(REFLECTIVE PAPER) The last leg of a long journey.

Introduction

 

Within the paper I will be reflecting on my experience with this module. I will use the classes and all the different things learnt to help define what my futures goals are and how I aim to achieve them. This is the end of a really intense journey but the beginning of a long and exciting story, I will aim to show what I’ve learnt but also demonstration how this class has equipped me with the different skills needed to be successful within the next five years.

 

Dreams that need to be lived

This class has truly been a once in a lifetime experience that I’m sure no one in my class will ever forget. Some parts I’ve really loved but some parts I’ve really struggled with, I can however say that I’ve learnt more than I ever thought I would. My passion in life is anything to do with music, I love singing and playing the piano, really just entertaining people with my music. Based on my passion I have 1 main goal that I would like to achieve within the next 10 years. My goal is to start my own record label where I can help other young artists achieve their dreams of being in the music industry. I have been performing for around six years and I have heard two things throughout this time, one that I have one of the most amazing voices ever and two that I just don’t have the look they are looking for. I believe that dreams shouldn’t be forgotten just because someone tells you something negative; if you believe in yourself anything is possible. This is the type of message I would like to promote within the music label, hopefully inspiring people to always continue to step out of there comfort zone and chase their dreams.

 

How the classes will help me achieve my goal

Through the course of the class we have possibly covered everything within the business- entrepreneurship sector, which includes; finance, marketing, branding, product development and so much more. However I believe I learnt the most from the classes that talked about social media and how to use it to the best of your ability, presentation preparation, how to use your skills and get the most out of it and also the USER MODEL which is a framework that helps section the different stages of the design thinking process (Beaumont, 2010). I believe I can take certain aspects of what I’ve learnt and apply them to the foundations of what I want to do with my future.

 

A big part of being an entrepreneur and starting businesses is being able to successfully network and build a strong portfolio of connections. In my Design a business class we spoke about how important social media is to anyone, especially those within a field where they are contently around people. I read an article by Andreas Kaplan where he spoke about how the world is still very unaware of how useful and important social media can be to the development of new and old businesses. There is only a small percentage of social media being used in the right way, Kaplan discuss how to increase the percentage of good use (Kaplan, 2010). I believe this is true because in class we also spoke about how social media, especially sites like twitter allow you to communicate with celebrates and other people of high status without invading there personal space, your more likely to get an answer to your question via social media than you would if you phoned or emailed. This is a skill I know I can defiantly use when it come to starting a record label. I think social media maybe one of the most important aspects of starting a business when dealing with the music industry. As well as being managing director of team Memoby I also did a lot of the work when it came to social media. I sent messages to loads of different major companies and was surprised when Etsy.com messaged me back and gave me some great advice and support on not only how to help my product succeed but also how to market myself as a strong brand because people not only look at the product but also the person selling it. According to (Ellison et al, 2007) no other form of technology is needed if social media is present, because it’s the most accessible form of communication and technology and can reach previously inhabited communities.

 

A long with social media we had classes on how to use the individual skills we have to the best of our ability. Most of the time the skill doesn’t matter, what matters is how you take that skill and adapt it to the situation your dealing with. Base on the information of DR Beaumont during class I decided to run a little experiment and see if her theory, that most skills can be used in most situations if done in the right way was accurate. During a long weekend I accompanied my mom to an international conference in South Africa that was aimed at finding different ways to promote health care within poorer communities of South Africa’s shanti towns. When I first got to the conference my mom disappeared into the sea of both doctors and marketing experts that had worked for different health services for many years. As a musician I was the odd person out and to be honest I didn’t really understand a lot of what they were talking about. What I did know is that they wanted to create a marketing campaign that would explain to the poorer parts of South Africa on why they need to regularly have medical check ups. Before I gave my advice, I thought the best course of action would be to apply the Sherlock Holmes theory to how the conferences was being delivered. The Sherlock Holmes theory is where a set of rules have been created to help enhance certain skills when in a situation that is out of your comfort zone. Based on the writing of (Parker, 2012) rules like; develop your intuition, learn to deduce facts from studying people, improve your power of observation and listen and keep an open mind. This theory can help concentrate the brain which then allow you to use the skills you have to the best of your ability. I followed this theory as part of my experiment and found that not only was the theory successful but also the overall experiment. After listening to all the suggestions on how to campaign, it was clear that all the proposals were very unimaginative. My opinion was that, basic marketing technics couldn’t always be used; sometimes you have to adapt the your surrounding and look at the cultural history and economical status of the area. I suggested that they focused on music, especially the history of South African music. From as early as the 1920s music in South Africa was used as a way to fight the injustice of what the government was doing, this was seen as the earliest stage of the apartheid (Ballantine, 1989). People would listen to the music and be filled with the confidence to keep fighting. In today’s time this hasn’t changed, music has become an even greater force and is used for so many different situations (Exploring Africa, 2011). So instead of singing about the government I suggested they sing about keeping South Africa alive by being healthy. This was received well by the people in the conference and hopefully they can use the information to save more lives.

 

 

The USER MODEL

Now that the Design a Business class is now over I believe that the class about the user model is by far the most important lesson we had. The User Model, which stands for User System Establish Realize, is a theory that helps make the process of creating a product or service a lot easier. I believe that this is a key skill that I need when starting my own business because it will help me to see the process in a systematic way (Beaumont, 2010). A long with this framework I also believe that the Darwin Evolution Start-up theory is very useful. This is because the theory is based around the premise that when like-minded companies are grouped together they can either grow stronger or weaker when enough time has been spent with each other (Bygrave, 1991). I find this interesting because I believe I can connect these two theories to my research within the social media area by creating to sets of networking groups; one based around the field I want to go into, which will mean that my label can grow from the ground up with strong companies. Not only will I gain that connection between companies but I will also be able to learn valuable pieces of information that will allow my company to succeed. The other network will be based around people, companies or organizations that are completely different to what my music label will be (Farbey, 2014). Though the Darwin theory talks about growing with companies in the same field I also believe that in order to grow beyond your expectations risks have to be taken, you can’t take risks if your always being safe.

 

Conclusion

Confidence is key! In the business I aim to go into confidence is by far the most important skill to have because it can be the difference between getting a record deal or not. In todays society it’s not always about if you can sing but rather if you can be confident enough to gain fans and turn yourself into that important brand. This reminds me of the classes where my teacher would speak on how to present yourself when giving a presentation. Over the months of this class I was involved in around 4 different presentations that all yielded different results even though what was being present was completely the same. I found it interesting to learn that your confidence can be altered based on the amount of people you present to and also the ratio of men to women. The females in my group felt more comfortable when the people being presented to where mostly women because they felt they understood the emotion of the product we was selling (Preston, 2007). However the guys in my group where more confortable when it was predominantly men because they asked less questions and allowed the presentation process to be over quickly. I’m still working on these skills myself because I’ve learnt that my confidence changes based on the facial expressions of the audience. However one day I would like to be able to present in any situation at anytime without feeling to conscious.

 

This class has firstly shown me how to be the best businesswomen I can be, I’ve learnt different ways to use my skills and talent to the best of my ability and I’ve also made loads of connections that I believe will help me in the future. In terms of the over all project I believe I made many mistake when it can to being managing director and having confidence in my judgment. I questioned myself a lot and that impacted everything from making the product to selling the product. Sometimes being a boss means making the hard decisions, I more so wanted to be my groups friend instead of their leader, this is why we struggled I believe. I had all the information and knew exactly what to say but confidence is something I really struggled with. In saying that I do believe that I have pushed my self to places I have never been before, managing a team and doing trade fairs really pushed me out of my comfort zone and it really showed me how to communicate with different types of people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

AVC (2012) The Darwinian Evolution of Startup Hubs, Available at:http://avc.com/2012/05/the-darwinian-evolution-of-startup-hubs/ (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Ballantine,C. (1989) ‘A brief history of south african popular music’, Popular music,8(3), pp. 305-310.

 

Beaumont, C. (2010) ‘The USER Model’. BS7706: Design a business. Available at:  http://macekingston.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/usermodel-corrinebeaumont.pdf

 

Bygrave, W. (1991) Theorizing about Entrepreneurship, Available at:http://www.taranomco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/273.pdf (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Ellison,N., Steinfield, C., Lampe, C. (2007) ‘The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), pp. 1143-1168.

 

Exploring Africa (2011) A brief background and history of African Music, Available at:http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/teachers/curriculum/m13/notes.php (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Farbey, Y. (2014) ‘The Darwin theory of start-ups’, The Start up Magazine, 9th April, p. 6.

 

Kaplan, A. (2010) ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media’, Business Horizons, 53(1), pp. 59-68.

 

Parker, M. (2012) How to think like sherlock Holmes , Available at:http://www.dreamspear.co.uk/how-to-think-like-sherlock-holmes/ (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Preston, N. (2007) Ten tips for presentation confidence and reducing nervousness,Available at:http://www.nipreston.com/publications/excerpts/Ten_Tips_for_Presentation_Confidence-SAMPLE.pdf (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

Presentation is what it is

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My last ever session for this amazing class that blog about involved my team and I giving a final presentation to a dragons den style assessment, to tell you the truth presenting has never really been something that I’ve loved to do. I really hate the feeling of being judged, knowing that at any moment I could mess up. To help me and my team prepare for this presentation I put together some tips that would help give us a bit more confidence, so I thought I would share them with the world to help any one that needs a little push. Presentations are a great way for people to meet and get to know your company and brand it’s also a great way to gain support and very important connections.

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Pictures – If slides are used, don’t over complicate them with loads of words. You want to hold attention and if there are loads of words you can’t do that.

Eye Contact – Always give the audience eye contact it helps them feel connected to you and what you are saying.

Personality – Show your personality, your character helps the people your presenting to know you better. It will help lighten the mood of the presentation, and hopefully make them laugh too.

Practice makes perfect – Practice is the best way to make sure your confident in everything that will happen. However don’t practice to much, it will make you stiff and nervous.

Stand/ walk– Stand and walk with confidence, believe in yourself and you will be ok.

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Trade fairs are not my friends

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Trade fairs 

So in the last few months my team and I have been given the opportunity to sell at a couple of trade fairs. To be honest I found both occasions to be quite hard to perform within, and I’m not sure I like the process of trade fairs. I’m someone that prides myself on having a lot of confidence when it comes to talking to people and making new friends but this wasn’t the case when it came to the trade fairs. I found it very hard to try to sell the product to the public because you could see their reaction before I had even finished talking. I was lucky if I could even get someone to stop and hear me out, everyone seemed extremely busy and rude at time. It wasn’t always about selling a product to us, more so about taking time to spread the word about what we do and how we do it. It was our aim to build a strong network of connections and use them to help us grow. Don’t get me wrong I’m not stating that trade fairs always don’t work they have the potential to deliver great results and reach a wider audience. I believe in everything you just have to make sure you pick the right type of people to do the right job.

 The other members within my groups found it a lot easier to talk to people about the products they seemed not to notice when someone wasn’t interested and was able to talk through the whole product without missing a beat. I prefer the classic ways of selling, in store and online. Personally I would focus on selling on sites like Etsy.com where its hand crafted customized goods from independent companies. That’s definitely where I’ll be focusing my attention on in the future because I know I can shine in that area and sell a lot of products.

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Who said Innovation was hard work?

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So as part of my course I got the chance to take part in a university-based competition where students from different university enter a business idea to either win £250 or £1000. Team Memoby failed to win any of the prizes but that’s ok because I understand where we went wrong, I’ll talk about that in my last post. That main thing I got out of the whole experience was that everyone has a skill that is useful, everyone has the optional to do great things but it all boils down to confidence, self-belief and determination. I believe that its not just products or services that can be innovative but also people and there process of work. This theory was very clear in the final presentation of the Bright Idea competition where we had the most amazing guest Shed Simove, let me just tell you that this guy is innovation in a nut shell.

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Shed Simove

Let me give some back ground information for those of you that don’t know who Shed Simove is. Shed is a 42-year-old British performer, entrepreneur, author and producer that has taken the world by storm with his innovative, fun and experimental gadgets that leave you laughing and asking questions. His focus for the last 3 years has been to create books and novelty products. The list below shows some of the things Shed has work on that have helped him reach his current status of success.

 

2001 – posed as a 16 year old schoolboy for a documentary on Channel 4

2006- Worked for Celebrity Big Brother 5

2007- legally changed his name by deed poll to GOD

2008- Launched is own currency name The Ego

2011- wrote a novelty book, ‘ What every man thinks about apart from sex’

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I believe that Shed really proved that people could also be innovative. I describe innovation as a process, you think different, act different and produce something different. To be innovative could both be complicated but very simple, you have to take risks, because risk allow for greater rewards. However in saying that taking risk could also give you a huge loss, me personally, I welcome a loss if it means one day ill get a big reward, you have to go through a lot of crap before you find the piece of gold.

Tips on how to help the innovation process

  1. Look beyond the clouds to see the sun– sometimes things are not what they seen. You have to be willing to look beyond what you eyes will show you. With the right mind you can change anything.
  2. Questions are you’re friend – As long as you have questions, ask them. Questions are the best way to learn, you wont know unless you ask. Also questions can lead to some great connections.
  3. Soak it up like a sponge – No matter how old, educated or important you are, learning new things will always make you better. There is always someone out there that could teach you something new, be will to soak it up and lean.
  4. Grow like a strong tree- as time moves and trends come and go you have to be willing to change with the time and develop.
  5. Who said you can’t- You can do anything you set your mind to. If you always listen to the negative things people say you will probably fail. Keep pushing and keep trying, its all in good time.

 

 

Simove, S. (2014) Shed Simove the ideas man, Available at: http://shedsimove.com/(Accessed: 12th April 2014).

How the Memoby Box was created (Part 3)

This is the last section in a 3-part blog that looks at the product, design thinking and how we created the product. I will explain in detail how the memoby box came to life and the different skills we used to create a brand.

 Get the box

When my team and I started working on designing our product we seemed to complicate things a lot by finding the hardest and longest way to produce results. We started looking for different manufactures that would build the box we had designed, the aim was to use word and plastic but as time went on we found it would be very expensive because not only would you have to pay for the creation of the box you would also have to think about the raw materials. We would not make a profit because the coz for of product for each unit would be high. This is also where we used design thinking, instead of building a box we decided to by an already built plain box , which would save time and a lot of money. In total my team and I spent a third on buying a the boxes pre made, than if we would of made them ourselves. This means we can allocate the rest of the funds to designing the product.

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Change the box

To save money as we went to a bulk buying art Supply Company and brought all our material like paint, gloss and other things. We then transformed the boxes by sanding, painting an glossing. After doing a lot of research we decided that we wanted our products to have a homemade feel, that was a big part of our other all brand. Using the sixth rule from Eight Rules for Creating Great White Papers we found that “Graphics and the look are content too.” Sometimes the way the product looks it more important than what it does because the look is the first thing that is noticed so it can tell an interesting story.

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Customizes the box

Our university has a great arts and craft department that we felt we could use from the beginning. Early on we set up meeting and began to build connections with the staff in that department. In return they not only gave us unlimited access to the machines that 3D printer an scanner but they also help us regularly when we used the machines. Our main focus was to use the machine to scan the memoby logo but also scan customized writing and images for each customer, which in the end cost us nothing because of our connection.

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Throughout my classes the main theme that my teacher spoke about was based around being different. There are many different ways to do things but it’s about taking the skills you already have and using them in an unconventional manor. One skill can have a thousand uses but if you don’t try then you’ll never know. When creating your masterpiece use all resources and connections available, anything that is free or discounted can help.

 

 

ID Employee (2005) Eight Rules for Creating Great White Papers, Available at:http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/g.w.m.rauterberg/lecturenotes/Eight-Rules-for-Writing-Great-White-Papers.pdf (Accessed: 19th of April 2014).

 

How do we design it? (part 2)

The process of designing the Memoby Box

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The image below shows the first design of the original Memoby box. As you can see there are many different features and also bits of technology that we decided did not fit the Memoby ethos. This was at the point where we not only focused on design thinking, criteria to create the box and also the type of message Memoby wanted to deliver.

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Design thinking and how I’ve used it.

I define design thinking as a process where critical and creative thinking are combined to create a new thought pattern. It’s a process that allows the users to organize information gathered and use that information in unique ways. This was the main process my team and me used when we started thinking about what we wanted for our product. We tried to fit square into circle by looking at the square in different ways.

My design process for the Memoby box

When designing the Memoby box my team and I focused on three main areas that allowed us to create a good product. The list below shows the areas of interest and the questions we asked our self’s, because we felt that if we could answer each question we could not only see the positive results but also see what we need to work on.

  • Context

What is the main issue we are tying to fix and how does aspects of culture; area, age and social class affect what the product will be.

  • Impact

How can we adapt not only the product but also how we present it to the different areas stated in the context section? How do we maximize the impact of how people view the brand?

  • Craft

How is the product improved after research to meet the needs of what the consumers? What is the process we take to make these improvements?

 

How would you create a great product? I believe that design thinking is a process that should be implemented into everyday life, it would allow people to become more create and approach life in a different way.

Blog Fest, Uni life and so much more

 

Hi guys, would you believe that this is my first post of 2014, time literally ran away from me and I’ve been chasing it since December 2013. This years has already been so busy that it’s left me in a continuous state of ‘work mode’ but never the less my excitement for not only finishing but also seeing the combination of all my hard work is pushing me to continue through this final step. It is now April and all my taught classes have ended then in September I hand in my last ever piece of work, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for a whole year.

I’m so ready to move on to the next part of my life and see new experiences come by. Also in the words of my famous strategy teacher “once you have a masters, you’re pretty much a master of the universe” I completely believe that 100%

My first week back in to the Mace Design a Business class was so interesting and intriguing because it offered insight into how other people saw me as a blogger and a serious writer. I was entered into a competition called Blog Fest 2014, where a group of other bloggers read each other’s posts and voted for the best Blogger and best blog post. Would you believe that I came fourth out of 35 for best blogger and had one post that was a top favourite? This one session really showed me how to continuously grow and be better than what I previously was. From the comments of the other bloggers I learnt that I am unique, as a writer I have a voice that is very different which helps me stand out. This is an important skill to have when starting a business because when it comes to marketing, having a unique way to present the service or product can truly elevate who and how people approach the business.

This Is very true for the Memoby product, we deliberately wrote in a style that is both light hearted and fun but also very thought provoking. We focused on using two different styles of writing, expository writing and descriptive writing.

Expository writing is used to help effectively explain what the Memoby product is quickly and accurately. It wasn’t a place for us to give our personal opinion on the product, but rather give facts and statistics about not just the product but also the research we did to produce the product.

Descriptive writing is used as a form to be more creative and opinionated within the Memoby brand. This was by far the best way for us to truly allow consumers to understand what our product is about. We created stories and used words that allowed the imagination to become very creative.

 Hub Pages (2014) Four Different Types of Writing Styles: Expository, Descriptive, Persuasive and Narrative, Available at: http://hunbbel-meer.hubpages.com/hub/Four-Types-of-Writing (Accessed: 11th April 2014).

 

Remember when writing you always want to leave a great or lets just say important impression. The product might be amazing but if you can’t make people love the products based on how you present it in terms of your writing skills then they wont fair well in the long run.

 

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