Entrepreneurial Journal #13 – Week 13 – A Final Lecture

So, you want to be an entrepreneur? That is a worthy goal! It is something that I commend you for and congratulate you for wanting to do. There are many people out there who are not up for the challenge. It is a challenge in a lot of respects. You wear a variety of hats and need to encompass a variety of different business skills to create, operate, and fund a business. It is a challenge, but a very rewarding one to say the least that can bring forth much good to both the world and to the lives of those you meet. In this blog post, I want to share with you my final piece on entrepreneurship. I want to take the lessons that I have learned this semester and share my advice for wanting to become an entrepreneur. I will try to speak as simply as I can in this aspect and summarize what could take an entire book to accomplish. Without further ado, here is what I would say.

Prior to taking this Small Business Creation class, I took a beginning entrepreneurship class in a previous semester that introduced this topic of entrepreneurship. With everything that was taught in that class, the biggest takeaway that I had received was the importance of being a good person to entrepreneurship. Before anything else, it begins with who you are as a person. What you value? What are your characteristics? What are your reasons for getting into entrepreneurship? Before anything else, I would strongly advise to answer everyone of these questions. Look to Christ as the standard for who you want to be like and try to match yourself with Him. Pattern your life after His and act in accordance as He would live. Christ is the perfect example for everything in life; including entrepreneurship. Look to Him and follow Him and doing that, alone, will help you greatly in your life and in your entrepreneurial pursuits.

Once you take a brief examination of yourself, the next thing I would advise is for you to determine what you would want to do with entrepreneurship. Look at you dreams and your hobbies and find something that you could turn into a profitable venture. In examining each of these things, find some type of problem that you can fix through your business. Pray for guidance and inspiration that you may be shown these things and have the knowledge as what you could do in creating this idea. Once you come up with your idea, think of a plan to carry this out. Look at its content and how you will distribute this service. Look at its costs and how you will fund this venture. Look at ways you will market and advertise this product. You’ve come up with the idea; now fill in the missing pieces through each of these steps.

Once you’ve determined a business opportunity and have created a plan of action in carrying it out, now comes the fun of bringing it to life. Utilize the habits and skills that you’ve developed and the characteristics that are you and go out there, work hard, and look to make your mark. In business and in a many other things, there are lots of different strategies that one can take to aid them in their performance, but there are many things in life that you just have to do it and this next step is just that. Just do it! Carry out the plan! Put yourself out there! Don’t care what others think or say and just get it done!

Hopefully in your business ventures you will find success. Hopefully you can utilize everything that I had mentioned and make it your own. A few parting words of advice that I would like to leave you with is the need to continually learn. Entrepreneurship and business are continually evolving and its important to continually learn and better yourself. “Sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey puts it and, in all things, learn everything that you can. Learn from books, learn from your peers, learn from your mentors, and, especially, learn from your mistakes. See what mistakes come and don’t make them again! Making mistakes can cost you big in the long run, so learn from them. Also, be content with failure. Not every venture will be successful, so learn from your failures and look to them as a stepping stone for success. In addition, be willing to take risks. Risks are what separate an entrepreneur from an individual person. Be willing to take risks and gamble the farm in some ways. In all things, look to the Lord for guidance and He will bless you with it. Look to serve those with your idea and better the world around you and everything else will fall into proper place.

These are my final words of encouragement and what I had learned both in this class and in my own personal experience. I hope that those who read this can look to it for what its worth and apply it into their lives and in their own business ventures. I am grateful for all that the Lord has blessed me with and for this opportunity to be in such a phenomenal class this semester! I am grateful for our instructor Bro. Broderick; for his example and his experiences in this field and I hope that I, too, can continue to live these teachings and make them my own. I am grateful for this incredible semester and for the blessing of being an entrepreneur!

Entrepreneurial Journal #12 – Week 12 – $100 Challenge Conclusion

This was, yet again, a great week in this class! It was a lot lighter than previous weeks. Most of this week was encompassed in completing our $100 Challenge Presentations and in completing a few concluding assignments for this class. I can’t believe how quickly this semester has gone! You look back on all the things that you had accomplished and learned and it’s now come to a end. Next week will be our final week of class and our final few assignments that we have left to complete. Anyways, this was a great week and, though it was light, it was quite busy from the start. To begin, we officially concluded our $100 Challenge by completing a final PowerPoint presentation on the subject. I had much time to complete, but had to edit it numerous times. The reason was due to our time limit that we had. We had to compile a semester’s worth of information and experiences into one three to five minute presentation. I had so much that I wanted to share but didn’t quite have the opportunity of sharing; such as the website, blog, Excel sheets, and Facebook page that I had created for this assignment. I also wanted to share a little about who I would donate my earnings to on the Kiva website. But nonetheless, I hope it turned out well. I think it did in some respects and, from the feedback I had received, it seemed like my fellow classmates did as well, which is good. I am, again, grateful for this opportunity to take part in such an an experience and to learn so much from this assignment. I’m also grateful to have been able to complete it as well and that the Lord provided me with all that I needed in completing it.

We also completed a few other assignments revolving around individuals who had failures and opposition and turned their adversity into success. The discussion board on this topic was interesting and quite edifying. It was great to see who my fellow classmates chose for this assignment and reading about the reason why they chose these individuals. Looking at who they chose really shows a portion of what they values and who they look up to as role models. It was great exercise to say the least. I chose one of my heroes; a man by the name of Paul Heyman who is very well known in the world of professional wrestling and MMA. He had quite his deal of adversity and successes and has truly left an impact on the professional wrestling world for the better. He has taught me not only about that particular industry, but has also taught me much from his many interviews and documentary about business and life. He is a very articulate, intelligent, magnificent individual and someone who I look up to, continue to learn from, and have the pleasure of watching on TV for more than fifteen years now. It’s good to have heroes and mentors in life and those who we can look to as an example. This was a great week in learning about others in this category and what make them the individuals that they are most known for.

All in all, this was a great week. It was a light week, but a great week, nonetheless. I am grateful for being able to complete each assignment that we had to complete and to have learned so much in the process. I hope that this final week will be a great one and that I will be able to finish strong in every regard!

Entrepreneurial Journal #11 – Week 11 – Buyouts and Family Businesses

This was a great week! A much better week in comparison to that of the former. It’s good to finally be back in Rexburg and recovered from the hectic Thanksgiving break that we just had. It seems like everything is now coming to a head; both by way of this class and my other classes I’ve been taking. For example, this was the final full week of assignments that we have for this class. I’m both excited, but saddened, for I have truly enjoyed each of the assignments and learning opportunities I have had in this class and with this subject. Whether it be the many case studies or discussion boards; the interviews or quizzes; or whether it be the $100 Challenge, I have truly enjoyed my time working on each assignment and learning all that I can about business.

Being the final full week of assignments for this class, it was fitting that we cover two different subjects in this week’s lesson. The topics included buyouts and family businesses. For this week, we had both a discussion board and a normal assignment for each topic. Learning about each topic was great and I received so many takeaways from working through these assignments! My favorite out of each assignment had to be learning about Buyouts and learning how we could buy our own business if we desired. The way to do that is through a website named BizBuySell.com. This website offers a listing of every business that is up for sale (or at least posted on that website) per state, county, and even business type. It was incredible seeing the listings for a variety of websites. They even had listing for businesses back home on Kauai! For one assignment, we had to choose a business that we would consider buying and write about it in a discussion board. For myself, I focused on looking for a business that is cost efficient to match my current financial situation and one that was an established business with no debt and that offered a useful amount of assets. My research caused me to stumble across a business named McCall Catering Business. This business was not only debt free, established, and offered quite a bit of useful assets, but the asking price was quite a score; with it only being $60,000. This business is great for many reasons other than what I listed above. It offers quite a bit of opportunity for expansion and for change if needed. It was great find both way of a business and this website and I’m so happy to have been introduced to this website!

Overall, this was a great week! This is also the final week of sales for my business. I have not been as active as I was when we first started this Challenge. I only opened twice this week. The weather has also made it quite a challenge to deliver these meals on foot. At the beginning of the semester with how great the weather was, that wasn’t so much of a challenge. If I want to continue this venture in a later semester, I’ll definitely have to find a way to deliver each meal more efficiently and also to keep it warm throughout the sojourn. We also began assembling our presentations this week. I have it about complete. The only thing I’m missing are some photos. I should’ve took more photos throughout this Challenge of the food or me working. Now I’ll have to make up for it in some other way. Hopefully I can get it done by Tuesday.

All in all, this was a great week! I’m looking forward to next week and what we’ll be learning. I hope I’ll be able to complete my presentation on time and have it looking good in the next few days. Other than that, great week!

Entrepreneurial Journal #10 – Week 10 -Franchises

This was a hectic week to say the least! The only reason why I say that is due to the Thanksgiving break that we just had and the amount of traveling that I had done within this week. Besides the crazy adventures that I have had this week, this week, in class, was great! It was a continuation of what we had learned last week, but went into greater detail on the subject. This week, the topic at hand, focused on that of franchises. This week, we learned about what franchises are, the different pros and cons of franchises, and we learned, by way of case study, the process of starting a franchise and some of the difficulties that arise when starting . We also compiled our franchisee interview from past weeks and submitted it to be graded this week. The franchisee that I had interviewed is a past teacher of mine, Bro. Nygren. He was the first individual to bring Chick-Fil-A out west, as he opened his own Chick-Fil-A franchise in Arizona. What was so great about interviewing him was the fact that he shared many of these same points with us as part of one of his classes that I took from him, so interviewing him reminded me much of what he shared with me in that class. It was great going into greater detail about his experience with opening a franchise. He shared many of the positives of opening a franchise and helped to strengthen the desire that I have of opening a franchise. I know of a few franchises that would do well back home on Kauai, so learning more about franchises and the process of opening one was great. It’s great to also have an expert on the subject and real world experience when it comes to this facet of business. All in all, it was a great week. Compiling my franchisee interview, completing the other two franchise assignments, completing the IceDelights franchise case study, and, as a treat, participating in the Steve Jobs discussion board.

Because this week was Thanksgiving break and because I would be out of town for the majority of it, I decided to not do anything for my business/$100 Challenge this week. Thankfully, I reached the goal in a past week and reached the $100 mark that we were asked to have reached. I’ve found this idea to be quite successful to say the least. I was able to sell quite a bit of meals and successfully carry out the business’s operations. I will continue running the business up until the end of the semester, but will, most likely, slow down with it just because of finals coming up. I do plan on keeping this business going and continue selling food the next semester that I’m here. All I need to do now is donate my money to the Kiva recipient that I had chosen at the beginning of this semester to donate to. I have to ask Bro. Broderick when I can do this and whether I can donate it now or just wait until the semester is over.

All in all, this was a great week! I am grateful for all that I’ve learned and, especially, be back in Rexburg. I hope that I will be able to get back into the swing of things here and that I’ll be able to finish strong and have a great rest of this semester. I can’t believe we’re almost done. Anyways, I look forward to next week’s lesson and all that we’re about to learn. Once again, it’s been a great week!

Entrepreneurial Journal #9 – Week 9 – Growth

This was yet another great week for this class! It was hard to pinpoint exactly what the topic for this week was; for we had so many assignments that had similar topics, but not one overriding one. The main takeaway that I had for this week involved growth. This was a reoccurring subject in each one of our assignments and readings. It is also a principle that is central both in terms of entrepreneurship and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One example of growth that we read about was the experience of Roxanne Quimby. Roxanne Quimby is the co-founder and former owner of Burt’s Bees. The assignment that we had on her revolved around the growth of her business; its founding, development, growth, and transition into a new location. The case study left us with the question of whether or not Roxanne should stay or go. My decision that I had written was for her to stay and not go back. Her company needed to stay in North Carolina and grow rather than retreat back to the way things used to be. The company was at its current peak and was waiting to be unleashed and expanded. I feel like life is sort of like that in many ways. We have all of this potential and yet find ways to continue to hold ourselves back. Whether it be our self-doubt, our sins, our past, others. We just need to break hold of those barriers and make progress in any way that we can. We need to continue to travel upwards; continue moving forwards; have faith in the future; and continue to work at it with all that we got. The world will continue to change. Society will continue to change. Technology will continue to change. Heck, the way that we do business will continue to change. The only question that remains is whether or not we will move together with the times? Will we be that old man who continues to relish in his glory days or will we be one with the times? It’s a lot to think about, but very much needed.

Just a thought that came to me as I look over this week. Many of our assignments revolved around that topic. We read a talk from Elder L Tom Perry on the subject of growth in the Church. Our HMM assigment on Process Improvement had much to say about growth and improvement. Even our Action Hero, Catherine Rohl, created an organization centered in growth and change. Change (and might I add repentance) needs to continue to be a constant in our lives always and the need for improvement should always remain with us. This was a phenomenal week! I look forward to all that lies ahead and what next week’s holds in store for us; both in this class and in life! Happy Thanksgiving!

Entrepreneurial Journal #8 – Week 8 – E-Myth Revisted

This was a great week! We covered an assortment of different topics and activities. The main focus of this week involved finding great people and in hiring the right people for our companies. We studied a great article on that subject and also read a case study about Jet Blue and their efforts of making that happen. We also did a Harvard Manage Mentor assignment on the same topic. In addition, we read an article from Jim Collins which focused on this principle quite a bit. Each of these exercises taught me much about this subject and really helped to ease some of the worries I have had with finding people to work for me. I’ve come to realize in all of this that there are always people out there who want to work. It’s just a matter of going out there and looking for them. I hope to utilize each of the resources that we used this week in helping me look for employees who will stand by me and be best for my business. I also hope to remember this knowledge and apply it into my life in the near future.

The topic covered that of hiring and finding great people. The biggest thing which stood out to me in all of this was our book report that was due this week where we finished reading the book E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. I spent a lot of this past week finishing up this book and, I have to say, it is my one of my new favorite books. It is phenomenal! It is very applicable to each of us going into business and many of the principles that were shared were those that I have seen before in my life and in business. This book covered every inch of what a successful business is; from the owner, to the inner workings of the business, and dispels the myth that is found prevalent among many businesses today. The whole crux of this book involves: playing the three roles of Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician; working through the Infancy, Adolescence, and Maturity stages of a business; and creating a system within your business that is Systems Dependent rather than People Dependent. The book goes into detail with each and shares what is needed to run a successful business in today’s world. The book also highlights what not to do and gives personal examples with each. I love this book and am grateful to have the opportunity of reading this semester. There is so much incredible things that you can learn from reading. I feel a much stronger urge in making reading a priority more in my life! It’s incredible. Also ties back into our lesson’s topic and the need of finding and hiring great people.

All in all, it’s been a great week! I look forward to next week’s batch of lessons and assignments. I’m looking forward, especially, with applying these things into my own business endeavors and, in particular, with my $100 Challenge idea. Sales have been pretty slow this week with getting this idea off the ground. I can use E-Myth’s counsel and improve on the inner workings of my business rather than in my products. I feel that next week should be better. I’ll give an detailed update next week on how that’s going. Great week! Look forward to all that lies ahead!

Entrepreneurial Journal – Week 7 – Leadership

This was a great week! A busy week, but great nonetheless! I loved this week’s lesson and the topic that we discussed. It was truly edifying and one that helped me to take a look at myself and what I can do to improve in this area. This week’s topic is leadership. When speaking on leadership, a mentor once taught me that in every undertaking or organization in the world, there is only one true problem that is constant and that is leadership. Whether it be for Church, for your business, for your family, or for something as simple as group work in class, the one constant that will always be there is leadership. If you want a great ward, you call a great Bishopric. If you want a great Relief Society, you call a great Relief Society Presidency. If you want a successful, Celestial family, you be a great father or mother and leader to your children. And lastly, if you want a great business, you find a great leader. This week, we spoke on this topic, a few components which made up this important attribute, and we participated in a survey which described what type of leader we really are. One of the articles that we studied was a talk given by President Kimball entitled “Jesus: the Perfect Leader.” In this talk, President Kimball spoke on Christ being a leader and the attributes that He exhibited throughout His ministry as He led His flock and His Church. Something that surprised me with this talk was the fact that we’re speaking of Christ as a leader and not in the same light as we typically do in the Church. Not as a babe or as a man or as the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, but rather as a leader and the greatest leader that we’ve ever had walk the face of this Earth! It was incredible to learn from President Kimball what made up this incredible leader and what we can do to follow in His example. Reading this talk reminded me of a project I once did where I was asked to describe Jesus Christ by His attributes. It was an idea that came to me from Hyrum W Smith that I did and I cam up with over 100 attributes which exemplified our Savior. Incredible, but very daunting to say the least! This talk shared many of the attributes that I had written down. Christ truly is the embodiment of a perfect Being and if we were to just follow Him, our lives would be impacted in such a profound way unimaginable to us now. It makes me grateful to know that Christ has done so much more than we can possibly imagine. He came to show us the way and went further than what we already know. Everything else that we’ve studied is not even worth mentioning when we could sum it all up in only two words: Follow Him. I’m grateful for my Savior and especially for the leadership He exhibited throughout His life as the head of His Church and as our Savior.

This week, we read another article on the topic of emotional intelligence. We read about what it is, what attributes make up this term, and how we can develop this ever important characteristic in our lives and in our businesses. We also read another article on the topic of Leaders to Managers by Hugh Nibley. We completed a leadership survey that showed which leadership style resonated with us most out of the Authoritarian, Participative, and Delegative styles (I’m Participative). And we lastly completed our Action Hero assignment this week on Ken Zolot and gave an update on how our Interviews are going. All in all, a great week. A packed week full of great assignments! Also this week for our $100 Challenge, I finally received the packaging that I’ve been waiting for for a couple of weeks now and look to begin my sales this week! Hopefully I’ll be able to meet the Challenge goal. I’ll give a more detailed update with how that goes next week. Great week! Grateful for all that I’ve learned!

Entrepreneurial Journal – Week 6 -Love Your Customer

This was another fantastic week! It was much slower in comparison to past weeks, but it was a very great week nonetheless. This week helped to prep for future weeks ahead. I was able to get a jump on a few upcoming assignments. I completed my interview with my Entrepreneur this week and also set up an appointment for this week to interview my Franchisee Entrepreneur. I also had much needed time to read E-Myth. I fell behind on my reading and had the privilege of catching up this week on it. I’ve been enjoying this book a lot. It’s an incredible book! I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad at the beginning of semester and what amazes me is just how much information is out there on the subject of Entrepreneurship. There are so many other “Rich Dads” that are tried and tested in this subject. Who have experience and are not afraid to share what they know. Such “Rich Dads” as Michael Gerber, Robert Kiyosaki, Jim Collins, Dale Carnaigie; even our very own Bro. Broderick. I’ve learned throughout this course and especially throughout my journey in business just how essential it is to have these type of people in your life and I’m grateful for these types of individuals; whether it be through book and especially in person and I hope to grow my networking pool and especially find those people who will stand by me and help me. It is so very important! One of the most important things we have access to.

Much has happened in this past week. I’ve rattled on quite a bit with some of the things that I participated in as far as assignments go. The main topic that we covered was Love Your Customer; which I feel is another essential part of business. Everything in business revolves around the customer. They are what make up businesses and all that we do. There were many striking similarities that I’ve found when speaking about this subject that ties back into my days as a missionary. As a missionary, we were called to preach the Gospel. There were many ways that we went about in doing this; many tactics that we used to find people to teach; but, ultimately, our entire aim and focus was on the investigator. Once we found people to teach, we loved and caressed them spiritually. We served them selflessly and helped them with all that they needed. We helped to improve the quality of their lives and spent most of our time either with them or contacting them. This same mindset, I feel, should be had with our businesses and those who consume our products and our whole aim and mission should be to find and, most importantly, retain what customers we have. Help them become lifelong consumers of our product rather than have it be a one time thing.

Overall, this week has been great! Just to share a few quick words about our $100 Challenge. All that is really holding me back with getting underway with sales is my packaging. I have acquired everything else that I needed, but am now waiting on my packaging for my products to be delivered. I ordered them almost two weeks ago and am surprised with how long this has been taking. I’m hoping at least in this final full month of school I can crunch down and sell to as many people as I can. I have made strides with my business, though, and set up some key and essential things to be completed. I created a Facebook page for my business so that I can reach the masses through Social Media and market my product in some way. I also created a website for my product as well and set it up so that they can get the details for how they see what type of meals and deals that we offer; not to mention how they can order and pay for their product. I also registered for a few additional ways that our customers can pay for these products such as Square. I have found that the days of money are over and the need that there is to find some method of pay which include credit and debit cards. Other than that, everything with this Challenge has been going well. I hope that packaging comes in so that I can get a jump on now earning money. I will keep you all updated with how this assignment continues to unfold. Thank you all very much!

Entrepreneurial Journal – Week 5 – Elevator Pitch

This was a great week! There weren’t as many assignments this week as there were in past weeks. We did have one, though, that was very fun and that I enjoyed very thoroughly. That assignment was our Elevator Pitch. The Elevator Pitch was a video that we had to create in similitude of pitching an idea to an individual with as little time possible. Hence they call it the Elevator Pitch because most of these experiences in the business worlds somehow take place in an elevator. The subject for our Elevator Pitch was either our $100 Challenge or our Big Idea business and with my ideas for both being similar, this gave me some great practice on how to articulate so much information in under a minute. It was a little tough to say the least, but very fun. It got my gears churning and gave me the opportunity to think outside the box ad problem solve just a little bit. This practice also helped me in getting in front of a camera. I’m not necessarily camera shy, but I rarely take pictures or videos of myself whatsoever. I was out of my element and had to definitely get used to it; especially considering the fact that our video will be both public and posted on a discussion board for some of our class to see. After many tries and failed attempts, I feel like my first attempt went well. I posted it on our first discussion board, and, surprisingly, many of my fellow classmates enjoyed it! The second time around came much easier. Overall, this was a fun assignment and hope that there are more assignments such as this in the near future.

This week was also the official beginning week of our $100 Challenge and with the positive feedback that I received from my fellow classmates, I have a great feeling about the potential that my business idea has. Sadly, I was not able to begin selling as I wanted to. Being caught up with other obligations took me away from much needed time working on getting this business idea off the ground. I’m still in the planning stages as of now. I’m close to starting. All that is really holding me back is some packaging that I had to order directly from Hawaii specific for the product that I am selling. It wasn’t expensive; just time consuming. I hope it comes in soon. I received some concern that I may go over the allotted starting amount that we are given for this assignment., but having done some calculations, I’m actually doing quite well on my limited budget. About $10 was used for my packaging. The other $10 will be used for the ingredients that I will purchase. Thankfully, a few other items that I’ve needed for this project was already purchased in the beginning of the semester by me. With all that, I feel like I will be good. To begin, I will have to limit myself to only selling what I can make with the remaining ten dollars and hopefully double my profit so that I can by more and continue selling more. I’ll keep you all updated with how I’m doing as far as this challenge goes.

Overall, I feel like this was a great week! I look forward to this upcoming week and all that we will be participating in for this class! I also look forward to this week and how my business idea will span out. I hope I receive that shipment really soon!

Entrepreneurial Journal – Week 3 – $100 Challenge Update

Our $100 Challenge is in full swing! The reason I say that is because of a few of the assignments that we have had completed this week. We read about Heather Evans in a case study and her experience that she had with starting her own clothing company based out of New York. Particularly, we looked at her business plan for her business and participated in a discussion board discussing our thoughts on whether her plan would work or not. From there we read an article from Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, answering questions about four common start-up mistakes that many entrepreneurs commit as they start-up their business.

These two assignments caused a type of rising action on our plot diagram leading up to the apex of our pyramid; part three of our $100 Challenge which involved the creation of our very own business plan for our assignment idea. Each assignment built upon one another and I eventually completed my two business plans for this assignment. While doing it, I couldn’t help but get a sense of just how soon we will be implementing our ideas and taking part in this challenge. It’s starting to get very real! It’s exciting to say the least and I cannot wait to get it on. While I was filling in each section of this plan, the Lord truly did pour out his guidance upon me and I felt very blessed to have received so much additional revelation about my idea that I had never originally thought of. I’m getting excited to see how my idea will play out. I know it will do well. I know it can be a success. It will all come down on implementing the idea and carrying out accordingly.

It’s exciting to say the least! That’s really all that I’ve thought of this week and feel the need to report on. I gotta say though, business plans are crucial in the business landscape. They, especially, help to organize your thoughts and help you create specific plans for specific points. I also never knew just how long these plans can get and the amount of detail they cover! It’s incredible if done right. But I enjoyed it. This was a great week! A lot of fun assignments! I look forward to seeing what next week has in store for us!