Tuesday, January 6, 2015
When I came through the door into room 422 on the first day I immediately noticed a businesslike atmosphere filling the classroom. That’s quite a change for a graphic design major like me, who is used to an artsy vibe in most my classes. I’m sometimes intimidated by technical terms and businesslike people, so needless to say I was a bit nervous as I sat down and looked at the class, which seems to be full of greedy bloodsucking capitalist men.
When the teacher Brother Lundin came in I was relieved; he is friendly and has a sense of humor. He explained the class to us, telling us that in here we will use the model “ready, fire, aim,” meaning we will jump in and start doing things before we really know what we are doing and work out the details later. As class went on I got more and more excited for what we will be doing this semester. Relatively early in the class we will have to have a website up and a business running, and later we will focus on sorting out the legal stuff and starting a Google AdWords campaign. Starting my own business will be a lot of work and a completely new experience for me, but I’m ready to learn! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Today in class we started using a “random torture device.” It is an Excel sheet that flips through the names of people in the class quickly, and whoever’s name it lands on has to get up and present to the class about the homework assignments we were given. Our homework was to read through some articles about online business models and brainstorming business ideas, and then complete a case study. (The links are at the bottom.) We had to decided if it was better for the people in the case study to brainstorm business ideas first or to choose a business model first, and then explain which two business models we would choose to go with if we were in the group. Brother Lundin flipped through the names in the Excel Sheet, the class gave a drumroll, and then my name popped up on the screen. Augh! The first time we did it, and I was the one who had to present to all of these business majors. It was a tad bit nerve wracking. I went up to the front, and explained that I thought it would be best if the group in the case study brainstormed ideas first and then picked a business model afterwards so they wouldn’t be limited as they thought of ideas. I thought the two best models would be a merchant model or an affiliate model. The merchant model with be best, because even though it takes more time and money to start up, they typically bring the most income. I had to explain my reasoning and then accept comments questions from the class. Even though I didn’t have the best understanding of the material everyone in the class was very kind and I felt like a did a good job.
Afterwards we spent time going over the different online business models and Brother Lundin explained them to us in greater depth, which was good because I was having a hard time understanding some of them. We learned about several models, including brokerage, advertizing, infomediary, merchant, manufacturer, affiliate, community, subscription, and utility.
The Case of the Online Business—Part I: http://emp.byui.edu/LUNDINK/250/02dotcom.html
Business Models On The Web: http://digitalenterprise.org/models/models.htmml
Brainstorming Business Ideas: http://bizthoughts.mikelee.org/brainstorming-business-ideas.html
Tuesday, January 13, 2015:
My name was picked by the random name generator again today! It surprised me quite a bit, I have to say. But Brother Lundin was merciful and said that since I was willing he would pick someone else. The guy who was picked did a great job explaining the homework to us. We discussed if the people in the case study should go with an information site on chess that sells advertising or a site that sells snowboards and why, based on competition and demand. We also talked about other criteria that would be good to consider when choosing a product, such as levels of demand, levels of competition, start-up cost, start-up time, ability to get a supplier, and passion for the idea.
Brother Lundin showed us how Google Keyword Planner works, and I have to say it is such an amazing tool! You can search any keyword and it shows you how many times people on the internet search for that keyword. You can specify a time range or location, and it also suggests new keyword ideas that you can use. It tells if the competition is low, medium, or high for that particular keyword, and gives you a bid for what it might cost to run an ad with that keyword. It also gives you an idea on how many clicks you are likely to get. I’m excited to use it in the future as I start my business!
The Case of the Online Business—Part II: http://emp.byui.edu/lundink/250/02dotcom2.htm
How To Use The Google Keyword Planner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-ToN1Tw7io
Thursday, January 15, 2015:
Today in class we discussed suppliers. For our homework we were supposed to compare 3 different suppliers, an International Broker, a U.S. Wholesaler, and a Taiwanese Manufacturer, and decided which one we would use if we were going to order sunglasses from them. I had a very detailed spreadsheet ready, just in case I was picked to present yet again, but a different guy was picked. He and Brother Lundin recreated his spreadsheet for us to look at and we discussed how we could objectively quantify and compare suppliers, even when they are very different. Everyone had different criteria that they used to make their decision, mine were price, quality, quantity, and location, with price and quality weighted the highest. I decided on the U.S. wholesaler.
We discussed problems you might face while you choose who to buy from, including tariffs when shipping from other countries, poor quality products, and fake manufacturers. One guy in the class has had experience tracking down a manufacturer and dealing with all of this as part of a business he is starting, it was neat to hear from someone who has had to deal with this stuff before.
Brother Lundin also showed us the spreadsheet for our first project, and explained that we need to go above and beyond if we want to get an A for this assignment; if we do everything he asks we will only get an 89%. I hope I can understand it and think of ways to upgrade the project.
This class has already opened up a completely new world for me and I look forward to learning more and getting some hands-on experience soon!
Shady Suppliers Case: http://emp.byui.edu/LUNDINK/250/supplierproj.htm
How to Quantify and Compare: http://emp.byui.edu/LUNDINK/250/Quantncompare.htm
How to Find a Wholesale Distributor: http://onlinebusiness.about.com/od/findinggoodstosell/a/buy-wholesale.htm
How to Find a Wholesale Distributor