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B283 Journal lesson 6

This week I worked on my security pouch prototype for my $100 challenge business and did more market research.  I felt a bit discouraged as I did research because I found another product that was very similar to mine but was made out of better material.  The one good thing about my security pouch compared to the other one is it was designed to have two attaching straps that high behind the belt loops on pants.  The competition’s pouch used one strap and you could see it on the belt.  It was a bit discouraging to find a product better than mine and about the same price I was hoping to get.

In the reading material called “Value Your Customers”, I learned about two aspects of this essential element of business.  The first is to give good service.  This can only be done by understanding each customer’s needs, wants, and preferences. Then try to surpass their expectations. It is much easier and cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one.  The second is to think about the financial value of each customer and figure out a way to increase it.  You must understand this in order to grow your company.

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B283 Journal lesson 5

This week I did an elevator pitch for my Big Idea company.  This was a helpful exercise for me. It caused me to focus more on what customer base I wanted to target first.  I also realized I needed to go through this exercise with my $100 challenge business.  I believe it will help me as I go to approach stores at the airport to see if they will let me sell my security pockets by consignment or wholesale.  I have not yet made my prototype for the $100 challenge, but I need to do this very soon.  Then I need to prepare the elevator pitch.  I really need two of them, one for airport shops and one for travel agencies.  I also think my name of Travel Helps is too generic.  I was trying to make it that way to allow for other future products.

I read an article called “Five Affordable Consumer Research Tools”.  This article is found at http://www.entrpreneur.com for future reference.  I was not aware these research tools were available.  They are as follows:

AYTM (Ask Your Target Market)- lets you create surveys quickly and send them to your own lists or to AYTM’s group of 4.5 million people.

GutCheck-   allows you to conduct 30-minute one-on-one video interviews with some of their 3.5 million members.

uSamp- has custom targeting  and pre-defined consumer lists you can survey.

SurveyMonkey-   allows you to send online surveys to your own lists.

Zoomerang-  is for surveying your own lists or for surveying from the Zoomerang’s  consumer group list.

I was excited to find out about these useful tools for doing market research.

B283 Journal lesson 4

I am thinking to make a slight change in my marketing for my $100 challenge project.  I originally thought to start with selling to travel agencies in bulk so they could have gifts for their clients.  I still want to do this, but I think I should first test the product by doing consignment selling in the airport.  I could talk with some of the little shops there and see if someone will be willing to let me display my produce for sell.  If it goes well, then I could use this as a confidence builder for travel agencies to purchase.

The article “Startups on a Shoestring” reinforced some of the ideas I have had about starting with my own meager funds.  I enjoyed reading about the woman selling bracelets.  I got some ideas for marketing from her.

 

Joseph B. Wirthlin’s talk about debt reminded me of five principles taught in the gospel to help me find and maintain financial freedom.  They are pay your tithing, spend less than you earn, learn to save, honor your financial obligations, and teach your children to follow your example. This is good counsel.

B283 Journal Lesson 3

This week for my $100 challenge business, I created my business plan and purchased the materials to make a prototype of my product.  I have noticed I am beginning to see more business opportunities around me.  This did not used to be the case.  It is excited to be developing this awareness.

This week as I read in The E Myth by Michael Berber, I learned something about myself.  Mr. Berber describes three personalities inside of each of us when running a business, the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.  The technician is the doer.  The manager is the planner and organizer.  The entrepreneur is the creator and the one with the vision.  Mr. Berber says these need to be in balance with each other for me to be successful in my business venture.   I was playing the role of the technician and forgetting to think of the other two roles.  In my big idea business plan I was setting myself up for failure.  As I thought on this, I began making changes to my plan. 

I also found the list of “Defining Dozen” questions from the Startup Nation website to be very revealing.  They were a great help to me in thinking through the planning process.

B283 Journal Lesson 2

I learned from Guy Kawasaki to be specific in your business model.  Think of who will be buying your product.  Keep your model simple.  Don’t ever suggest to a venture capitalist that you have an innovative business model.  They would rather see a simple one.

The article entitled, “5 Company Naming Mistakes That Can Kill Your Startup” was interesting.  I now realize it is important to give thought to the future of a business and give it a name that is not descriptive of a current product, location, or last name because this can cause problems in the future as these things change.

The Special Report on Entrepreneurism   was not very helpful to me.  I have found the most helpful information for me is presented in a simpler format with lots of stories to prove points.  I especially enjoyed the Acton Hero series this week about Tom Monahan.  It  was inspiring.

I also enjoyed the Harvard Manage Mentor reading.  I like the simple and direct approach.  This week I learned about creativity and innovation.  In this creative process the work environment of companies is important in fostering more creativity.  Suggestions such as putting up white boards in break rooms or placing crayons and paper on tables of conference rooms are simple changes that any company could do.  A affective creative group process was explained.  It involved careful selection of team members to allow for the greatest creativity.  When selecting people for a team more focus should be given to how different people think, their special knowledge, and their skills rather than to ethnicity or gender.  A work team with a variety of thinking styles, knowledge, and experiences enhances the innovative process.  After a group has been carefully selected, the problem needing a creative idea must be identified.  This diverse group can then brainstorm to come up with possible solutions.  They can be encouraged to think outside the box by trying a variety of techniques. The pros and cons of each idea can then be debated to find the best overall solution.

B283 Entrepreneur Entry 1

As for my $100 challenge project, I am thinking about it.  Last week I looked at the KIVA website to find someone to donate the profits to.  A woman from Pakistan caught my eye.  She is about my age and is also a seamstress trying to supplement the family income.

 

I am currently reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  This book has opened my mind to many new ideas.  I am impressed with the data collection and study of great companies and good companies Mr. Collins and his research team did.  They were surprised by their findings but I am not.  They discovered basic truths which he recognizes as such.  I found it intriguing that these same basic truths are taught in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The description of a level 5 leader found in the book talks of two attributes the Savior has, humility and strong resolve to do what is best for the business (mankind) instead of self.

 

The Lord has been teaching me so much since starting back to school.  The Spirit directed me to take this class this semester.  I have wanted to have my own business but lacked the understanding of how to do it. Last semester’s Web Business class and now this class are helping to expand my understanding, and I love it.

 

Keeping a journal will help me remember points I have learned and experiences I have had while in this class.  I have been contemplating starting a blog for others to read, but until last semester blogging was a mystery to me.  I didn’t realize how easy and convenient it would be to journal online. I am thankful for the new skill.

B250 Journal Week 12

B250 Journal Week 12

Here are two links I received from class that help with link building.  I am saving them for future reference.

http://www.searchenginegenie.com/advanced-link-building-strategies.html

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-building-strategies-checklist/17256/

I was excited to learn about Woorank.com to help me with SEO.  When I looked at the section from Woorank about keywords something clicked.  They were counting words I never planned on being keywords.  I am working on improving this area.

We talked about Google Analytics and how we can use it to tell what landing pages and keywords were not as helpful as others.  I am saving the links here that will help me understand where to find the data from Google Analytics and how to use it.

http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/ga_intro/index.html

http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interface_navigation/index.html

http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_guidelines/index.html