The End. The Beginning.

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.

Bibliography:

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)

Advertisements

Fear of Failure

When you win once, then again and again comes a moment when you begin thinking that you will always win. It keeps on going for a while and then you start to believe that you can reach any goal you have. And then you start to communicate with your potential partners and then comes first failure. When it happens it changes everything. Mostly because you realize that all those wins that you had were so small that it almost means nothing.

We had a potential partner. But after few meeting we found out that he is not interested in us anymore. For some reason it didn’t ,make me feel sad. Only now I actually realize that we have to work harder and harder, that we have to look at our mistake and fix it. I’m pretty sure that this failure will not be the last one. I am sure, that we will have to face with other problems. Some of which will be maybe even more serious then unsuccessful meeting with our potential partner.

For some reason when we only started we didn’t think about those problems that we will face. Maybe because we were too arrogant and thought that we will be able to deal with anything. Now I look at our business and product itself from a different point of view. I think that now I am more mature it my relationships with Veles. That will help me in the future.

And that is good.

What Was Found and What Was Lost

I am one of those people who truly believe  that education is the main investment that ones can make. You can’t measure it, can’t describe. But this is something that can change your life within a month. But education in different countries is as different as countries itself. Something what is common and normal for one country’s education system can be utterly unacceptable for the other.

It was really hard for me to get used to the system of education here in GB. Hard to get used to the way that teachers hold their lectures, hard to understand differences between advertisement here in GB and Russia, hard to understand that all. But time changes everything. Not as soon as I wanted to but I learned how to make my old knowledge and new information collaborate. I think that one of the most important things that MACE program gave me during this year was ability to open my mind to all possible differences. Not only in education, but also in business, work, advertisement, PR.

I lost insecurity and some stubbornness in the perception of some facts and found new and found pliability that will defiantly help me in the future.

So, I guess, it will be right to say “Thank you, MACE program”

Voting is Hard

I never liked competitions. The idea of comparing two, three or even 100 people who are already completely different always seemed to me at least unwise. Seriously, what’s the point in this? Why do people always want to proof to each other that one eats faster then the other? That one is stronger then the other? That one draws better then the other? It never made sense for me and for one of those strange laws that Universe based on – I always the one who ether participate some competition or judges the competitors.

This law showed itself once again when we had to judge each others’ blogs. It was for sure for me one of the most difficult tasks that I had to do within the MACE program. There are so many different things that seem important for one and can be utterly pointless for the others, so many blogs that speak even by the way it looks. How is this possible to judge or vote for the best one? Is there “the best one”?

Voting is difficult and I find proofs to this again and again.

About The Importance of Communication

I utterly agree with the phrase that is very famous in Russia – “The silence as valid as gold”. But I usually add to this very old and definitely good proverb “Only in a room full of sleeping people”. Of course it is important to know that sometimes silence is the best thing that ones can do, but more often my own experience proofs that on contrary sometimes it is really good to speak.

Communication is important. It helps us to solve problems of misunderstanding, shows if there are any problems at all. Think that the ability to talk, to share our emotions and thoughts is one of the greatest things that could we as human beings have to appreciate and use in the right way.

Can “Veles” Actually Be Useful? Sure!

It’s funny how unexpectedly some strange thoughts that make you feel super insecure can come to your mind. Usually it feels the same with that feeling when you suddenly discover something that was common and familiar to the others. It usually happens unexpectedly and makes you feel stupid, maybe angry with yourself – how could you not know about it?

I had the same feelings recently only not about some fact that everyone around knows. Counting views of our ad on Youtube I suddenly asked myself: what will happen then? After we graduate, get our MA diplomas, visit our last MACE Friday? Will someone think of “veils” as of something really useful? Will people actually buy it not because they are our friends?

The answer (surprisingly) came from an absolute stranger.

As an international student who came from the country that has its own social network I usually publish all materials that I publish on Facebook on VKontakte (popular Russian social network). The same thing I did with “Veles” advertisement. The result surprised me.

First of all, I was surprised by the number of people, who watched it. Those were not just my friends. Those people were friends of my friends, some people I’ve never seen or heard about. They not just watched it, but also liked it (the video and the product itself). But the most exciting thing was that people – not only my friends – actually wrote me to ask, what they should do, to buy “Veles” Sketch book.

This whole situation proofed me that “Veles” is useful product and people will buy it, that it is useful.

About “Overthink” Problem

Sometimes it is really bad to think about one problem over and over again. For example: finding the best solution for the contract that we can sign with our partners for “Veles” promoting. Since the very beginning our team wanted to have a potential partners for promoting “Veles” sketch book cover. We were looking for galleries, faculties and other companies that connected with arts industry. Luckily we found “Calvert 22 Foundation” – foundation that works with young artists from post-Soviet Union countries. Surprisingly, such a big and international gallery agreed to work with us almost immediately. We had few problems, didn’t know how to communicate with such a serious organization. But after few month we finally showed our prototype to Calvert. They agreed to be our partners and then gave us a “task” to think about paragraphs of the contract that we will sign when all the problems will be solved. And here came the problem number one million.

What to put in the contract? What points, what paragraphs?

I find it really difficult. When you think about something so much, you get more and more confused. Maybe that is the “overthink” problem…