I guess we all herd stories about great entrepreneurs who created something genius that changed not only our everyday lives but the world in general. We all know stories about Nicola Tesla, and Addison, and Tom Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Mask… The list of genius people can last forever and will never be finished. First of all because people keep on trying to change the world to the best. Second – because the number of “crazy”, “fearless” “genius” dreamers will never decrease. I think that the desire to create something that will remind others about you, that will serve others and will make their lives better is in human nature. Otherwise, why did cave people covered the walls of their caves with those amazing paintings? But why then if the desire to create something is in human nature there are not so many real entrepreneurs around us? Why only few become those legends that actually change the world?
The answer on these questions was found during the Designing a Business course.
First of all it is crucial to understand what “creativity” actually is because “creativity” is that first stone in the basement of the future business project. There thousands different definitions of creativity and creative people:
– Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality (Naiman,L 2014).
– is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed, such as an idea, a scientific theory scientific theory, an invention, a literary work, a painting, a musical composition, a joke, etc (Meusburger, P 2009).
The list of definitions can last forever. They can explain creativity from different point of view, can describe different aspects of creativity but in general all definitions will tell you that the creativity is something that gives you opportunity to create something beyond your comfort zone and imagination. Creativity helps people to create something unusual and yet useful for the others. But only creativity is not enough for becoming a successful entrepreneur. The idea itself worth nothing without the desire to turn your idea into something real. To do that people have to be also really brave and maybe a little bit reckless. To find an idea of something creative and really good is hard. But it is much harder to create something that will then become popular, that people all around will use for their sake. And to make a business that will bring you money, success and fame (although it is not really important for some entrepreneurs) and that will be based on that creative idea you have – is almost impossible. That is why such courses like Designing a Business is important.
First you have an idea. Then if you really want to earn some money thanks to that idea you have, you have to know so many details about leading business itself. It is not just about your job but also mostly about your team. That was one of the most important things that Designing a Business teaches. It is impossible to work at your own in any field, especially in business. You have to know so many things: financial part, media and public relations, advertisement – one person is unable to work at all of these areas. But it is really hard also to find the right people to work with. How to chose the person who will be ready to share this journey you begin when you start your own business? First of all you have to be a little bit reckless (again) to share your idea. There is no work without trust between the team members. Second (but probably also very important) it is necessary to know that all your team members are highly professional and know very well everything they do.
There is also important to remember that knowledge (apart from professional knowledge) that all members of the team have is also important for leading a good business. This thing was also one of those not obvious things that Designing a Business lecture teaches. You never know what can be useful until you find out that there is something you know and can use to make your business even better.
One of the most important things that Designing a Business course teaches is that there is a very long way from the idea to an actual product. Startups can be hard to begin. You have to first of all have a specific state of mind, special charisma to make everyone in your team believe that your business, your idea first of all is worth to fight for, worth to risk and work hard for (Robehmed, N. 2013).
Also according to the Designing a Business course it is also very important to have a good partners for startups. Most of the times good ideas (or, as it will be right to say – people with good ideas) don’t have enough resource to develop the idea and make a real business that will bring money from it. So partners or potential partners can mean a lot at the beginning. A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill, and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business. (Partnerships, 2015). Partnership especially can be important for young and inexperienced entrepreneurs not just because of the resources but also because of the experience that can be shared. Some people from the partner’s side may have knowledge and skills that entrepreneurs don’t that is why good partnership is important for any startup.
All these knowledge that Designing a Business course gave were important and useful when Veles product began to develop. As it was mentioned before it all started with the idea. We wanted to create something that will be useful and will be successfully accepted on the market. Our idea seemed brilliant and (again as it was mentioned before) of course almost at the very beginning we faced with the problem: we didn’t know what to do next? We formed a team of a good people each of whom knew what to do in their sphere but was also ready to share the experience and knowledge with the others. We were very enthusiastic but the very first trade fair that we had showed us that we have several problems that we just didn’t see before when we were working. That is why it is also almost crucial to show your product or the prototypes to experienced and impartial judges. There is nothing bad about good and productive criticism. When you work hard and most of the times look at your product and everything that connected with it sometimes you’re just unable to see some details that can become obvious for the others. This was one of those important for the startups future thing that Designing a Business tough. For the good critics you can go to your more experienced partners or to the “dragons” – people who will know nothing about the process of the creation of your product or the product itself. “Dragons” are able to see some minuses of the idea as well. It is important to talk to the experts while you develop your startup or during the creation of the product. To have a specific knowledge about some area that you’re just going to enter can be crucial.
And of course the most important thing is your potential clients’ opinion. Your clients are those people you create your product for. That is why train fairs are important. Your clients especially when you show them the first variant of your product, are your main judges. If you create product for some specific area (for example, Veles was mainly oriented on art department students) then people who work, study, live in this area may know something about it, that non of the business experts will know. When you create something you have to always keep in mind the thought that you are making it for real people, who will use it.That’s why you have to think about every single detail, for example – price you are going to put on your product.
There was another thing that our team discovered thanks to the second train fair and specialists’ opinion. Since our product (Veles is a special folder for the sketchbooks that holds drawing and righting accessories) was mainly made for the students but was also hand made we could decide what price we should put on it. One the one hand handmade Veles should cost more than 30£. On the other hand – what student will give 30£ for some accessory for the sketchbook? One of the professional finance department professors told us what to do in order to earn money and of course to have a book of clients who will buy Veles. He said that first of all we have to think about the fact that we are making our product for the real people, with real problems and different life level. So we have to find a perfect balance between our clients desires and our own. We found it pretty quickly, but we have learned our lesson: never forget about your client. Even when you are just creating a website or a service – your client, the person who you are making this product for will be your main judge and it is your client who will decide your “fait”. You have to support them, have to show each of your clients how important and special they are, but you also have to remember about your own logo. You have to do everything to make your clients recognize your logo and your prefer your product among everything else (10 Ways to Support Your Best Customers, 2010).
Your own business or startup is like your baby. At the very beginning (after the moment of the “birth of the idea”) it is so small and so fragile that any problem or any threat, even the smallest one, horrifies you. You are trying to protect it from everything and just watch it growing and “learning” – on mistakes mostly (and that is probably the main difference between your startup and a baby). Then, if you are lucky and successfully protect your business-baby at the first steps it grows. More and more everyday until one day you finally realize that your baby can function almost without you. And yet, as any child, your business will always need your attention and your care, your knowledge and your ideas that will only make your business better. That is why it is important to have knowledge and experience that gives Designing a Business course.
1) Naiman, L. (2014) What is Creativity?
2) Meusburger, Peter (2009). “Milieus of Creativity: The Role of Places, Environments and Spatial Contexts”. In Meusburger, P., Funke, J. and Wunder, E. Milieus of Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Spatiality of Creativity. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4020-9876-5.
3) Robehmed, N. (2013) What Is A Startup?
4) Partnerships (2015) Available at: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses- (Accessed: 24 April 2015)
5) 10 Ways to Support Your Best Customers (2010)