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!

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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!

Weekly Reflection #11 – Week 11 – Web Business Creation

This was a great week! It was 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 the other classes that I’ve been taking. This was, once again, a great week full of great assignments, discussions, and, finally, completing our Google Adwords campaign for our websites. It was sad to see it be done to be honest. After tallying up my results, I couldn’t believe just how well my campaign had done. There was so much, looking back on it, that I could have done differently. One thing I could’ve improved on is my keywords. It was so difficult finding keywords that would match my product considering how different it is. What got me all of my results came from two broader unrelated keywords that are not directly associated with the product as a whole, but with the business. Another thing I could’ve worked on is my ad titles. I could’ve made them more interesting besides just including the business name on it. I’ve come to realize with using Adwords just how much strategy and creativity is used. It’s like a big ‘ole chess game. You need to set the right keywords, include in your ad the right type of wording or phrasing. Everything has to be precise in order for it to work as best as you can. With how badly most of my keywords did, I am grateful that my ad campaign still managed to do very well. I had more than 90 clicks and over 6000 impressions. It was quite phenomenal to say the least. I’m so grateful that my campaign managed to work just right and for everything we’ve learned about using it. I already have goals in creating more websites and I look to using all that I’ve learned with Adwords into each of these websites that I am creating.

This week, we also touched upon the topic of social media and utilizing social media in promoting our web businesses. This is something that I’ve been wanting to get involved with since creating my website and I’m grateful for all I’ve learned with this topic. Learning from my fellow classmates on what they’re doing was also quite beneficial. I’ll keep you all posted with how this goes and if we’re continuing on that subject in next week’s lesson.

Overall, this was a great week! I’ve learned so much and am grateful for everything I’ve learned thus far. I hope that I can utilize each lesson and topic and apply it into my life and outside this class. I look forward to next week’s lesson and look forward to every opportunity to learn. Great week!

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!