Posts filed under ‘Tools/Resources’

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

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April 27, 2011 at 4:40 am 2 comments

Tweetdeck: An Amazing Resource

This past Thursday I met an entrepreneur and foodie named David Benjamin. He is a member of a group called The Hungry Dudes that travels to different restaurants, and helps these restaurants develop good press through social networking. Mr. Benjamin also the founder and Social Media Director for Salex Basix eLearning. We discussed my business project in full detail and he gave me many helpful tips and hints to help my business thrive by using social media. Mr. Benjamin first told me to download on my computer a software called Tweetdeck. He explained to me that with Tweetdeck, you can organize your tweets based on categories or people. You can also have search engines running at all times with whatever you might be interested in reading tweets about.

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As soon as I downloaded Tweetdeck and began organizing the people I follow, life became much more simple. It was so convenient to be able to look under one specific column to read about certain topics, rather than be bombarded with various tweets about everything under the sun. I was also able to create a running search for food and recipes and by doing this, have already discovered some people I am interested in learning more about. From a business perspective, this tool would be extremely vital at keeping an eye on your competition. If a sushi restaurant, for instance, was interested in learning about what people thought of their competition, they could have a running search for that competition and when anyone on Twitter talks about them, the sushi restaurant could read it. You can find out new places to go by having a running search in a certain city as well as many other things. Tweetdeck allows you to be extremely creative, and search outside what you normally might be looking for. This is a tool that is useful whether running your own business, or if you just have a lot of friends. Organizing your Twitter will be the most beneficial thing you can do with you time.

Alexandra

April 26, 2011 at 11:43 am 1 comment

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

Look what Square did!

Remember when we discussed the financial opportunities of using Square as a tool for getting quick payments? Well according to INC.com the company Square has cut the 15 cent processing fee to their transactions. I think this will be great, since much of our class has a business model that would be streamlined by processing credit card payments. This solution is shaping up to be a great tool for small business owners and entrepreneurs in general.

Getting the Money (Photo Credit-http://smallbiztrends.com/2010/02/how-to-get-paid-like-michael-dell.html)

One of the greatest nightmares faced by small business owners like myself has been the dreaded fight to get paid for work done. There are many industries that face this challenge, construction contracting is perhaps one of the biggest realms where getting paid quickly is a nothing but a pipe dream. With technology like Square and their competitors, there is a cheap payment processor can cut the dreams and become a larger part of the business. The news that Square cut the fee got me thinking how to make the capitol flow: What a great way to get and process small investments.

After our class with Pavan Muzumdar, the idea of using revenue for funding began to percolate in my mind. Since we have been polishing and refining our idea pitches at a fevered rate, I found myself lacking the targeted goal for refining my pitch. Then Square! Here is the goal, create the pitch with the express purpose of getting the casual friend, or the family member to buy an “option” investment. Granted its farfetched, but do you think you can transfer the passion of your idea into a micro investment opportunity? I’m not talking about hundreds of dollars, just small stuff. If they really want to invest more they can. The premise seems crazy, but what if your cause or idea is worth it? Maybe it’s the big litmus test for the soundness of your concept? Remember the rumor about a guy who funded his education by asking for one penny at a time, crazy but it worked.

I am so excited that square is refining their model closer to their objectives mentioned in the article. I’m excited because the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, it might be a ‘square’ light but as an entrepreneur looking for bootstrap funding it has the potential to make the next step a reality.

February 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment

Creative is Collaborative: A Day on the Bench

The Coleman Fellows on our campus have been mingling during monthly web calls, and I am hoping we can continue collaborating. For me, a Creative entrepreneur is someone who is able to realize his/her own limitations, and has the ability to reach out to others who can fill in the gaps.

I recently learned about a fantastic organization that supports women entrepreneurs, called ACTiVATE. In a meeting with the head of ACTiVATE, Julie Kirk, I learned that some of the businesses that have been launched through the program were headed by entrepreneurs who had no background in technology, but had identified business opportunities that required technology. Instead of giving up and saying, “Gosh, I have an idea for a great new medical device and I know just what market it would serve, but I don’t know how to build the device,” these women reached out to universities or to companies who had knowledge of the technology — and built a business.

Here at Lawrence Tech, I am constantly urging our students to look around the university for opportunities to collaborate. If a business student has a viable idea for a new software program, but lacks the knowledge to create it, that student needs only to head over to the Computer Science department or the Blue Devil Development club to meet someone with the right expertise. A chemistry student whose idea requires biomedical engineering knowledge can find that knowledge just down the hall. And so on.

In a nod to collaborating and getting outside the box, our class recently journeyed over to LTU’s makeLab and held that day’s session on The Bench, a fun product created by makeLab students. Check out the timelapse video of how they built it, along with other collaboration opportunies, after the jump. Also after the jump: weigh in on your thoughts about collaboration.

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January 31, 2011 at 4:37 am Leave a comment


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