Personal Entrepreneurial Development
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As an entrepreneur, who has been able to achieve a lot in the world of entrepreneurship, I am starting from a small business to a multinational business enterprise. The entrepreneurial journey has not been that easy, whereby I have had to face so many challenges related to the world of business. The challenges that I have faced as an entrepreneur have been instrumental, helping me to develop as an entrepreneur and arrive at the position that I am in today. This essay is a reflective journal of my personal development as an entrepreneur. The journal contains a reflection of my entrepreneurial profile entailing how I started my entrepreneurial career and achievements that I have been able to make for the years that I was involved in the entrepreneurship. It also contains details of the actions that I have been taking to improve my entrepreneurial competencies over the years. It will have a personal development plan that I intended to implement, so that I can improve my entrepreneurial skills and competencies.
I have been in the field of entrepreneurship for the last ten years since I graduated from the college. Having graduated from the college with a degree in computer science, I decided to start a software development firm. The firm would concentrate on developing software and computer programs for various institutions across Chinese market. After careful research of the viability of the idea in terms of its marketability and future prospect of growing, I decided to register my small firm with the name of Juan Lee Software Development firm. After registering my business I was faced with a major challenge of raising the initial capital, so that I could make the firm fully operational. After explaining my business idea to my friends and parents I was able to raise the initial capital. My small company had four employees at the initial stage. Two of the employees were supposed to concentrate on developing software, while the other two were to market the business and find contracts to work on. Given that at the initial stage my firm could not develop software and computer programs for big firms and institutions, the firm’s target market was small businesses and institutions that were in need of the computer programs and software.
For the first year the firm was faced with huge financial debts because I could not get enough contracts to meet the operational costs of running the firm. I was about to give up but decided to continue with the business, despite the fact that the firm was operating at a loss. Within the second year the firm had started to grow and was picking up. The second year of operation saw my firm managing to win a number of contracts in various small businesses and this helped in improving the firm’s financial position (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). The firm was able to meet its debt obligations within that financial year. After being in the business of developing computer programs and software I decided to start targeting bigger institutions, given that my firm had the capacity to meet demands of bigger institutions. Even though the process was initially challenging, with the help of financial institutions I was able to overcome these financial challenges that were hindering progress and growth of the business.
After seeing that my firm had successfully grown to be a larger firm, I decided to diversify my investment portfolio by investing in different entrepreneurial ventures in order to reduce the risk that comes with lack of diversification of the investment. I opened the computer and laptop hardware distribution business which was to concentrate on the distribution of computers and laptops to various parts of China. The business is operating under the name of Deny Lee Distributors Enterprise. The business has been able to grow at a fast rate despite various challenges making it one of the most successful entrepreneurial ventures that I have invested in over the years. The enterprise has been able to win a larger market share in the Chinese market and plans are underway to expand its operations to other global markets, especially to the African market.
Having learned the act of entrepreneurship and importance of diversifying investment, I also opened one of the most successful phone accessories distribution firms in the Chinese market. This entrepreneurial venture has been successful due to the growing demand for phone accessories for the last five years, making t one of the most viable markets in the economy.
From a small entrepreneur I have been able to grow to one of the most successful entrepreneurs in China with three operating entrepreneurial ventures. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this success, most of which are internal, while others are external factors.
Actions of Improving Entrepreneurial Competencies
For the last ten years I have been able to improve my entrepreneurial skills and competencies through various ways. Venturing into the world of business with no experience in conducting business was one of the most difficult activities that I have ever encountered in my life. High expectations of making huge returns within the first year of operation and failure to accomplish this goal were the biggest setbacks in my career as an entrepreneur (Maria & Moren, 2010).
Attending the entrepreneurial training seminars has been one of the strategies that I have put into actions to improve my entrepreneurial competencies. It is through these trainings that I managed to acquire managerial skills which have been instrumental in the management of my businesses over the years. In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, one should have the right management skills necessary to run the business to the intended direction (Nicolaou and Shane, 2009). Management skills for stock managing so that the business can have right amount of stock at all times are crucial to avoid overstocking or understocking. Skills on the management of resources are needed to avoid misappropriation which may cause a business failure. Working capital management skills are very crucial for an entrepreneur, so that he or she would be able to enhance the liquidity position of the business. Having this knowledge in mind, I have been determined to acquire these management skills which are crucial for successful running of the business. In order to enhance my management skills, I decided to attend all entrepreneurial training programs that the government and other stakeholders organize, so that I can acquire these important skills. My course of action has been instrumental as it has enabled me to enhance my entrepreneurial management skills for those years I have been involved in the entrepreneurial activities (Ramoglou, 2011).
Learning from my failures has been one of the most useful courses of action that I have been using to improve my competencies as an entrepreneur. I made many mistakes in my entrepreneurial activities which have been costly to the businesses that I am running, but these mistakes have been a source of learning platform. Most of my mistakes have been related to the management of resources, whereby I have found myself overcommitting excess funds to new projects, thereby resulting to the huge losses after failure of these projects. Due to lack of adequate knowledge in the field of financial management at the start of my career as an entrepreneur, I made many mistakes which almost made the first firm to be closed down (Gedajlovic, Neubaum and Shulman 2009). With time I have managed to learn from my mistakes. I have improved my financial management competencies by learning from my mistakes and enhancing my skills from those mistakes.
Embracing the culture of information sharing has been very useful action that I did take and which has helped me to improve my competencies as an entrepreneur. In all my entrepreneurial ventures I have built a culture where employees are free to share any information regarding the organization with me (Deakins & Freel, 2009). This culture was one of the greatest sources of information that has helped me to perfect my entrepreneurial skills. The employees have been providing very vital information to me in regard to what needed to be done in order to improve operations of the businesses, strategies of marketing the business operations and ensuring that all the needs of my customers are fully satisfied. I have also embraced a feedback mechanism, whereby various business stakeholders are expected to provide feedback on the services they get from the business. This strategy has been useful in providing information needed in relation to improving the quality of product offered, as well as improving quality of the services offered by my businesses to my customers (Ucbasaran, Westhead and Wright, 2001). The culture of sharing information has been helping to improve my marketing and management skills as an entrepreneur over the years.
Putting in place good communicationn system in my businesses has been an instrumental course of action that I took and which has been helping me to improve my competencies as an entrepreneur over the years. In order for any business venture to succeed, an effective and efficient communication system should be put in place to ensure that there is the proper coordination of activities within the business. Having been aware of this fact, I decided to embrace a good communication system within my businesses that encourages sharing of information between various departments (Robert, Lechter & Michael, 2009). The communication system has been useful in improving my communication skills which are very crucial for me to succeed as an entrepreneur. Though interaction with various employees and customers has been in a position to improve my communication skills from one level to a higher one. I have also improved my communication skills by attending seminars that are aimed at training entrepreneurs on improving their entrepreneurial communication skills. It is through gaining experience on how to communicate with my customers and employees that I have been able to achieve a lot as an entrepreneur for the last ten years.
Embracing the culture of innovations and teamwork has been very instrumental in improving my entrepreneurial competencies. Software development requires very high level of innovation. The maximum level of innovation cannot be achieved in the organization, unless the management embraces the culture of using teams. As an entrepreneur I was using teams to come up with innovations, where in most cases I have been the team leader. It is in these groups I have been able to improve my interpersonal skills as an entrepreneur. Interpersonal skills are very important in managing a business. Interaction with various team members, where I am always a team member and a team leader, has enabled me to improve these crucial entrepreneurial skills (Lundström, Anders und Stevenson & Lois, 2005).
Personal Development Plan
In order to continue on the path of success as an entrepreneur, I need to come up with an entrepreneur development plan which will be based on various principles of entrepreneurship. First, I will embark on striving towards understanding and mitigating various risks that face my entrepreneurial ventures. Given the ever-changing world of business, there is a need to understand risks that come with these changes and that may have negative impact on the operation and profitability of the business. Given, that the world of business is usually faced with such challenges as price movements, exchange rate risks are among other types of risks. As an entrepreneur, I need to improve the risk identification as well as to be aware of various risk mitigation strategies. The area of risk management is the area that I am trying my best to improve in, so that I can protect my businesses from various financial and operational risks that may have negative impact on the earning capacity of my entrepreneurial ventures. If my entrepreneurial ventures are to be on the path of success, both in the short run and in the long run, I will have to acquire risk management skills through various ways, such as training and attending seminars (Livingston & Jessica, 2007).
Another area which I need to concentrate on is improving the level of innovation in my businesses. The current world of business is very competitive and there is a need to embrace the culture of innovation and creativity in my business, so that I can have a competitive edge. I plan to encourage high level of innovation among my employees by coming up with a reward system that will enhance recognition of individual efforts for coming up with innovations within the business.
I also plan to enhance my management and interpersonal skills in order to encourage growth within the organization. I need to employ services of qualified managers to manage my business ventures. Given that my businesses are expanding at a high rate, there is a need to employ qualified individuals with managerial skills, so that they can help me in running and managing business operations. Unless I embrace these changes, I may be faced with managerial challenges in the near future leading to the failure of my hard built businesses.
My journey of entrepreneurship has not been easy and future has its own challenges, but I believe that with the right attitude I will be in the position to achieve more as an entrepreneur.