Reflective essay: Charanya Nopnukulvised (K1159978)

The real world of business is considerably crucial, competitive and full of intensity. Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship in Practice class has provided me the valuable opportunity to experience of setting up a business as an entrepreneur. This module allows me to develop my potential and creative thinking in order to become success in my career path. The main benefit that I have learnt from this class is basically learning by doing. It has been 7 months that my group has started to do business. We have faced of many problems in terms of developing ideas into the product. At the same time, this project has been given a lot enjoyable moments and a great experience to my student life. I would like to say that this module has provided me the best practice of entrepreneur in action than any other courses.

The biggest challenge for me since the first start is I do not have background in business in my Bachelor’s Degree. I graduated in Journalism and Mass communication in broadcasting. Therefore, I have no idea what I have to confront when I study in Msc International Business Management with Entrepreneurship. Even so, I personally think that it is a good chance for me to gain some new knowledge. For this reason, I was quite excited to study in this module.

In the beginning, I was surprised in the way of learning in this course. I clearly remembered that in the first day of our class, our teacher; Corrine Beaumont asked us go to the restroom with eyes closed in order to know how would it be if we were blind. I admitted that at first I think this task was ridiculous and absolutely not interested. I had a question in my mind that how come it would be related to business and this subject. Surprisingly, this task would really help me to think differently. This observation had taught me that sometimes I had to look in different point of view in order to get some new ideas and inspiration. This method of education is the same way that entrepreneurs have been using to build up entrepreneurial behavior (Katz and Shepherd, 2003). Therefore, the teaching method of this class is quite different than others. It is more than just learning from the books and listening to lecturers but rather motivation us to see views from various angles. Martin (2009) illustrated that most of the company such as Apple and Facebook has been using the design thinking to gain competitive advantage. Therefore, I was interested how this module can lead to my progress.

Next, it was a time to start up our own business with the people in this class. It is the biggest project from this module. In my group, it can be seen that there is a perfect combination of various personality and background. Because we had barely known each other before, it is no doubt that we might face with some disagreement during the working process. After a team member has been allocated, I found myself that I was quite a good listener rather than a team leader. I feel uncomfortable to express my feeling to the person that I was hardly known. However, I realised that if I had not committed to a team, I would have been end up with working on the product that I dislike through out the year. Therefore, I tried to give my views as much as possible when it came to brainstorming. We had been spending most of our time in the first 2 months to develop our ideas into business. We had plenty of bright ideas but no single one was outstanding and being approved by all members. In fact, the conflict usually happened during the group meeting because each of us has very different perspective. Bulleit (2006) demonstated that the bad conflict create pressure environment which would affect to overall performance. However, Correia (2005) suggest that the positive side of conflict which is an exercise of building up with an innovative idea. Therefore, the conflict management is required to reduce this tension and enhance productivity (Alper, Tjosvold and Law, 2000). In our group, we tried to produce more positive conflict rather negative conflict. We decided to talk with each other more about our similar interests and trying to think what we can do to contribute it to the business instead of coming up with the product with no references. After we had discussed for a while, we discovered that we are all interested in art, books and photos. Finally, we came up with the idea of bookmark calendar and it was a starting point of our business plan.

The bookmark calendar had come from the concept of “making art useful”. It is small bookmark that contained 12 months calendar in the backside. It is different from the other bookmark calendar in the market due to product designed. Furthermore, it is provided exclusive picture that represents an emotion taken by one of our group member, Genia Boustany, and a quote from a famous artist in every single page. This unique bookmark calendar would be perfect for a New Year gift or keep it as personal collection. It aims to target book lovers and photography lovers. Our main objective is to inspire our customers with a piece of art whenever they use the product. To conclude, it is well design of artwork that fits with every day life.

W.I.D , is referred to words, dates and images, has become the name of our company. I am responsible for finance part in this project. I have to say that it was tough for me to handle with all numbers and calculation. However, it is because of me that I was afraid to say no to my friends to do something that I am unfamiliar with. This situation has caused me lot of problems later when I had a hard time to do profit and loss sheet, cash flow and break even point. I tried my best to manage with it by asking for help from my friends who has a financial background. After I had spent many hours trying to understand basic accounting, I could manage all those tasks by myself. I could not believe that I can do it eventually. I was so pound of it. To tell the truth, I now become a financial expert. I really think that the knowledge of finance would be benefit for me in the future. Papulová and Mokroš (2007) stated that knowledge of financial management is fundamental for entrepreneurs in order to become successful in business. Rogers (2002) also pointed out that this financial knowledge would help business owners particularly in small enterprises to analyse their financial heath and prevent them from the failure. I am absolutely agree that the finance knowledge is required for business owners and high position managers to realise what had happened in the past, how to improve it in the present as well as looking further to future trend. This project all me favourable opportunity to learn how to do it professionally.

From this class, I can clearly see my self-development through the tasks that provided in this module. For example, my writing skill has been significantly improved from posting blogs regularly. I was looking back my previous posts while I was doing this reflective assignment. It is obvious that my writing is increasingly much better. Yang (2009) suggested that writing blog would help me to observe the progress of the personal development as well as self-expression. I have to say that I really hate writing a blog at the beginning. I personally think it was waste of time to write about what we have learnt in the class in every week.  But after I see the improvement, I decided to continue posting from now on. Writing is one of skill that I need to improve urgently. I think that writing a blog from the wordpress would be my first step to conquer this problem.

Moreover, I discovered my own talent during studying in this class. I do not really know that I had this skill until I attended a trade fair. I found that I could persuade customers to purchase the product more than other people in my group. In that day, I could sell 10 products in total while other members had none. Another factor that might help me increase in sale came from the viewpoint of Telpoukovskaia (2010), it is said that a professional seller is needed to truly believe in the product before selling to others. The fact that I believe in our product would lead me to have more confident in order to convince other people to believe what I said. I found out that selling is the thing that I enjoyed the most during this project. Consequences, I can use this selling skill to become my strength in the future career.

The assumption of our sale so far is absolutely impressive. The total number of product sold is 124 which it is valued 707 pound. We already got our payback from our investment since December and it was continuously growing. Our company is considered as a remarkable success in terms of product sold comparing to other teams. The last thing that I have to do in order to finish this project spectacularly is to make a business report and presenting it in front of the Dragon Den. It was generally about selling our ideas to the judges and made them interested in our product by presenting our business performance. Our group had put lot of effort and energy for the presentation in order to attract the judges. For my part, I was chosen to present finance and risks in the business. I was practicing all day because I was afraid that my English would be a problem. As a result, our presentation went very well. Surprisingly, our product was selected to be one of the finalists to present a business pitch at the end of the day. I was really satisfied with the outcomes. I have to thank all my group members. We have come through a long path together from nothing until it came into the products. I could not do it without a great teamwork. Hoegl, Ernst and Proserpio (2007) stated that having a good teamwork is better than a good product. I think it is absolutely true that the quality of teamwork would lead us to right way and this project is the best example to illustrate this point.

Looking back all the knowledge that I have learned so far including other aspects that I did not mention in this reflective essay such as Customer behaviour, Personas and Creative Collaboration, is certainly applied to this project more or less. I found that this project is a lesson from our experience. The profit does not matter to me that much. The most important thing is to go for it and see how it goes. I strongly believe that if we put a commitment to something, a great result will come afterwards. My goal is to open clothing shop in Thailand. Therefore, the skill that I have been improved from this class such as assertiveness, communication skilled and creativity would help me to setting up my own business in the future.

In conclusion, I would like to give a credit to Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship in Practice class that give an opportunity to work with diversity of creative people. This module has given me a wonderful experience to show my ability. I had made lot of mistakes but eventually I have learnt from it. After studying in this course, I have clearer mind about what I have to do in the future as well as how can I achieve it. I could not believe that it comes to the end. However, I think it is just a beginning of an amazing journey.

References

 

Alper, S., Tjosvold, D. and Law, K. S. (2000), ‘CONFLICT MANAGEMENT, EFFICACY, AND PERFORMANCE IN ORGANIZATIONAL TEAMS’. Personnel Psychology, 53 (1), pp. 625–642

Bulleit, B. (2006) Effectively Managing Team Conflict. [Online]. Available at: http://gclearningservices.com/assets/Managing_Conflict.pdf (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Correia, A. P. (2005) Understanding conflict in teamwork: Contributions of a technology-rich environment to conflict management. [Online]. Available at: http://gradworks.umi.com/31/83/3183915.html (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Hoegl, M., Ernst, H. and Proserpio, L. (2007), ‘How Teamwork Matters More as Team Member Dispersion Increases’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 24 (1), pp. 156–165 Wileyonlinelibrary [Online]. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-5885.2007.00240.x/abstract?userIsAuthenticated=false&deniedAccessCustomisedMessage= (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Katz, J. A. and Shepherd, D. A. (2003), ‘Cognitive Approaches to Entrepreneurship Research’, Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, 6(1), pp. 1-10 Emerald [Online]. Available at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/books.htm?chapterid=1760490&show=pdf (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Martin, R. L. (2009) The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. Amazon [Online]. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Design-Business-Competitive-Advantage/dp/1422177807/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Papulová, Z and Mokroš, M. (2007) IMPORTANCE OF MANAGERIAL SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE IN MANAGEMENT FOR SMALL ENTREPRENEURS. [Online]. Available at: http://www.g-casa.com/PDF/Papulova-Mokros.pdf (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Roger, S. (2002) The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finance & Business: Wealth Creation Techniques for Growing a Business. Amazon [Online]. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071380817/ref=rdr_ext_tmb (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Telpoukhovskaia, N. (2010) How to Become a Successful Sales Promotional- Believe in yourself, Your product and Your store. Available at: http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Become-a-Successful-Sales-Professional—Believe-in-Yourself,-Your-Product-and-Your-Store&id=4561032 (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

Yang, S. H. (2009) ‘Using Blogs to Enhance Critical Reflection and Community of Practice’, Educational Technology and Society, 12 (2), pp. 11-21 Ifets [Online]. Available at: http://www.ifets.info/journals/12_2/2.pdf (Accessed: 20 May 2012).

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Finally, it comes to the end

Good evening,

Yesterday it was a big day for all of entrepreneur students. The last thing we have to do is final presentation about our business. It’s mainly about explaination what is our product, how to use it, what is our marketing strategy, finance , possible risks and the result of our business so far. We have to encourage all  the judges to interest in our business. I was so excited about our presentation and it was absolutely brilliant that I’ve ever expected. I keep practicing all day because I was afraid that I would forget my part and could not speak clearly during the presentation because of my English. As a result, it went well!!! I can speak very fluently. I didn’t forget anything. My group can answer every questions from the judges and they seems like our performance as well:) Moreover, our group was selected to be one of the finalists in the end of the day!!! That was incredible:) I was so happy. Last thing I want to say is I have learned so many thing from this experience.  I feel like all work that we have done since September it comes to the end. I become more and more confident about speaking in public than before. I discover my potential about selling skilled.  I would like to thank everybody for all the support.  It is such a great opportunity for me.

Thank you for reading

bye:)

Risks

Good evening,

As I said to the last post that today I will write about risks that I found in our products. Our WID bookmark calendar has risks as well.

1. Short product life cycle>>>therefore, we are different for us to make a sale after New Year

2. Ready made products>>can not be customised

3. Intellectual property can be found from our images

4. Substitution  such as Kindle, E-book, Iphone to replace the usage of the bookmark/calendar

5. High price because production cost per product is expensive

After we note all risks that might obstruct our business. It is a good reflection for our business and make us to realise what we can do in the future to reduce all risks as much as possible.

Thank you for reading:) Bye

Get ready for final presentation

Hi everyone,

After the last trade fair, last thing I have to do for this project is final report and presentation. Our deadline is this Thursday so wish me luck:)  This last report will contain everything we have done for last 4 months. I am responsible for finance part. Therefore, I have to profit and lost , cash flow and lastly break even point. I admit that I am not good at Finance and Accounting at all. Since I am the only one in my group that used to learn about finance in class. So, it is my responsibility. The conclusion of our project is impressive. We have sold 124 products in total!!!! and it is valued 707 pound!!!! That’s incredible for us. I could not believe that our group we can get some money back from the investment. But we did it!!! I’m so pound about our result. Moreover, from my experience, it can be seen that our products have lot of risks. If we look at the calendar point of view, we can see that calendar is seasoning products. It means people gonna it only specific time of the year. Therefore, it is very hard for us to make a sale after January. I predict our business in my report also. I personally think that we can improve our products by providing more variety of products for special occasion such as valentine  as well as decrease production cost per unit in order to get the profit. It cost us 2.56 pound to make 1 product. Consequences, we can’t sell lower than this price. That is why some customers complain that our products are expensive. This is just a short conclusion for finance part. Next I will write about the risks that can be found in my products.

Thank You for reading:)

Goodnight

2nd Trade Fair

Good morning,

Yesterday, we had the last trade fair in Kingston Town Center. It was absolutely fun even though I have sold only 2 products. One thing I have learned from this event that no matter what the sale is, the most important is “to go for it,do it” and see how it goes. I think I learn a lot from this course. I have a lot of networking from friends over the world. I have a chance to discuss and share some good ideas with new people. Moreover, I have an opportunity to do something that I never thought I can do it. From this class, I discover myself that I am quite a good seller which I have no idea how can I do that but I personally think that it’s because I have a lot of connection. It is easier to sell my products to friends rather than a target market (even it is not right). Anyway, I really enjoy every moment in the Trade Fair. I have seen a lot of creative ideas through out their products. However, our promotion did not work well like I expected and it is quite windy which made it is harder for us to do our promotion. To sum up, It was a great experience for me. We have been sold more than 120 products so far. I would like to thank my group for all the support and make this business comes true. Take a look our memorable moment in the event below. Thanks for reading. Bye:)

Image

Trade Fair in Kingston Town Center

Image

our booth

WID Photobooth Concept

Me in the Trade Fair

Get ready for today trade fair

Good morning everyone,

Today is another exciting day in our group because we gonna have a trade fair at Kingston town center 3-5 pm. If you don’t have any plan. Please come to check it out our products!!!^^ Our concept for this event is “Photo booth”  We also have special promotion. If you buy our WID bookmark calendar 4.99 pound, you will get a free personalised photo!!! We have planed a lot for this event and we are looking forward to see you all this afternoon:) Bye

 

 

WID advertising

Last friday is the last class of entrepreneurship in action. Moreover, the latest task is to show our advertising for our product. In my group, I personally think that our advertisement is incredible!!! Thank to my friends, Joelle and Genia for making this ads. Hope everyone like it as much as I do!! Feel free to comment in our advertisement enjoy!!!:)

 

Work in progress

 

Good morning,

Just a quick update about our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/wordsimagesdates Please feel free to check it out and ‘like’ our product anytime. In this page, it has everything that you need to know about our business including  behind the scene. Upcoming next is our new advertising which will be post on facebook soon. Hope you are looking forward for this. Thank You 

Image

Trade Fair

Good morning,

Last week, I had a trade fair at Kingston University, Penrhyn road campus. We were so much fun. Unfortunately, there was a few people came to this fair. Most of them were people in our entrepreneur class so, lot of sellers not buyers  😦 Anyways, our group had created our booth with photos theme. We put lot of photos that we used to our bookmarks to decorate and we also have a new business card! I’m so excited because it looked like we do business in professional way. I was looking around to see how other groups had done. Appearently, I realised other groups have a small bowl of sweets to welcome customers. Next trade fair, I will do it the same. Moreover, I can see lot of different ideas from other booths. I had bought a scarf with hood , customise blackberry case and QR code from other groups. Their products are very cute and functionable that is why I would like to be their customers. At the end of the day, we sold 5 products!! Thanks to all my friends as well:) The benefit of our products is easily to sell. We do not have to write down what customer had ordered. However, what I can see is customise products can get lot of attention from customers. It’s because customers what they really want unlike our products that customers can not change anything. I think more and more people are looking for products that is unique and personalised. That is the issue that our group has to sort it out and learn from this trade fair. Maybe next time,we have to use more marketing strategy to gain customer’s attention and persuade them to buy our products by learning from others. That’s all for to day. Bye

WID at Trade Fair

Our new business card

Other group's products that I bought from trade fair

Creative Collaboration

Good evening,

Today, in my entrepreneur class, I have learned about creative collaboration which it helps to reflect our problems that has occurred in business. The thing is I think we should learn this issue in the beginning of the class or when we started to do the business. However, the benefit to learn it later so that we can look at the past we have been through. Moreover, if we learn this subject too early maybe we don’t realize what is problem until it become a problem!!! Therefore, we can know how to deal with it in the future by our experience. In our group, we might face a problem because we have different personality and different background. The creative collaboration is about working together from the sketch by using our strength.  We have to reflect ourself to see what skills you have and how can we use those skills in our project. We have to  learn to accept different viewpoint, understand working style, clarify of goal in purgroup so that it will not cause the problem. Sometimes creative collaboration has negative result such as being too creative , hierachy of power and overpowering team members. The another point is people will work better if they have freedom so that they can be creative. So, the suitable method would be let your group member to volunteer themselves rather than ordering them what to do. In our class, teacher let us use the post-it to define our skills that we can do to help our project and let people talk about idea that come in mind. It seems to me that communication is the functional tool to share knowledge and therefore create something new that work! That’s all I learn in today session. Thank you for reading:) 

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