The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing – Walt Disney.
One of the fundamental benefits of being a student at university is it gives you the opportunity to acquire valuable information. If the recipient of this information does not follow its acquisition with practical outworking and application however, he or she renders its value toward them useless. Many ideas lie immobile for the fact that although they have a tank fuelled for the journey, there is no engine spark. Perhaps with this sentiment in mind came the “Get Started” seminar. Although no one can take to the road for you, they may be able to help you find the keys. I found the direction given in the fourth stage of the DICE module’s seminars helpful and informative. Three themes stood out, there was sensible guidance for those wanting to kick start their entrepreneurial careers, the relevance of social responsibility was discussed and unlocking individual potential was encouraged.
Reality is wrong, dreams are for real – Tupac Shakur.
It helps before you start a journey to know that the desired destination is a feasible outcome. I thought that Michael Kelly (Grow It Yourself Ireland) was correct when he described how it is important to know there is demand for your product or service before you commit to supplying it. There was a well-rounded variety of advice given at “Get Started” to enable a potential entrepreneur to see where he or she’s idea might fly or fail. Caution was encouraged but not to the point of suppression. George Boyle (Founder, Fumbally Exchange) told us to give ourselves permission to dream and urged us to persevere, stating that the biggest pitfall for businesses is in choosing a name. One prevalent insight shared throughout the seminar was that it is essential to have the right team of people to gather around. Marc Andreessen (American entrepreneur, investor, software engineer, and multi-millionaire) once said that “the difference between a vision and a hallucination is that other people can see the vision” (Andreessen 2010). Accepting other people’s input and criticism is a humbling predicament but if we refuse to heed direction we usually end up lost.
The price of greatness is responsibility – Winston Churchill.
Social responsibility in business is an area of interest and importance to me. There are few people for whom it has no relevance. USA Today found that 83% of people will trust a company more if it is socially responsible (Jayson 2006). Trust is a resource of truly significant commercial value, however as we heard from Mark Cahalane, (Managing Director, Edelamn Europe), in the “Get Social” seminar it can also enable a firm to take a further step into a greater sphere of influence and impact socially. The statistic shared by John Fitzsimons (Chief Executive at Camara Education Ltd) that 250,000 people will be able to develop skills which they would otherwise not have had due to the efforts of the Camara organisation was evidence indeed that entrepreneurship is in fact taking a leading role in the progression of society. The benefits for businesses can reach unexpected levels also. In February 2008, Hagaan Dazs launched a honey bee brand of ice cream in order to raise money for research on the growing problem of diminishing honey bee numbers (beebiology.ucdavis.edu 2013). With Ben & Jerry’s authentic ethical image a serious challenge to the company’s sales, the 640 000 tweets of positive publicity generated by the idea was undoubtedly more than welcome (Lasica 2010).
I believe that there is an in-built desire in each individual to fulfil their potential, to live to the best of their ability. It is also my belief that the realisation of this goal is not guaranteed but rather is found through the diligent, committed exercise of the will. Commitment to the accomplishment of goals does not appear to be a deficient characteristic in Gerry Duffy who completed 10 triathlons in ten days and overcame a severe fear of public speaking to pursue a career performing motivational talks in front of significant numbers of people. I believe it registered with many in the auditorium when he made the point that without a sense of contribution and growth we as humans often find happiness hard to hold onto. Like most of life’s less transient rewards however, the two aforementioned ideals are not bestowed without first having encountered difficulty and finding courage to continue. The “battle scars” referred to by John Dennehy (CEO Zartis) in his presentation are often prerequisite trademarks of successful entrepreneurial endeavour. Resistance rather than rest must be embraced before any marathon. It seems to co-relate that when starting a business perhaps the most perilous place to remain in is the comfort zone.
Eloquence, effort and endeavour, these are fine words but for me they mean nothing if they are not accompanied by the essential constituent of any exercise…. purpose. The DICE seminars have been well organised and expertly delivered. “Get Started” furthered the cause by giving us direction on some of the essential conditions necessary for setting off on our own business journey. It also helped us see the usefulness of having a motivator other than money vis-á-vis social responsibility. Finally we were given permission and encouragement to realise our full potential. Whether or not the investment of this information will result in a purposeful response in its recipients is I suppose the responsibility of the individuals in question. Individuals like me.
ourarchives.wikispaces.net, 2013, Automobile Race with Grand Stands in Background at the U. S. Naval Training Stations, San Diego, California, [Online]. Available from: http://www.ourarchives.wikispaces.net/Getting+Started [Accessed 25 February 2013].
digitaltrends.com MLK’s I Have A Dream Censored From Web on Internet Freedom Day, [Online]. http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream-censorship-internet-freedom-day/ [Accessed 25 February 2013].
brainyquotes.com, 2013, Dream Quotes, [Online]. Available from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_dreams.html [Accessed 25 February 2013].
Marc Andreessen 2010, Vision, [Online]. Available from: http://ma.tt/2010/05/vision/ [Accessed 24 February 2013].
http://www.brainyquote.com, 2013, Responsibilty Quotes, [Online]. Available from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/responsibility.html [Accessed 25 February 2013].
Sharon Jayson 2006, Generation Y gets Involved, [Online]. Available from: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-10-23-gen-next-cover_x.htm [Accessed 24 February 2013].
beebiology.ucdavis.edu 2013, Haagen Dazs Honey Bee Haven, [Online]. Available from: http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/HAVEN/honeybeehaven.html [Accessed 24 February 2013].
JD Lasica 2010, 4 Examples of Corporate Responsibility Done Right, [Online]. Available from: http://www.socialbrite.org/2010/04/22/4-examples-of-social-responsibility-done-right/ [Accessed 24 February 2013].
freepostermaker.com 2013, Potential, [Online]. Available from: http://freepostermaker.com/my8nwymxom/POTENTIAL [Accessed 25 February 2012].