by Candice Ee (Singapore)
In my final reflection, I would like to share my 3 key takeaways from this module: (F)ocus; be (U)understanding, (N)ever say die – the abbreviation of which speaks for itself!
1. (F)ocus! “Obstacles are the only things you see if you take your eyes off your goal”
It is always tempting to give up when obstacles come our way. That was how I felt when my group decided after much deliberation to change our entire business plan in midcourse. It was a difficult decision to make because all our efforts for the past weeks would amount to nothing and we have to start all over again. Also, there’s a lot of catching up to be done on our part because other groups are already writing their business plan and preparing their financials when we’re still firming up our business idea.
The obstacle always seems overwhelming when you focus on the problem and not the goal. It is important to refocus and concentrate on what we are achieving – to come up with a feasible business idea. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” – see yourself as an overcomer, and you will be one!
Fortunately, our transition from our old to new business idea was a relatively smooth one as we received help from Prof Pamela Lim and classmates. While we only decided to change our idea in Week 5, Prof was encouraging and gave us many useful suggestions (eg. points rebate system) on our business idea, linking us up with people who could help us with our website as we were facing technical difficulties. Our classmates also gave us valuable feedback on how we can improve our revenue model, such as having banner advertisements on our website as an alternative source of revenue. They also gave us support by being the first members to join our online community. All the support and encouragement from the class helped us to visualize success in our new business idea and motivated us to work harder towards our goal.
Success is bitter-sweet. There were ups and downs, and it was especially stressful throughout the transition phase. However, when I finally see our website up and in operation, the sense of satisfaction is immense and well worth it.
2. Be (U)nderstanding! “You can’t learn anything from being perfect”
Throughout the execution of the business, there were times when I was frustrated because of my own inadequacies. Due to time constraint, our business had to be executed quickly but there were a lot of hiccups such as the problem with finding the right supplier, getting favourable prices, technical difficulties faced while doing our website, the list continues.
At the end of the day, I have learnt to be easy on myself and my group members. Most of the lessons I’ve learnt from this module is based on mistakes committed by ourselves, or weaknesses that were critical to our business. For example, we were all not technically competent enough to solve certain issues with our website and had to engage external help, resulting in more effort and time spent. That was frustrating as we had to meet a tight deadline.
It was hence a great blessing to have group members of complementary skills. Everyone came from different schools with different knowledge and we were able to contribute based on our individual expertise. For example, I have not taken Marketing and I never realized how important the USP is until hearing my group members emphasizing it repeatedly every week. We also took very long to come up with our business slogan because of its marketing and strategic implications, even though to me as an accounting student, it was something trivial. Working with a diverse group of people enabled us to use each others’ strengths to cover another’s weakness. We also get to understand the sources of disagreements from everyone’s perspective.
3. (N)ever Say Die! “I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed” – Michael Jordan
The greatest takeaway from this class is that of determination, a never-say-die attitude. Behind every entrepreneur’s success story is countless failures. The important thing is to not give up, but keep on keeping on. Our group is fortunate to start our business rather smoothly, but to continue with the business, there will definitely be setbacks and failures. When things don’t turn out well, it is normal to feel discouraged, but always be reminded of your passion and let it motivate you to press on. Your attitude determines your altitude!
To sum it up, I have had my share of F.U.N taking this module. It is my first time starting a business and getting my first taste of success.