The could learn from failure. I was set task

The second
lens looks at learning from failure. I will be drawing on the concepts of learning and failure,
reflecting on ways I have learned from failure during activities on the module
and in my own life. There is a lot of literature on entrepreneurship, learning
and failure. However, ‘many aspects of entrepreneurial learning remain poorly
understood’ (Cope, 2005).

 

One piece of literature is Cope’s (2005) article which ‘maps out
and extends current boundaries of thinking regarding how entrepreneurs learn.’ In his article, Cope (2005) mentions how ‘research in entrepreneurship has been
dominated by the desire to define the entrepreneur through the identification of “entrepreneurial traits”.’ The key principle of
this viewpoint is the belief that people have a distinctive set of characteristics
that predispose them to entrepreneurial activity (Greenberger & Sexton,
1988). I disagree with this idea as I have learned
through experience of studying other entrepreneurship modules (particularly
ENSI212) that this is not the case. One of the key things I learned from
ENSI212 was how I could learn from failure. I was set task of selling paper
cups and this helped me to learn. In the first week, I started to learn about how
there are dissimilar personality styles and that buyers would need persuading
in different ways. In the first workshop, I was required to take a DISC personality
test which told me that I had a C-style personality. In the second workshop,
through a role-playing exercise, I learned about the methods I could use to persuade
buyers with different personality styles and why it is key to adapt as a seller
when trying to convince customers. After
learning about persuasion tactics, when selling the cups for the second time, I
knew that different people have unlike personalities, thus I needed to alter my
method to convince them.
Using these different methods, I saw an improvement, specifically when selling
to strangers as I found that I was more sure in my abilities. This was useful
when it came to the bootstrapping challenge as we were selling second-hand
items. Although, I may have agreed with the viewpoint
of the literature initially and; thought that I may not have the personality or entrepreneurial traits to sell;
I think that all that I have learned, the growth in confidence and experience
of selling has aided me to recognise that I may even be interested in a future
career related to selling. To me, it is clear that having a
personality or entrepreneurial trait is not key and that it is more about how
one can learn and adjust. ‘Entrepreneurship is a process of learning and a
theory of entrepreneurship requires a theory of learning’ (Minniti & Bygrave, 2001).

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Petkova’s (2008) ‘paper develops a theory of entrepreneurial learning
from performance errors.’ In her paper, from a review of the literature, she
pointed out ‘three major sources of learning: (a) learning by repetition of
efficient practices (“learning by doing”), (b) memorizing new information as a
result of training or tutoring, and (c) replacement of incorrect knowledge and
practices with new ones based on negative feedback.’ (Petkova, 2008). From my
experience, I can say that I agree with these major sources of learning as when it came to the bootstrapping challenge I learnt by doing. I
used my experience of selling from another module and then repeated what I had
learnt. I also had to memorise new information from the lectures and workshops
to learn. As part of the ENSI212 module, I had to record a video of a sales pitch
for which I received feedback; I had to use this feedback to learn and improve.
Petkova (2008)
thought that ‘this perspective may have limited applicability to
entrepreneurial learning’. From experience, I have learnt that perspective of
entrepreneurial learning is applicable in reality.

 

Overall,
this has helped me to see that as an entrepreneur is better to experience
something first-hand and use the experience to learn and improve. A lot of the
learning on the bootstrapping challenge, was lower-level learning as it was a
repetition of past behaviours. (Fiol & Lyles, 1985). When it came to our
bootstrapping challenge, there wasn’t much that went wrong or a lot that we
could’ve learnt from. However, there were still a few difficulties. We were
given only two hours to trade and we had a lot of products to sell. The biggest
problem was that we weren’t able to display all the products as they were too
large. For example, we were looking to selling a computer, but couldn’t put it
on display. This meant that the potential customers couldn’t see some of the
products and we didn’t sell a lot of items. If I had to do the bootstrapping
challenge again, I would hope to come up with ideas quicker and spend more time
to promote what was happening to raise awareness.