by Sudeshna Dutt
I must say that this module has by far been one of the most interesting modules I have ever taken in SMU in terms of getting a hands-on experience as well as facing several significant ups and downs in just over 13 weeks.
I’m one of those who never really saw entrepreneurship as a viable path since I knew myself best. I was one who could work well under orders, guidelines and occasionally lead as well. To me, I always saw an entrepreneur as someone who was in charge of having to plant the seeds all the way to maintaining the plant in tip top condition. This meant that the entrepreneur himself had to work with whatever he had, creating frameworks, guidelines and processes in which he could develop the business in. However I was not comfortable with this as it meant too much uncertainty and risk but this class, while didn’t prove my perception wrong, rather taught me how to deal and appreciate it.
It was a pretty rocky journey at the start and it seemed like the only good thing happening was that I was going to be starting a business with 3 very close friends of mine. It was definitely tough thinking of a fantastic business in the 2/3 weeks that we were given. There were very good ideas going around but good ideas are simply not sufficient for a good business. One needs to think if it’s viable in the long run in terms of demand prospects. Hence my team eventually settled for an idea, blogshopping solutions; an idea which I initially did not believe very strongly in and hence not very enthusiastic about.
This is then where I learnt something important about doing a business. Conviction. It was very important to be doing something you believed in and subsequently believing in your actions. I felt unenthusiastic about the idea as without having blogshopped before. I did not believe or have passion in the business idea which made the whole project seem like any other project in SMU, thus preventing me from experiencing the true entrepreneurial spirit. However having decided to make the conscious effort to experience blogshoping problem identified by my partner, I suddenly felt something switch on inside of me. The strong passion and keen interest in your business idea which stems from the fact that you believe in it (in this case, I believed in it only after experiencing the problem) allows one to actually face all uncertainties and risks with a bold front.
However, acting on an idea which you believed in was necessary but not sufficient to develop a business. I also discovered that it was crucial to believe in all the subsequent processes and steps that came after having a brilliant idea. It was like a circle. You act upon an idea which you are passionate about. You then proceed on to developing the idea. However you don’t take random steps or measures just because you have to. You believe in those actions and as a result, your passion and tenacity to endure failure grows, making you an even better businessman. For example, my team’s main product was a website and we debated for a while whether to hire a professional to create it, but at a significant cost. However, we decided to take on the task ourselves and because we believed that we could create a fantastic website, it only made us strive even harder to achieve so.
The beauty of this class is that it teaches us little lessons like these, implicitly, through having a project where students are given the opportunities to become entrepreneurs. It is also a right step towards aiming to change the traditional mindset and beliefs about entrepreneurship. While people may say that Singapore is a fantastic place to start a business, entrepreneurship will never quite take off if people have the initial mindset that I did.
All in all, I must thank Professor Pamela Lim for introducing such a course and structuring it in such a way where we each get to experience our own unique entrepreneurship journey. What a way to end my time here in SMU!