by Eric Zhang (Singapore)
I first attended the class and formed a group with a few members in the class. When I was briefed about the course requirement on the first lesson, I was excited as a friend of mine from the corporate world have been talking about this business plan about grooming and cultivating local artist. We want Singapore to truly have artist that are really artist who works as an artist, do things that artists do, and be truly known as an artist and not just a passionate artist who has to hold a full time job as doing something related to his work and carry out his artworks only during his/her free time. So we have this dream, we have this mission in mind before beginning on our business plan.
I realized one characteristic on an entrepreneur, that is they almost always started out alone or with another partner. When a business first start, it is usually 1 or 2 person running and coming up with the whole business planning.
So when i was not able to convince my group members to use my idea, I gathered all my courage and decided to embark on this project alone. Because i believe that all businesses as much as possible, should not only be just profitable, it should be meaningful as well.
#1 Make every business a meaningful business.
Now when I looked back, I admired my guts. It was week 3 when I decided to embark on my business idea “OurArtWorkZ”. I was left with barely 10 weeks to complete, not only a detailed business plan, as much as possible execute the business plan, to build a website and many other miscelleanous academic requirement for this course. But I told myself, Entrepreneurship is about risk taking, because you can never predict the outcome. Doing it alone will also test my own limits, and to let myself know my threshold in handling something so big on my own.
We have heard so many entrepreneurs’ stories, when they first started, they all started on their own and having themselves or at most 1 or 2 partners to work together. And many times, great Entrepreneurs started their business on their own. When they first started, they have that limited sources of funds, and most of the time from their own pocket. To save cost, they do everything on their own. And this is exactly what I wanted to experience. I wanted to have the first hand experience of how an entrepreneur feel when starting up, when facing problems, when winning small victories. Hence given the background of what truly is an entrepreneur, I decided to take this up on my own.
#2 When cash is tight, you have to take up multi-tasks and multi-roles.
How prepared are you?
I had a great learning experience having taken this project up alone. I have learn to present almost anytime anywhere to potential investors, convincing them to invest in you. weekly presentations to the class and feedbacks enable you to find the weakness or blind spots that you have missed. Be open to accepting comments and critique and to take them seriously. If nobody says nothings, nobody is thinking anything great or bad about it. So always think of 2 sides of the coin.
#3 Rejoice when a negative critique
Be flexible with yourself and business plan but be firm on your mission statement. Plans can change, operations can change, but never stray from your very main motivation and mission of having the business. The most credible people are people who knows how act accordingly and adjust to changing situations without changing his or her principles that rule their lives.
#4 Never sacrifice your principles for the sake of profits
I faced many problems while doing this course, that is of course due to the heavy workload. However, every time when I feel tired, I would tell myself if I cannot do it now, how will i succeed to become an entrepreneur in the future. So my determination drove me. And my Passion for the mission behind my business gave me the strength to carry on.
It was tough for someone who has a D7 for General Paper, no background on building websites, and who had just failed financial accounting a term earlier. My point in saying this is not to gain any sympathy, but it is to tell the message that if you are determined, you can achieved what you want. If you fail, never give up hope, continue and try harder.
I should have stay with a group and let other group members do different sections that i am not good at, however if i have done that, i would have never learn anything new.
#5 Always Never Never Never say die
For future students taking the course
Make mistakes when you can now. Academic results is indeed important. However the learning processes and experience is the most precious things that cannot be taught. Take big steps. Take risks now when you can afford to. Test you own limits. Get to know yourself as much as you can. Truly understand your strengths and weakness now. Every failure must make you stronger and make you smarter.
I never regretted doing this course alone. My business model and plan may not be the best in the class, but I know that I gained the most experience than anyone else. So what if i were to be graded a c because my business plan was not excellent, but i have scored an A*** in my personal growth. And the next time, I am more prepared to be an entrepreneur and I would remind myself the wrongs steps i have taken and remind myself never to take the wrong steps again.
I am confident of my own creativity. And to make end this course with a more relaxing mood. I rewrote the song of telephone by Lady Gaga and sang it and made it into a video.
Entrepreneurship is like a dream sometimes. Sometimes it depends on luck, sometimes it depends on whether you are willing to work hard. And many times it is a battle between yourself and the devil in you.
If you believe, you can convinced others,
If you cannot even believe yourself, others will never be convinced.