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B283 Final Journal Entry Conclusion Week

Building your own business is an exciting adventure.  Your opportunities are only limited by your imagination.  Before beginning, I would suggest you first work on a life plan.  Decide where you want to be at the end of your life.  What do you want life to be like and what do you want to be remembered for.  With this in mind you are now ready to dream of how to get there.  Have a higher purpose for your business then earning money.  Think about how you could help others or make the world a better place.  If you are motivated by this kind of cause the money will come as a natural by product.  To have your own enterprise you must be determined to succeed.  There will be challenges and as Randy Pausch says these “brick walls are there for a reason.  They let us prove how badly we want something.” 

Learn from as many people as you can.  Others have gone before you and have wisdom they can share with you if you are willing to listen.  This can save you some unnecessary frustrations and problems.  Be enthusiastic and optimistic and remember anything is possible with enough determination, imagination, and hard work.  Learn from every experience good or bad.  Mistakes and failures are often the best teachers.  Learn from them, so you do not repeat them.

Find someone to share your experiences with such as a family member or friend.  This will make the entrepreneurial journal more enjoyable.  Most of all, believe in yourself.  You can do it.

B283 Week 12

For my $100 challenge project I completed my presentation and submitted it.   During the semester, I spent $20 on supplies to make the prototype and for future product.  I ran out of time on this business.  My marketing approach for selling to travelers at the airport ended up not being an ideal market at all.  I will need to rethink how to reach my target market of US citizens traveling to foreign countries.

I was impressed this week with learning more about Steve Jobs.  His perspective on live was right on target with what I believe.  It was amazing to me that he was fired from the very company he helped found.  I was impressed that despite this experience he was able to fine a silver lining in the experience.  He was able to return again to his creativity and still do what he loved.  I agree with his idea of learning to trust that everything will be alright, even when you cannot see how.  In the future you can look back and see how all the pieces fit together to make something great out of your life.  He also said that we should  make a difference in the world.  His story was very inspiring for me.

I feel I have learned a great deal in this class.  I am anxious to get a business up and running soon.

B283 Journal Week 11

For my $100 project I have been thinking about the presentation due next week.  I have never done a power point presentation, but I have children that can help me if I get stuck.  If I had more time I would have investigated the customer base more thoroughly  before launching into the hidden security pockets.  There may still be a market for my style of pocket.  I just have to find it.

This week’s lesson had good information.  The Startup Nation website gave several things to think about in having a family business.  It says to keep the right balance by setting boundaries of when you will and will not talk about business.  Be sure and communicate in a clear way with family members.  I would say put all agreements in writing and read the agreement out loud to make sure it is what all parties meant.   The website goes on to say divide the responsibilities, always seek to be fair, treat your business like a business, seek advice from those outside the family, and develop a plan for transferring the business from one generation to another.  Lastly, insist on family members getting outside experience before coming to the family business.  I feel this is all good advice.  The Startup Nation has been a helpful guide through this class.

B283 Journal Lesson 10

My $100 challenge project is progressing.  I finished my prototype and last night I went to Sky Harbor Airport.  I looked for the shops that might be candidates for selling my security pocket.  I learned there is one company that owns five different shops in the airport.  I was surprised to find one of my competitor’s products selling for the same amount as online.  I expected the airport’s pricing to be higher.  I talked to clerks in two shops.  One had only been working there for three days.  The other shop happened to have four workers gathered at one spot.  I asked them about security pockets.  One lady didn’t think they had them.  Another said they did.  I asked her how often people ask for these pockets.  She indicated that it was not very often.  I learned that the airport is not as good a place for selling my product as I thought.  While there I talked to a woman manning the information counter.  She gave me an Idea for a product that is needed by the airlines.  I now have to do some research to see if there would be enough demand for it.

This week I learned about franchising.  I looked at the pros and cons.  Franchises appear to have less risk for your investment.  They can get up and running faster due to strong management systems that are already in place, name recognition, and cost cuts for bulk buying.  However, they usually require a large amount of money up front, a percentage of which must be your own.  You cannot do just anything you want because there are policies set up by the franchise contract that you must follow.  I decided I would do much better not being a part of a franchise, at least for now.  I love to be part of the creative process and like the idea of starting a business from scratch.

B283 Journal lesson 9

This week for my $100 challenge project I redesigned my security pouch.  Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to the airport.  I wish I had time to do some product testing in the market.

I listened to Guy Kawasaki talking about business then and now.  He compared different aspects of business from the late 1990’s to today.  In the late 1990’s he said the foundation of business was a company’s cleverness.  A company should build its brand and raise more money.  The key employee was an MBA.  A company should advertise and think globally.  Business development consisted of forming alliances.  The purpose of the company was to make money by holding it for the short term and then liquidating it.  The big picture was to build the next big thing.

Today, Kawasaki says things are different.  The foundation for a company is technology.  The priority is to build a business.  Financing is tough and the company may have to bootstrap.  The key employee is the engineer.  Instead of advertising companies get others to say good things about them.   You must sell people on your dream of making the world a better place.  Today, a company must think local by proving its product or service in the local market first to make sure it works.   The business development is on doing business or not doing business.   The reason for a company is for following a passion to change the world.  Kawasaki says the big picture is still building the next big thing, but he challenges companies to do something 10 times better.  Even if it fails there is something that is gained from trying to do something challenging and great.

B283 lesson 8

I am getting concerned about my $100 challenge project.  I haven’t yet had the chance to work on finding the venders at the airport.  I acquired the zippers I need for the security pocket at a low price.  I am hoping to complete the final prototype by next week.

This week I have greatly enjoyed continuing the reading in the E-Myth book by Michael Gerber.  There is so much information to take in.  I am learning things I have never thought about before. I now see the importance of an organizational chart for even a small business like my own.  Even though I am a sole proprietor, the plan is for the company to grow.  If I do not plan by having this chart and determining what responsibilities each position will manage, the company can become overwhelming and chaotic.  Mr. Gerber’s explanations are wonderful.  I learned the importance of systems to help maintain consistency in what is offered to the customers. I was fascinated with the case study of JetBlue and how they used technology to be efficient and consistent.  I was especially intrigue with the fact that JetBlue’s founder, David Neeleman, has Attention Deficit Disorder.  Despite this he is successful and productive.  I am excited about applying the new concepts and principles I am learning to my own business.

B283 Journal entry lesson 7

For my $100 challenge project I discovered through research that to make my security pocket have a chance at selling I need to have a zipper closure on it.  I had thought that the pressure of the belt against the opening would hold it closed just fine, but my husband said he would not feel comfortable with it unless it had a zipper.  I can see this would be a concern.  I must find a cheap source for zippers to keep the price down.  I have already spent about $10 of my $20 dollars in supplies.  I still need an instruction tag for the product.  I also need to find out how the buying works for the airport shops.  If all the shops are owned by larger companies, I may not be able to place my produce.  I am hoping there is at least one business that is a sole proprietorship that will let me display my product.

After listening to the Acton Hero video about Russ Rosenzweig, I am reminded again of the importance of focusing on the right target customer.  I thought I had a good one for my $100 challenge but I may have to rethink it if I cannot sell in the airport.

I found the article by Kim Clark about leading with a little “L” to be very inspiring.  This class has been a blessing to me.  I have been introduced to so many things about starting a business that I had not thought about before.  I am thankful for this information.