by Edmund Tan
I first heard about this course from friends who took it last semester. As this course did not fulfil any credits for me, it was a huge leap of faith for me to invest the extra time and effort. Looking back, it was definitely worth it as I learnt more than I expected.
KILLER LESSON 1: You don’t have to know everything. You just need to know people who know something. Networking is underrated.
In the last few years, I had constantly been wondering where my competitive advantage edge as a finance and accounting student was. Venturing into technological businesses was tough because I felt that I lacked the engineering background. Starting a website company was tricky as I was not computing trained. Alas, looking back, these seem like psychological obstacles which I had conveniently laid down for myself. An entrepreneur is someone who is able to convince people smarter and better than him to work for him. You just have to be the one who puts the team together and guide them towards a common goal. That has given me more encouragement in starting a business, but like many people who never started businesses I was caught up with analysing and researching.
KILLER LESSON 2: Over Analysis would lead to paralysis. Just do it.
Common excuses like lacking the expertise to do so, lacking the capital should be thrown aside. It seems like bootstrapping is the key that would jumpstart you in the business. If you are lucky enough to get funding, that’s great. If not, quit whining and source from all possible avenues. The problem with many of us who are in university right now is that we have a backup option. The fear of failure has driven many of us to take up the safe option of drawing a regular salary. In a sense, there’s more to lose for us then someone who has a lower educational level. On the flip side, if you think about it, university can be an enriching experience. Technically, it should better prepare you to succeed in setting up a business because you have acquired more knowledge. I had once harboured the thought if not going to university at all. My argument was that I could start a business with or without a university education, why waste the money. Looking back, I am glad I went to university because there I learnt so many useful things that I could apply when setting up a business.
KILLER LESSON 3: You don’t have to chase money. With a great idea, the money will chase you.
I still have my reservations on this because it sounds good, but hasn’t happened to me just yet. But I can see the logic behind this as I realized that investors are constantly looking for the next big thing. There is actually a lot of money floating around, just an absence of great ideas moving around. A great website which I often look to for inspiration is www.springwise.com. It is mind blowing to see the variety of ideas people can dream about and a showcase of how money will chase great ideas. This course has helped me put on the thinking cap as nowadays, I am constantly on the lookout for business ideas. It is amazing how one can see the numerous possibilities when they actually make the conscious effort to look out for it.
KILLER LESSON 4: Pursue your interests. This way, you wouldn’t have to work for the rest of your life.
This saying has been around for years, but I was always sceptical about it. After this course, it has given me more confidence to try and do something on my own. The truth is, for average people to truly be rich, you have to be a business owner. How many Warren Buffett or Tiger Woods are there? Park Ji Sung is a one off, or so I think. By pursing something that you like, you would enjoy each moment. Your interest itself would be your key motivational driver, which would lead you to bigger things. Personally, I enjoy drinking coffee a lot, a habit which I cultivated since young despite huge resistances from my parents. “You are too young to drink coffee. Too much coffee is bad for kids because of the caffeine.” There simply wasn’t anything that could stop my love for coffee. During this course, it made me contemplate about pursuing this interest. The mere thought of it makes me excited. Oh well, who knows?