing I have learnt in Leadership is decision making. Every successful leader makes right decision at right time. (What are good leadership skills. 2007)
Application of GROW model in Business:
The best part of the Entrepreneurship module was the business. I got an opportunity to start my own business. Yes I know the business we started is small, but the practical experience which I have gained will definitely help me I future. The beginning phase where I was needed to choose my business partners was tough. After I was teamed up with my other two friends then the stage came where we were needed to decide our product. We made some mistakes in product designing which not only affected us cost wise but also it wasted our time. Finally we came up with the product called ‘Laptop Jacket’ under the company B’KOS. This journey from a student to an Entrepreneur can be explained with the help of GROW model.
 Goal:
As all of my business partners including me had a very less business experience, the most important thing for running successful business was to set our business goals. When you set goals for business success, one needs to specify the meaning of success. According to me success depends upon the satisfaction that an entrepreneur receives from his business. Yes we also set our business goals. Our primary goal was to develop a unique product which will satisfy our customers need. Like all other business, our second aim was profit. We know our goals were big, but we divided these into parts. I feel small goals are worth working because they lead business towards big success. Now when the goals were set we made a schedule and made sure that everyone follows it. We also made possible changes according to the situation and finally our company B’KOS came up with the unique product which was not yet available in the market. And thus our first goal was completed. Now to complete our second we had to look for the proper opportunities. (Ward, S. 2011) (Peach, J. 2010)
Reality:
Were never had a doubt on our second goal. And why should we have a doubt? Our product was unique; we had the potential to make it available in all colors and sizes, we knew our target market. But for achieving profit this was not enough. We looked upon all our resources and tried to find out whether we really had any resources which can help us in designing and developing our product. We also checked that do we really have capital, contacts and equipments to produce this product and make profit. The most difficult part in reality stage was the difference in opinion and believes of team members. We were not yet ready to accept the fact about where do we really are? We were needed to answer the questions like; Where will we design and manufacture the product? Should we outsource the product? Where should we outsource the product from? What would be the cost of product? (Griffiths, B. 2011)
Obstacles and Options:
While we were trying to answer the above question, it seemed that we had many obstacles in running our business. The first obstacle was that we were not able to find any manufacturer in UK. Some companies agreed but the manufacturing cost was too high. Thus if we had manufactured our product from UK itself then it was impossible to resist in the competition. Now when we realized our product was needed to be outsourced, then there problem of lack of experience. All three of us had never exported or imported anything and thus we also lacked in gaining contacts. But then we realized that certainly there will be obstacles which would be stopping us from running business. So we decided to treat those obstacles as facts and tried not to get lost into judgments. We also decided to identify these obstacles. (Griffiths, B. 2011)
After all our obstacles were identified, the next step we took was to find options to solve our problems. During the time when we were busy in finding the options I came to know that some options are useful for solving problem at once while some take a while. Never ignore any option, because sometimes it happens that what today you are feeling as obstacle may tomorrow turn into your greatest asset. (Griffiths, B. 2011)
Way Forward:
This was the last stage. After finding all the solutions for the problems, then was the task to execute those problems. In this stage you have to choose the options in sequence and in combinations to achieve goal. We have also taken measure that whatever steps we take are clear and will surely lead us towards success. The steps that we had had taken were firstly we decided to outsource our product from India. This not only reduced the cost of our product, but also it made sure that we would resist in the competition. Second step we took was to change the fabric of our product, so that it looks more luxurious and can be washed easily. We also started developing contacts with retailers both in India and in UK. (Griffiths, B. 2011)
Now we are on a stage where I and my other two partners are happy about the business that we are making out of our Laptop Jacket. Our Jacket is ready in many colors and sizes. And I stand as a proud owner of B’KOS Company with a long term plan of running this business.

Bibliography
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Alice. (2010). Reflective Essay…. Available: http://iamthroughthelookingglass.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/reflective-essay/. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
Cynthia. (2010). The MACE Journey. Available: http://cyndyblogs.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/the-mace-journey/. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
Edberg, H. (2011). 7 Ways to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone and Live a More Exciting Life. Available: http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2007/08/22/7-ways-to-break-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-live-a-more-exciting-life/. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
Griffiths, B. (2011). The Grow Model. Available: http://www.bobgriffiths.com/grow_model.htm. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
Griffiths, B. (2011). W is for Way Forward. Available: http://www.bobgriffiths.com/way_forward.htm. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
Mind Tools. (2011). Team Management Skills . Available: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_92.htm. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
Peach, J. (2010). How will the creative economy MA help me achieve my long term career. Available: http://thisbigcity.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/how-will-the-creative-economy-ma-help-me-achieve-my-long-term-career-goals/. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
Ward, S. (2011). Set Specific Goals to Increase Success. Available: http://sbinfocanada.about.com/cs/successprogram/a/week2.htm. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.
What are good leadership skills. (2007). Example Leadership Skills List: 10 Great Leader Qualities. Available: http://www.what-are-good-leadership-skills.com/example-leadership-skills.html. Last accessed 22nd May 2011.

Social Marketing

With YouTube in the top 5 UK sites, Facebook, the most searched for brand in the UK and Twitter, most popular site in UK, it is enough to calculate how much business they give. HitWise reported that retailers are receiving more traffic from social media sites.
Most companies are rushing into the bandwagon of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook, exposing them in front of an audience. Setting up a profile, uploading video or some pictures, posting something on Twitter, all don’t require much skill.
This is because social media are a highly interactive two-way medium. Success depends by the level of user engagement. To achieve this, an appropriate message, added value element as well as strong content is primarily important.
Social marketing is getting complicated as there are a number of terms and conditions involved in the process now. To help companies avoid being banned from such marketing they need to keep a few key factors in mind:
• Communicate. Be sincere and informative.
• Integrate. Have a central strategy to social media interaction.
• Source content. Social networks are content hungry. Find clever and cheap ways to source valuable content.
• Use an agency. Some tasks are too time-consuming and require a helping hand.
• Rethink your pitch. Think about the user and why would they absorb your message. Be fun and be clever in your marketing.

Branding

Now there’s . . . ONLINE BRAND POWER! Are you building it?
No matter what website, blog or social media site you go to in the marketing, business, advertising and sales space, branding and personal branding are going to come up. It is important as it will make all the difference in your personal and business success in the long term.
We’ve gone to the dawning of the age of Brand-Power.
The terms ‘brand’ and ‘branding’ can be integral to a business’ success. Branding gets to the core of your business’ values. It discovers and communicates the essence of your business and what it delivers to customers.
In short, your brand creates your business’ reputation and its ‘personality’. A strong brand can make your business stand out from the crowd.

Here are 12 ways to enhance and develop your “brand power.”
• Be practical, tactical and useful
• Be easy to find and understand
• Be helpful and solve problems, pain or fear
• Be authentic
• Be caring, kind and generous
• Be grateful
• Be respectful and have integrity
• Be indispensable
• Be resilient
• Be responsive
• Be paying it forward and giving back
• Be fun and have a sense of humour

Importance of Trade Fair

As a small business start-up, it is
essential to attend a trade exhibition of products and suppliers relevant to
the marketplace of our business that operates within our own. It can be either
side of the spectrum as a supplier of products or a buyer of products – either
way, trade shows and exhibitions present a profitable opportunity for all
businesses.

But what makes these trade fairs an
important opportunity to the buyers and suppliers.

As a buyer:

  • An opportunity to network with
    other buyers and discuss business.
  • Lucrative opportunities to meet
    suppliers and product vendors from across the globe, see product
    demonstrations, discuss pricing and product specifics.
  • A chance to advertise your own
    business.
  • Experience an industry standard
    trade exhibition made up of industry professionals and your competitors.

As a supplier:

  • The supplier also has an
    opportunity to showcase products to a massive audience of targeted buyers from
    across the globe.
  • An excellent opportunity to
    meet buyers face to face, discuss possible deals and make sales or agree future
    business arrangements.
  • A chance to meet other
    suppliers, compare the market or perform market research.
  • A chance to offer your
    stock-list/price-list to qualified buyers and gain their trust and contact
    details in exchange.

Rabat Grand Theatre

ZahaHadid together with LemghariEssakl
signed a contract for the architectural plan of Rabat Grand Theatre.

Occupying a total land area of nearly
47000sq.m with a floor area of nearly 27000sq.m, the innovatory Rabat Grand Theatre
is considered to be a cultural spot. With a capacity to accommodate; 2,050
seats. It features creative studios with fully equipped outdoor amphitheatre
capable of accommodating 7,000 people. The cost of this project is estimated at
£100 Million.

It is expected that the Grand Theatre would
be located in the Moroccan capital, the Bouregreg Valley. Wide ranges of
housing, leisure and hospitality complexes are also expected by the year 2014,
which add more popularity to the Grand Theatre.

With its dynamic, innovative design and
cutting-edge infrastructure, the Rabat Grand Theatre will be a major landmark
in the region.

“I am delighted to be building the Grand
Theatre in Rabat”, said ZahaHadid. “Morocco’s unique musical traditions and
rich cultural history in the performing arts are renowned throughout the world.
I am honoured to be part of the cultural development of the nation’s capital.”

Qualities in Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs need to be Extraordinary

Becoming an entrepreneur, directs to
carrying out a change in YOU. Getting up, exhibiting your vision, taking
action, and pursuing your vision.

Below are eight very distinct
characteristics of a successful Entrepreneur that you must instil in your
mind-set.

  • Discipline: Working everyday
    towards your vision.  Being able to move
    aside every distraction, this may derail your dream.
  • Optimistic: Foreseeing things
    in a positive way.   Not allowing
    circumstances to hinder your progress.
  • Creativity: Learning to build
    in a thought process which is outside the box.
    Expanding your mind to what is beyond the ordinary.
  • Confidence: Knowing that what
    you are doing will lead to your success.
  • Charismatic: As a great entrepreneur
    you will begin to have that Passion that gleams.
  • Calculated Risk Taker: You must
    be stern and you must have the guts to plunge into your success. You cannot be
    afraid to take a risk when an opportunity is at your door.
  • Time Bound:  As an entrepreneur in the making, you must be
    on top of every innovation.  You must be
    able to look at the past successes and failures so that you can move ahead
    towards future.
  • Passion: As an entrepreneur
    must be willing to go the extra mile to reach the finish line.

Interactive Mirror

An Interactive Mirror is a mirror that you
can interact with. Looking at you in the mirror everyday has become so
out-dated. So, now one can actually manipulate its use with the help of the
mirror’s touch-screen surface to do every possible thing – from trying out new
clothes and hairstyles, to giving you a tan.

These gadgets would certainly revolutionise
our ways of shopping for fashion forever.

Basically, it’s a pane of mirrored glass
portraying rear-projected content. While standing in front of it, one can take
a glance at their own reflection AND the projected image as well. In-built
sensors register when one reaches out to a “hot spot,” by building an
interaction with the content by touching the screen.

Throw in some full motion video and graphics,
a dash of flash animation, still photography and dynamic type, plus some
responsive sound – and voila! Your Interactive Mirror is complete.

A camera relays live video images of
oneself to a website while they stand in front of it in order to turn the in
person shopping experience into a virtual one. It converts the idea of shopping
with friends into the realm of social networking sites like MySpace,
Friendster, Twitter and Facebook. They build a connection between online
shoppers and the physical high-street store.

As soon as one visits the
interactively-mirrored fitting room, they are able to log in, check stock and
try on every type of thrilling new products. The store could also save one’s
data – body shape, size etc., and then target on the personalised schemes with
fashion advice.

A splash of Collaborative Marketing by the
high street brands could take place by colliding with the neighbouring store or
footwear specialist to cross-sell to each other’s customers. Henceforth,
possibilities are unimaginable!