by By Kwang Sheng
The way I structure my journal is largely in chronological order. I will be writing my reflections throughout my entrepreneurship journey.
Having undergone three years of education in SMU, I realized that throughout these three years, I learnt many business theories but none was applied and put to use. I have always been business minded. Whenever I enter a retail shop, I have this inevitable urge to look at the product offerings, analyze the customers in the shop and evaluate the customer segment that the shop is targeting. How nice would it be if I could own my own business entity, and that was in the thought of my head for a while!
So one day before the bidding period started, a friend who I spoke to recommended that I should try taking the MGMT324 course by Professor Pamela Lim, his former TWC professor. He suggested me to do so not because he thought the module was easy to score but rather because it was in line with my aim to start a business after graduating and this module was a good module to put my entrepreneurship mindset to a test.
According to him, the professor will push her students to create a business by the end of the module. He personally knew people who have actually started a business because of this module and actually took their business model beyond the classroom walls and succeeded. After hearing what he had to say, I was motivated to give this module a try and I actually bid for this course on my own.
EXPECTATION FULFILLED – YOU BET!
After the 13 weeks of motivating lessons and interesting presentations, I can safely say that this course has benefited me in many ways. The general student population who enrolled in this course is entrepreneurship minded students who aspire to start their own business upon graduation or even some, before they graduate. As each class is designed in a workshop manner, we were able to learn much from one another through our interactions. We not only learn from the success stories of one another but we also learn from each other?s mistakes and failures.
I have always held on to the belief that it is only through failure, difficulties and mistakes that one can truly learn. As such given the limited amount of time that we all have, and time is money, we certainly do not have enough time to make all the mistakes in the world and therefore the quickest way to learn is to learn from the mistakes of others and be sure not to repeat them.
As motivated as I was to start my own business, one major challenge that I had to overcome was the skepticism that I faced from my family. This skepticism prevented me from moving forward to start my own business. I have been raised to believe that it is always better to work for others rather than to be your own boss. When you work for others, you are promised a stable income as long as you perform your job dutifully. However, being a business owner, you are not guaranteed a stable income. How well your business performs which translates to how much you will be earning is ultimately dependent on yourself.
My response to the skepticism that I faced was to first convince myself that what I am doing indeed brings value to the society at large. Next, it would be to be persistent with persuading the ?noises? that what I was doing is meaningful. First, you will convince some, and with continuous persistent, people will start to see what you are doing.
I have also attached the link to a video on the art of persuasion that I think is very relevant.
MY TWO STEPS TO SUCCESS
Through this course, I have created these two steps to success – (1) conviction and (2) commitment.
(1)Conviction (that what you are doing has tremendous value)
The first step to success is the conviction to know that the solution you are providing is actually useful to the community. It is with this conviction that no matter what obstacles and skepticism that comes along, I was able to overcome it as I personally believe that what I am doing is beneficial.
However, the conviction does not come free. For me, it came after many rounds of online research, market survey, and interviews with people and product trials that convinced me that there is a need for a product such as laplock that can help safeguard people’s laptops from potential thieves.
As the going gets tough, many a times we just feel like giving up and taking the easy way out. However, if one had made the commitment to doing this business, one will not give up at the slightest sign of danger as he or she has already made it a stand to make things work out.
Furthermore, when the commitment is made with a group of people, for example my Laplock team, the commitment gets stronger as you no longer am responsible for just yourself but to the entire team. I think that having this team unity and goal is really useful as it helps to spur one when the situation gets tough. Furthermore, in a team, we get to leverage on each other?s motivation. For example, when I am down after getting negative responses from potential customers, the team was there to motivate me and likewise when they were down, I was there to help. By rubbing the positive energy among each other, it helped keep the spirits high as we overcame the major obstacles in the process.
YES – SUCCESS IS SWEET – DEFINITELY
Finally, I am a business owner with a business entity ? Laplock Limited under my name and furthermore I have made another four good friends in the process. =)