This reflective account begins by understanding the importance of the entrepreneurial project and how it creates value for various learning mechanisms such as reflexive learning. After this I conducted a detailed events timetable & graph, which highlights which event, was most satisfying and well help me progress in the future. After completing this, the report is broken down into 9 core areas, which relate to the nine key stages of this live process, each stage is reviewed and then critical incidents are evaluated supported by theory and knowledge.
There are several critical incidents, which indicate the learning by doing philosophy. To conclude look as an overview how entrepreneurial studies have helped me to become more mature & responsible and why I am so eager to carry on with the existing project successfully. Finally I have conducted possible recommendations to help future young entrepreneurial students.
1.1 Entrepreneurial Project
Entrepreneurship education has helped develop my self-confidence, initiative, team spirit, self-esteem, and the drive to excel.
Before university I developed people skills working with my father in a local convenience store from a young age, having your father as a mentor simply built a practical platform to believe and challenge myself to become a successful Entrepreneur. This strongly relates to Edward B. Roberts theory, which says, “Father’s businesses & availability is the answer to proliferate the probability that an offspring will later become an entrepreneur.”:(Roberts 1991). However I always wanted to test myself more, this entrepreneurial project gave me the opportunity to develop my entrepreneurial spirit. Unlike a pedological project, working for an SME project is very unique & challenging to “sustain performance in the long term”: (P.Cocca 2013), across this project there is a range of assessments, which simply means extensive feedback making this module as a whole far more meaningful than others & learning sooner than expected if I am capable of exploiting my entrepreneurial spirit effectively. Below is a diagram I made showing my entrepreneurial cycle, core areas are completed successfully preparing me for the future.
1.2 Experimental Learning
Experimental Learning is a flaccid tool used throughout this entrepreneurial project; Experimental Learning has provided me with direction, this practical project “acted as a guide.”: (Hutton 1989). The kinesthetic approach (Fenwick 2000), constant feedback from mentors & module leader as well as the active phase of learning “reflects on different ways of knowing.”:(McGill 1989), this mirrors how meaningfulness this entrepreneurial project has been too me. This project helps develop personal cognitive skills (analyzing journals) as well as practical skills (action learning), and emphases the importance of “incidental learning.” (Marwick & Watkins, 1990). Emotional intelligence is also developed, in a sense of how this project teaches the importance of self-management to maximize efficiency & brings continuous professional development (Coleman 1995, 1998). 1.3 Reflective Learning
Reflection is a key tool during this entrepreneurial project, the nature of reflective learning, is the ability to cope with an “ill structured situation”: (Donald Schon, 1983 – 1987). Assessing this project, I understand there are four essential factors which evaluates reflective learning * Knowledge & Understanding
* Critical Review
* Unexpected Outcomes
Reflection as a whole has helped improve my learning behaviour which simultaneously brings control & ownership (Rogers 1969) as well as enhancing my employability skills (Moon, 2003), I also understand when reflecting on a particular scenario, if this repeats its self in the future I am ready and aware on how to tackle it, this reiterates Selfe & Arbab theory who state an individual who reflects about a process are more able to solve future problems adequately. (Selfe & Arbab 1986). This report will demonstrate awareness on unique actions, events & incidents through out this entrepreneurial project which are located within “explicable multiple perspectives & supported by historical, socio-political context”, this defines critical reflection (Hatton Smith 1995), which mirrors a perspective transformation learning tool (Mezirow, 1991, Moon, 1999).
1.4 Reflexive Learning
To focus on key critical incidents that have taken place during the core 9 steps of this entrepreneurial project, using a reflexivity approach rather than reflective is more adequate because it acts as a pro-active process. Jay Rothman’s concept contradicts Schon work, who believes reflection-in-action, can be used as a professional tool to improve practice as well as how observation & reflection is describe through tacit knowledge. However, Rothman prioritises on transforming an incident or conflict from destructive to constructive especially in-group relations. Considering my project requires substantial teamwork, the relationship between 2 peers (business partners), myself and the context of the project “involves delaying reactions and examining key concerns”. (Rothman, 1997, 36). Below is a table showing key differences between reflective & reflexivity understanding: Reflective (Schon 1983) V.S Reflexivity (Rothman’s 1997)| Improve practice via retrospective analysis| Reflexivity is far more pro-activity| Primarily focuses on previous events| Immediate impact on changing practice| Use of knowledge used to improve practice| Conflicts are based on feelings & meaning| Introspection takes place after interaction| Incorporates introspection consistently| Actions are foremost & context is passive| Interaction between Environ & myself|
During this report, both reflective & reflexivity will be incorporated, however a strong emphasis will be applied on Rothman’s theorist approach, because reflexivity acts as an analytic tool for the reflective process, for each critical incident, I will scrutinize values & priorities, and answer self-assessment questions such as why a certain situation was so important to me? What did I contribute to an idea? What changes can I make? As well as this I will focus on double loop learning (See Appendix 1), revaluating frames, goals & reshape a conflict resolution process.
2.0 Key Events Table:
Below I have conducted a table highlighting key events throughout my entrepreneurial project, each event is referred as a subject between the Letter A to T, this helped to build a Self assessment graph showing which experience I found least and most gratifying for the future.
3.0 Satisfactory Graph
* All key 20 events are listed on the Y Axis, this graph shows the highs & lows of the project * What I enjoyed most & What I enjoyed least * Key reason why I did this was to show, during an entrepreneurial project the mind fluctuates. * Working in a team and on a live project, pressure stress leads to mistakes, which I aim to fix. * Trial and Error method used in this entrepreneurial project makes this experience valuable. * In Appendix 2 I have created a detailed graph evaluating each event to my understanding.
4.0 Critical Incidents & the 9 steps
During this entrepreneurial process, I realized the team and myself who carried out this project constantly hit the wall several times, when the teacher explains entrepreneurial knowledge, during the latter stage peers and myself found it difficult to apply the process of changing concepts during the live project. (Bowden & Matton, 1998), Which resulted in core critical incidents during all 9 steps: 5.0 Define The Project
This was the initial task to commence the entrepreneurial project, launching a business, is exciting, but it was because of this live project; there were several areas, which needed re-assessing. Defining the project was simple focusing on my new established online student business, Loudvert.
5.1 Critical Incident – Misunderstanding of Project Definition
Understanding each personal role was extremely difficult & it wasn’t till half way through the project each team player understood their project definition clearly. Initially all members who worked on this project had similar skills, experience & knowledge, all team players favored comparable roles which was not strategically effective, and because we have built a mutual friendship over three years the issue of executing a “telling-off” attitude was difficult.
It was after a meeting with my Entrepreneurial course leader, who taught me the understanding of “tough-love” (J.Chang 2013). Knowing I am legally bided to the business, I had to re-assess myself & understand what type of changes can I make instantly, not having well structured stakeholders will only cause the business to fail (Aldrich 1977), to overcome this critical incident, created a covenant a legal document between all partners within the business, who agreed to perform certain roles within the business. After this I understood it was my duty to focus on the business development of Loudvert as my project. Key tasks include: * Analyze economic trends & competition
* Secure financial resources for development
* Network & Expand to different institutions
* Assess current revenue streams & brainstorm new ones 6.0 Describe the team strengths & weaknesses during project
This entrepreneurial project allowed entrepreneurial peers to work for a real SME (Small-Medium enterprise) situation therefore obtaining critical entrepreneurial experience. (L.J.Edwards 1994). However we worked on our personal SME project, this didn’t just motivate an element of success, but take full advantage to promote development of enterprising behavior using self-directed experience as a core learning tool (Cresswell, 1999).
6.1 Critical Incident: more team weaknesses than strengths
It was noticeable how team weaknesses outweighed strengths at the preliminary stage of this project (Appendix 3). Being the CEO, flexibility and time management was a personal area I needed to work on prior to this project, to avoid “stress & impairs performance” (Hoff Macan, 1994).
During this 5-month process, the team now regularly meets, productivity has increased, and leaving my part-time job has enhanced time management skills. This just shows how valuable this project experience has been, being the CEO, I am far more capable to address problems, create a motivational atmosphere and learnt how to listen to ideas, summarize & craft articulate goals (N.Williams 2009). Being more productive and efficient all reiterates Tuckman 4 phases of teamwork, earlier we were “forming” and today we are currently “performing”(Tuckman 1965).
6.2 Critical Incident: The Entrepreneurial Pitch
Recently presenting the project to senior lecturers, personally feel there was lack of teamwork skills, this pitch recently happened at the end of the entrepreneurial process and to still make a mistake shows there is constant room for improvement. During the pitch the marketing director pushed forward and answer majority of the questions, I did not see this happening which resulted in personal critical feedback, however this does teach me when Loudvert is in such a situation again, it is important to plan out the presentation knowing who answers which question this ensures a sustainable balance which portrays a sense of business organization & awareness (Fritz Heider 1958)
7.0.Define the context of the project
This step looks at the activity to understand the target market of the chosen project (P.Duchaine 2007). Initially did a questionnaire across four different campuses to understand what out target audience wanted, feedback & results this can be seen in (Appendix 4), results showed students felt the value university life was highly rated and too expensive. 7.1 Critical Incident: Applying the four wheel driving tool (Appendix 5)
Experimental Learning, gives you the opportunity to revisit business development strategies; dialogue sessions during the project process, gives an opportunity to hear alternatives that peers & module leader has to offer, using this pedagogy helps establish the context in the long run. Being the business development Director & participating in group learning sessions, made me think of exactly what to do, getting that kick in the backside feeling, within the next few days I decided to act upon an opportunity effectively (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000). I managed to receive a successful application from business start up loans, an extra £1000 has recently been added into the business account, as stated earlier one key definition of a strong business development director is to find ways of bringing in financial funds for the business, with the £1000 and specialist mentor in our hands, reiterates the potential of my business & how being innovative and exploring alternatives is a core aspect I have learnt from this module (Gibb Self Reflection 1988). 7.2 Critical Incident: Guidance from other modules
Whilst defining the context of the idea, difficult to research market segmentation, target audience, as well as understand business model different modules played a pivotal role to help overcome these difficulties. Strategic Perspectives – Glo-bus stimulation game, where a team of 4 manage a company for 12 years equivalent to 12 weeks, being the democratic leader making critical decisions, as well as adapting to different strategies motivating the team behind me, reflects on how well I have performed for Loudvert. Marketing Management – Currently revising for this exam, key marketing models such as Boston matrix, marketing mix, & competitor analysis etc, used to analyze the industry trends. Entrepreneurship Theory 2 Practice – conducting Business Model analysis, and learning how there are a variety of business models, important to see which represents Loudvert the most, (Informediary), learning this as well as conducting a feasibility report for a new shoe company questions how profitiable Loudvert can be. 8.0 Describe the offer
This step, entrepreneurial students, needed to conduct a survey to help understand their clientele for their entrepreneurial project, however because Loudvert is a personal revelation, with a variety of surveys already conducted over the past few years, it was more important to re-evaluate the value proposition & understand what makes our business model so unique and different from competitors. 8.1 Critical Incident: Stress
Stress can be defined “as an adaptive response to a situation that is perceived as challenging to the person wellbeing” (J.C.Quick 1997). Complex emotions easily rise which can cause depression, medical issues, work overload, this highlights the importance of organization structure,(McGraw Hill 2011). As the Business Development Director, can be extremely stressful to develop a unique offer, dealing with external challenges such as attending network events, meetings and internal challenges such as providing feedback, market research, monitoring team players goals and objectives sometimes led to chaos. 8.2 Critical Incident: Evaluate Unique Selling Point
As the business development director, had to go out there and understand target market, speak to students (fresher’s) whilst working for the university and understand there main priorities, research and look for competitors (listmyunibooks/studentbeans), use of analytical skills to discover how to fill market gaps as well as using the trial & error method which comes to a conclusion that Loudvert USP is: * A service built by students for students & essence of emotional attachment * The only London based student service
* 0 % Commission on books sold on the service
9.0 Communication & Action Plan
The communication plan involves identifying and meeting the information needs of the stakeholders. Successful planning and execution of communication strategies helps build a relationship with internal partners, external customers and clienteles is an important gateway to unlock sustainable value (Eduardo 2007). This procedure represents a detailed schedule for the communication & action plan team members must link to their own department, however there was a misunderstanding, which led to the 8th critical incident. 9.1 Critical Incident: Communication Plan Similarities
Confusion between individual roles became a concern once again, not meeting goals set for the entrepreneurial project. However using a reflexive approach examining on key concerns, because two members, in the team, the marketing director & web coordinator, didn’t leave their part-time work lead to poor time management skills & absence from class. This forced an error to occur, all communication plans were similar, however as shown in appendix 6 my communication plan links strongly with the project definition, to receive feedback that we are unsure about our project definition whilst half way through the module was upsetting, because if team players chose to sacrifice work or organize time management effectively, this issue would not of risen, avoiding friction amongst the group that emerged at the time. 10.0 Develop HRM Plan
Strategically implementing an effective systematic HRM model Appendix 7 helps to manage the current workforce in the business whilst maximizing motivation consistently through appraisals & reward schemes (Abraham Maslow – 1954). The HRM plan is effective if participants meet strategic goals productively. In 1995, Chris Ainsworth a HRM specialist, developed 6 stages which determines a successful strategically HRM plan (Management Development Review 1995). The first 3 steps have been verbally conducted however it is my task to execute stage 4 successfully.
As my project is role is the business development director, developing a HRM plan is essential to manage existing stakeholders objectives and goals as well as keeping the option open to bring in new existing stakeholders, this links very well with one of the 5 principles of effectuation, crazy quilt, expand your network with what you have and who you know is willing to give everything for the business (Saraswathy 2009). 10.1 Critical Incident: Mismatch between Applicant & Skills
Setting out a detailed HRM plan for the partners and myself, was time consuming yet imperative. However one critical issue was the mismatch with the project role given to the partner compared to the existing skills the partner had. This partner project role was to be a web coordinator, carrying out roles to manage the content & aim to build traffic, however objectives and goals were not met accordingly, and it wasn’t till near the end of the project, linked his existing learning skills (financial & analytical skills) to be the finance director of Loudvert. This evaluates how the HRM plan can be ineffective, unless recruitment process is correct. This teaches me in the future when working on this project or at work, understands the individual skills and matching them is a necessity before conducting a HRM plan. 11.0 Develop financial plan
Without a stable financial plan, the prospects for any business to be successful are minimal (Moorjani 1975). This underlines how important a financial plan is for the business, as the Business Development Director, I expect the financial director to update me on all financial findings, however I studied key revenue streams and built a cost/revenue structure within my specified department, focusing on the £1000 start up loan, given recently, the cost structure looks at the expenses too (Appendix 8). 11.1 Critical Incident: Poor Financial Understanding
Using Kevin Hindle Entrepreneurship workbook, I have built a general spreadsheet structure, to help highlight the feasibility of this project (K.Hindle, 2004). Before this project began, my financial skills have always been poor, my analytical skills are limited, however whilst carrying out this project, because it is a real life scenario, when ever a financial situation appeared I had to tackle it, for e.g. when applying for the business start up loan, I was requested to complete a personal cash flow statement, start up costs & calculations to estimate what quarter the business is able to repay the loan, Initially I would go and ask for help, however I wanted to test myself and learn, for this will only benefit me in the future, this is clear example of experimental learning, making meaning from direct experience (Kolb,1984). 12.0 Implement & evaluate the project
Carrying out this project has been a memorable experience, which has taught me a substantial amount on the importance of entrepreneurial learning, unquestionably I feel now I have got the credentials and ability to execute my entrepreneurial spirit into the business world. During this project, developed several entrepreneurial capabilities through learning (Cope & Watts, 2000), this has helped me to understand what is entrepreneurship, how to take on responsibility & become more entrepreneurial in future projects and hopefully be a successful entrepreneur after graduation. (Gibb 1999). I have attached a self-assessment cycle, which looks at 3 key skills (Appendix 9) 12.1 Critical Incident: WIKI Project & Log books
During this project, an option to upload anything, which relates to the project on your own personal Google website includes: meetings summaries, diagrams, images, memos & notes, as well as this submission of log books across the 5 month period significantly helped to evaluate the project and support the writing of the reflective essay, this mirror John’s evaluation of reflection, who suggests by using “emotions & theoretical concepts, recorded in a reflective diary” highlights the “importance of learning from experience”(John 1955). 12.2 Critical Incident: Decisive Feedback
Submitting a project proposal, 9 different logs as well as the pitch, means constant feedback and grades are available, if anything this builds motivation to work and concentrate hard each week to excel and propel, as well this the feedback received from each assignment submitted helps prepare for the future, key critical feedback retrieved from module leader from earlier assignments which I tried to tackle recently: * Improper Citations, assess this issue with the link provided * Recognize weaknesses of team players
* Apply other modules and explain what you have learnt
* Reevaluate your project definition
* Avoid superficial application of theory
12.3 Critical Incident: Competition
Monday morning 3rd December 2012, I had a very interesting meeting with the module leader, personally ever since a young age, I used competition especially with friends and peers alike to motivate myself to propel higher than others, whilst discussing this, very interesting to hear how being competitive shows an element of jealousy, nervousness and leads to frustration which can result in failing more than exceeding, from a reflexive point of view, this talk still in mind, and if anything has helped me to become more professional and developed my self awareness. Today I aim to use knowledge learnt from this project and give it “back to the
community”(Wingeyes 2012). 12.4 Causation V.S Effectuation
Saras Sarasvathy a well renowned entrepreneurial sensation differentiates learning between causation, which is exploring existing dormant markets & effectual reasoning, which focuses on controllable aspects of an unpredictable future. (Sarasvathy 2001). Before I was unaware of the 5 principles and the concept, this is a new learning tool, which I have learnt during my entrepreneurial studies, using existing means whilst at an affordable loss level surprised me because I always believed entrepreneurs are risk takers (Sarasvathy, 1998). This teaches take a different approach when a new project begins, in Appendix 10 I have applied an effectuation cycle to Loudvert.
This module is distinctive, gives an opportunity to have a participative role, which has helped enhance my existing skills and build new ones. This life project consists of action learning, which I believe is a fantastic educational tool, which helps to build on self-awareness & aptitude (Pittaway, 2007).
During this module/project, there has been several events, guest speakers, log submissions, presentations as well as this reflective assignment, overall helping me to discover new-founded entrepreneurial knowledge & Understanding (Ghaye 1998), as well as the importance of the “Learning by doing” motive (Politis, 2005).
15 Plus critical incidents, indicate doing work or making a mistake during this project doest mean your wrong, in fact opens a gate way to acknowledge opportunities & to grow. (Jason Cope 2007). It is because I was dealing with a real life situation, as well as emotional attachment because I had the luck to work on my own business, a rare yet exciting opportunity, helped enhance my communication, leadership, and financial skills. With more responsibility I feel I am ready for the venture-capitalist business world, as well as ensuring I give the value to students & the modern society.
Considering we were the first batch to carry out this project, possible recommendations I offer for future entrepreneurial students is: * To be a learned entrepreneur, include an exam, which reflects on experiences supported by critical theories, learning them for the exam is far more productive. And applicable * Get out their and network with students who doing the same project in different institutions * Add a video diary to the assessment criteria, testing creativity & innovation skills. * More personal coaching, by far the most best asset during live project.
* http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sej.12/abstract. Last accessed 22th April 2013 * Jacob,C. (2008). Why is Time Management so important? Available: http://www.career-success-for-newbies.com/why-is-time-management-important.html. * Duardo. (2007). On the Communication Plan. Available: http://onprojects.net/2007/12/11/prince2-communication-plan-template/. * Ainsworth, C. (1995). Guide on Developing a HRM Plan. Available: http://www.csb.gov.hk/english/publication/files/Develop_HRM_Plan_e.pdf. Last accessed April 13 2013. * Hindle K. (2004). Entrepreneurship, Context Vision Planning. Available: https://learning.westminster.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-486102-dt-content-rid-1439914_1/courses/BMKT614.Y/Entrepreneurship%20workbook%20%282%20ed%29%20-%20Legge.pdf. Last accessed Feb 11th 2013. * Isaacs, W (1999). Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together. USA: Double Day. P34. * Johns, C. (2000) Becoming a Reflective Practitioner: a reflective and holistic approach to clinical nursing, practices development * Shane, S. & Venkataraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of * Sarasvathy, S. (2008). Element of Entrepreneurial Expertise. Available: Last accessed 14th April 2013. * Reuber, R.A., Dyke, L.S., & Fischer, E.M. (1990). Experiential acquired knowledge and entrepreneurial venture success. Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, 69–73. * Pittaway,L,Cope, J. (2007). Simulating Entrepreneurial Learning : Integrating Experiential and Collaborative Approaches to Learning. anagement Learning. 388 (1), 212 – 215.
* Politis, D. (2005), “The process of entrepreneurial learning: a conceptual framework”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 399-424.Last accessed 11th April 2013. * Cope, J. (2011). Entrepreneurial learning from failure: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal Of Business Venturing. 26 (6), p604 – 623. * Darling,I. (1998). Reflective Practitioner. Available: http://www.lupinworks.com/ar/Schon/Paper6.html. Last accessed 17 April 2013.
16.1 Appendix 1 – Double Loop Learning
16.2 Appendix 2 – Detailed Graph Personal verdict on entrepreneurial project
h16.3 Appendix 3 – Different In Team Strengths & Weaknesses
16.4 Appendix 4 – Key findings through market research/questionnaire
16.5 Appendix 5 – Four learning cycle
16.6 Appendix – 6 Communication Plan
16.7 Appendix 7 – Human Resource Management Plan
16.8 Appendix 8 – Financial Plan
16.9 Appendix 9 – Self Reflective Chart, Gibb , Degree of Learning
16.10 Appendix 10 – Personal Effectual Cycle
Cite this Entrepreneurial Project
Entrepreneurial Project. (2016, Aug 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/entrepreneurial-project/