Posts filed under ‘Creative Entrepreneurs’

Thoughts on the Business Plan

The last assignment, the last commitment, the last thing to do. These are all things we might think about when turning in this business plan, however I thought of something else. I thought that this plan has the potential to define my near future. That this plan marks the start to a new beginning, a new adventure, a new direction. One of the exciting parts of this class was the opportunity to strategically prepare for our plan, and then to actually put it into action.

Presentation day was one of the best experiences of the semester! Why, because we had the chance to test our ideas our plan in the real world. That is a privilege that does not often come to university students. In fact much of our daily activities center around the imaginations of some project that has principles to teach. We work hard to win good grades, and then forget the principles that we were supposed to learn, that did not happen in this class. We had to sell our ideas, our strategy had to work, our sales pitch had to make sense, there was no safety net. Selling to outside professionals was in my mind the essential experience of learning. Metaphorically it represents the time when liquid ideas freeze into hard realities.

Working on our business plans have taught us more than just to format information in the right area. It has taught us to think about what makes our ideas stick, it has forced us consider the big picture of strategy, it has taught us the steps that need to be taken evaluate an idea. Today we turned in our plan, tomorrow we can forget it or we can take the lessons we learned and refine them into reality. I for one am ready to take the plunge.

Cold Reality

Taking the plunge into a cold Reality.

May 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

The Lessons From Hamilton Chase

During this semester I had the opportunity to work on a Hamilton Chase project with two creative partners in the Make You Mark Competition, Eric Wright and Cyrus Sarosh. The whole challenge was to develop an idea that could be created for $10. The premise was that you had to create or develop something that could be used to make a positive impact in some ones life. Our idea was to take the origins of a design competition and build the case for Green Guardians.

The idea was developed from an architectural competition that was outlined by a UK based agency, that supports urban infrastructure designs. The goal of the competition was to give a homeless person a secure and portable shelter for use in the urban environment. The competition generated Green Guardian concept vehicle. The Green Guardian idea was built on empowering homeless individuals with a means to collect recyclable’s so they could receive compensation from the local community for contributing to the greener urban environment. The green guardian would have a special cart designed by us to be manufactured at Lawrence Tech and that would allow them to be supported by a local business interested in social outreach and green issues. The cart would keep the recyclable’s for collection and also be a secure shelter for the homeless individual to use in the travels they make through urban environments.

Our goal was to establish a plan for implementation by a student led organization that would be composed of different colleges at the university. The engineering school would contribute the manufacturing process and manpower to manufacture the carts. The business school would lead the sales and operations of the business, the other colleges would contribute to the program from their various skill sets. The whole plan was to be run as a private venture that would be funded by outside business donations and maintained by purchases by business’ in urban areas countrywide.

As we began to design our plan we discovered that government support did not have a lot of staying power for this idea. The decision was made to develop the plan to be privately driven and privately funded. We felt that we should make the idea drivable by just the student body, and have minimal support by the university except for the provision of square footage for manufacturing.

We took the steps to establish an online presence, creating a Facebook page, developing a website, and creating a blog site.

Overall we felt we created a great idea, sadly we were disqualified for being late with our submittal to the review board. I learned that some of the best ideas come when there is a commitment to a common goal that is understood by all the parties involved. Furthermore I learned that even good ideas can hit snags in the river of development.

N. Turner

May 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

Finals Frustrations

This year has been especially busy and has made me a bit uncomfortable for a few reasons. More time has progressively been taken up from various sources (class, work, internship, family and more class). Thankfully all my core education classes will finally be completed and I can focus on my IT major and business minor full time next semester. I don’t hate the core education classes but there is something to be desired. I’m often frustrated with conventional classes based off liberal arts such as World Masterpieces 1/2 and Foundations/Development of the American Experience. I’m not arguing that these classes are worthless but that they have very little influence on classes that are focused on my major. There seems to be a lack of connection between most core classes and that bothers me immensely. You would think the college would recommend MLA to majors that required MLA and APA to majors that require APA. Like teaching a left handed person to write with their right hand, it’s largely a waste of time. The myriad of skills the college attempts to fit into a single degree is just silly because students end up not specializing in anything in particular until the last 2 years. While I can understand that there is a need for some “global” skills, I truly believe that degrees are not specialized soon enough.

Even now in the genesis of my business, the skills I have learned that actually make me money and make my business successful do not stem from the core curriculum, but of my own research. I feel as if the early years of college are merely an excuse to work on side projects without having to worry about real life for a few more years after that.  I spoke with my parents on the matter and they said they felt the same half way through but continued anyway. I do feel that there is value in the degree so I’ll continue my academic career however I would like to see changes for freshman making their first years actually pertain more to their degree.

The semester has been wrapping up nicely and while there are new challenges everyday, I’ll continue to pull through. The above is just a snippet of stress from finals week, I think my frustrations will subside afterward.

-Eric Wright

April 27, 2011 at 4:40 am 2 comments

It is Our “Mission” to Please the Customer

When deciding to take the leap into creating your own business, there are many factors that come into play. You first must think about what you’re going to be doing, and how you’re going to make money. You need a solid business plan and a solid business model. Another aspect of your new business, which I never realized just how important it was until this year, is your business’ mission and vision statement. At many large corporations it is impossible to locate a mission statement or even find an employee who knows what their company stands for. A professor this semester discussed with me the mission statement at GM which she said was something about “working to make a profit.” Now, I’m all for working for money, but the sole reason your company is in business cannot be for money. A company that I believe has the right type of mission statement is Cold Stone Creamery. The Cold Stone Creamery mission statement can be found on their website. The first five words of their mission statement are “we will make people happy.” Their goal is not to make a profit or to have their annual figures be greater than their competitors, but it is to please their customers in such a way that they want to return to Cold Stone. If you walk into any Cold Stone their mission statement is tacked on the wall so that customers and employees alike, remember why Cold Stone is such a wonderful place to visit. The employees live by this statement and they strive to make every customer that walks through their doors happy with their choice of picking Cold Stone.

Many people believe that mission and vision statements are simply a tool that the company needs to have for certain paperwork or for showing to investors and stockholders, but this is the wrong idea. The mission and vision statement are vital to the growth of the business and to how a customer will feel when experiencing your product or service. Money is the end result, but it is the middle part that will help you reach that end result, and that middle part if your customers. In order to reach the end, customers need to be satisfied and happy and to do this, their needs have to come before your own. Every store that I go into, I shop at because of the way I feel as a customer or consumer. I do not go into stores or various service places where I know I will feel as though I am simply 1 out of 1000 that day. I want to feel unique and special when I am a customer and when I open my business, I intend on making each and every one of my customers feel the same. Have you ever been somewhere, where you felt like lowest priority on a business’ list? Or have you ever been somewhere, where the service was so amazing you actually left in a better mood? Do either of these stores has a mission statement?

 

Alexandra

April 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm 1 comment

Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes

Last semester in my Organizational Behavior class we watched a video that was so intriguing and moving, I truly believed that everyone should have the opportunity to watch, and be changed by the lesson. The video was about a school teacher who took her class of third graders, and used an experiment to teach them about racism. The experiment was called Brown Eyes and Blue Eyes. The general idea of the experiment, was to not just preach to them why judging someone by their skin color was wrong, but to put them in the position of being judged by their peers.

Copyright All rights reserved by stoisha

This semester in Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, one of our class textbooks, they discuss this experiment that happened more than 20 years ago. The reason the book discusses this, is because the teacher formed an idea that stuck with the children in that class years later. The video shows the children 20 years later, watching the experiment that was performed on them, and they are moved by how harsh and depressed they were those few days. While it may have been a tough concept for third graders to fully understand, the idea that you should not treat someone different simply because they have brown eyes, blue eyes, or because they are different, definitely stuck with them.

Copyright All rights reserved by Enchanted2389

The reason this idea stuck is because she put them in the position of feeling what others feel. She used the element of surprise to teach the students a lesson that would stick. As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for new ways to sell our idea and present it in a way that will ensure it stays in someone’s head. This is not easy to do, and it is this lack of presentation that makes so many great ideas fail. We need to shock those we want to impress, and make them want to hear more about our idea. We have to not just grab their attention but keep it, which is exactly what the school teacher did with her students. Twenty years later the students still remember the harsh lesson they were taught, and they are better people because of it. If we want to make the world a better place, we have to make our ideas stick into the minds of those who can help us succeed.

-Alexandra

February 14, 2011 at 11:10 am Leave a comment

It’s all about the network

One of the greatest things that I have been exposed to since coming to Lawrence Tech is the network of people that my professors and even classmates have been able to connect me with.  Securing a job after graduation is something that everyone is nervous about, but I can honestly say that I feel prepared thanks to the networking that I’ve been able to do in school, as well as the networking events that I have coming up!

On Monday I received a call from Crain’s Detroit Business letting me know that I had won their Newsmaker of the Year Scholarship Competition!  Needless to say I was ecstatic about the money, but the opportunities that will be available for me to network at such an event are unbelievable, especially as someone who is looking into the Communications/PR/Event management field.

Additionally, I also received news that there is a Public Relations & Communications Job Fair coming up!  Needless to say there will be tons of people there who will be great networking connections.

I’m excited about my path as an entrepreneur and I’m very interested in meeting people who can help me along my journey, as well as meeting people who I may be able to help with the little bit of experience that I’ve gained thus far.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have some outstanding mentors, and I’m always on the lookout for new mentors, whose expertise I can learn from as well.

February 10, 2011 at 4:14 pm 1 comment

Is the Blue Ocean Turning Red?

 

I just finished reading an article on INC.com called “Small Circus Big Dreams”:

http://www.inc.com/articles/201102/entrepreneurship-in-the-small-circus.html

I was intrigued to see that there is a slew of competitors coming into the market place (Just check the sidebar in the article for ‘circus’) in the great ocean of Cirque de Soleil. I began to ask a two questions about the world of Blue Ocean Strategy.

First, do they (Cirque) still float in a blue ocean or has it begun to change color; how long of a timeline does an ideas blue ocean last? They obviously have defined the market place and are the industry leaders, however there are markets that they left untouched. Was this a wise thing to do? Or since they have become so big ($$$$$$) have they have lost some of their edge?

My own answer is that they have succeeded in defining their world of entertainment so well that their competitor will always work in the shadow of the mighty cirque. They still float in a blue ocean because they have implemented their strategy canvas to the highest degree.

Second, after reviewing the site of Aerial Angles, they got their investors to see the potential of their idea by saying we are different from Cirque because we will tell our audiences the secrets as well as the story. Did they create their own blue ocean by just changing a few things like venue and size? Or since they use the individual artist to make their show unique have they reinvigorated the idea of stars? Is this unique or a copy?

My own answer is that it’s both. They are unique because they have resurrected the very thing that was killing Barnum and Bailey & Ringling Bros. by bringing a troupe of unique individuals. Which means that they are not competing on the same plane as Cirque and although they are in the shadow, they have distinguished themselves by working in smaller markets.  In my mind they still are also copying because they are following the market path that was forged by Cirque and not changing the market. Is this last point debatable yes.

Please give me your thoughts.

 

February 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

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