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Personal Reflection on Managing a Creative Business

“Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.” – Oprah Winfrey

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

The key to running a successful business is to have a strong manager or management team. Often entrepreneurs do not come from business backgrounds and can be too casual about learning business and management skills. Entrepreneurs are often creatives and think they can survive with little management knowledge. In some cases, they are not interested in learning more as they are content being creatives. Other cases suggest that entrepeneurs think they can hire staff to manage the parts of the business they do not enjoy. As Forbes (2019) suggest, this ‘laziness’ is a key factor for many start ups failing. Anyone who wants to own a business needs a sound understanding of every facet of business to function and grow effectively.

The Managing a Creative Business module covered all the key activities of business management. From starting a business, to growing and sustaining the business, the activities covered in the module would give any prospective business owner the tools to begin and operate a creative business productively. The contents of this module were largely focused on start ups and entrepreneurs. But these principles could comfortably be applied in corporate structures or bigger businesses.

Throughout this module, when I reflected on my experience with Babatunde, I could see where I made many of my mistakes. Alternatively, I could also recognise my strengths. Babatunde’s early success had a lot to do with a great idea combined with good timing but also a fair amount of luck. Unfortunately, the business didn’t grow the way I had anticipated and parts of the business suffered from the neglect. Ultimately the lack of growth in certain departments holds the business back overall. Hindsight is a wonderful thing as the saying goes. I do wish I was more proactive with learning about the facets of the business I did not enjoy and wish I had found a mentor or business partner to help me make healthier decisions for Babatunde. But this is also a part of my journey that has seen me studying the MACE course at Kingston. It is not wise to dwell on regrets from the past. Rather equip yourself to be better at what you do in the future and put your energy into this.  

The module started with classes on Business Models and New Venture Development. I feel that these two topics are tightly linked. Both activities are contrived to give those starting businesses the tools to develop an idea into a business and to select the best possible path for the business. A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value, in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. The process of business model construction and modification is also called business model innovation and forms a part of business strategy. The business model canvas is an excellent tool for looking at each aspect in a potential business and to discover what needs strengthening. It is a visual chart with elements describing a firm’s or product’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. The business model canvas is a shared language for describing, visualizing, assessing and changing business models. It describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value. Although these activities are helpful in starting a business, I would recommend any business to make use of these at least once or twice a year to have a gain a strong and accurate understanding of the businesses value.

The Business Model Canvas

Intellectual property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more than others. The most well-known types are copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. This information is key for protecting your business. Whether you are starting a business and need to register a patent for a unique idea or running a business and need to protect it from a competitor who might be plagiarising your idea, it is important to know your rights and what you can do to safeguard your product or service. Learning about trademarks, copyrights and patents was very valuable. This knowledge would have helped me deal with the Intellectual Property infringement I experienced with Babatunde in more constructive ways.

A business strategy can be defined as the combination of all the decisions taken and actions performed by the business to accomplish business goals and to secure a competitive position in the market according to Clegg, S., Schweitzer, Whittle and Pitelis (2017) . It is the backbone of the business as it is the roadmap which leads to the desired goals. I would say the class of the module that had the biggest impact on me was the Strategy class. Due to my sporting background I have always enjoyed tactics and strategies. But in terms of business I did not know any strategy theories and admittedly, did not make enough effort to learn any. I think of all the classes in the module, I benefitted the most from this class. The other classes all bring memories of Babatunde as well as information I find recognisable and familiar. Where the other classes made me feel confident, the Strategy classes intimidated me slightly. The strategy theory was also very interesting for me and would have been useful when making decisions for Babatunde.

The Business Strategy Game was a great activity for many reasons which added to my Strategy learning. The game required us to apply theory from the class but also required our team to work closely together and behave as if we were a management team. I enjoyed the weekly meetings, which had to be co-ordinated according to our 3 team members schedules. The other teams met on Wednesday evenings after class but due to our team’s diverse schedules, we had to meet at different times every week. Each meeting required preparation so that we would be well equipped to make the right decisions for our footwear company. Although we did experience some difficulty in agreeing on a few of the decisions, most of the decisions went smoothly and we all shared a collective vision about how to grow our sales and revenue. After the game had finished, we had to put together a presentation about our footwear company, our strategy and why we made the decisions we chose. Again, this was a wonderful exercise of teamwork and it helped me to improve my presentation skills.

A team meeting for the Business Strategy Game

According to the American Marketing Association (2017), marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. My understanding of marketing was only promotion and getting products to market before I had started this class. The fact that marketing concentrates on the customer as well as getting the product or service to market was interesting for me. Under the Marketing umbrella, the module also included branding and advertising. Baker and Hart (2016) state that branding is the practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. According to Percy and Rosenbaum-Elliot(2016), advertising is the attempt to influence the buying behavior of customers or clients with a persuasive selling message about products or services. In business, the goal of advertising is to attract new customers by defining the target market and reaching out to them with an effective advertising campaign. These activities are essential for growing a business and engaging with customers.

Entrepreneurial Finance is the study of value and resource allocation, applied to new ventures as reported by Berman, Knight and Case (2008) . It addresses key questions which challenge all entrepreneurs: how much money can and should be raised; when should it be raised and from whom; what is a reasonable valuation of the startup; and how should funding contracts and exit decisions be structured. Finance is also something I neglected with Babatunde. If I am completely honest, this was my weakest business skill. This is probably, in my opinion, the part of the business you need to have the tightest control on. Without profit you can’t grow. Without tight control of the cashflow your business can not grow sustainably.  Simon Hulme told our class that he has never known an entrepreneur who did not fully understand finance and financials to become successful. I agree with him and understand his reasons for saying this.

Lindor chocolates from Simon Hulme

Overall this module was excellent and very valuable to my learning. Janja and our guest lecturers made all the classes absorbing and interesting. Our class activities were always enjoyable and thought-provoking. Each of them relevant and encouraging self reflection and inclusion of past experiences while learning. All of the activities or topics are what I had hoped to learn on this course to strengthen my business skills. It is very important for me to acknowledge that each of these activities is linked to the other and this influences the performance of a business overall.

Bibliography –

American Marketing Association (2017) Definitions of Marketing.  Available at: (Accessed 6 January 2020).

Baker, M. and Hart, S. (2016) The Marketing Book. 7th Edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

Berman, K., Knight, J. and Case, J. (2008) Financial intelligence for entrepreneurs at you really need to know about the numbers / Karen Berman, Joe Knight, with John Case. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Clegg, S., Schweitzer, J., Whittle, A., & Pitelis, C. (2017) Strategy: Theory and practice (Second ed.). California: Sage.

Forbes (2019) Laziness Killed The Startup, And 7 Other Deadly Entrepreneur Characteristics. Available at: (Accessed 6 January 2020).

Percy, L. and Rosenbaum-Elliot, R. (2016) Strategic Advertising Management. Fifth Edition: Oxford.


Published by fortysomethingrebirth

I am a South African from Jo'burg. I love football, music (mainly from the Caribbean) and design. I am currently studying a Masters of Managing in the Creative Economy at Kingston University in London.

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