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Student Insights for Entrepreneur Interviews

Entrepreneur insights and perceptions related to their businesses were obtained through interviews conducted by students. Student insights and reflections regarding the interview process are shown on this page.

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This project was meaningful to me because one day I hope to actually open my own business. And I hope to open up some sort of restaurant. By interviewing an entrepreneur who started a restaurant I think was very helpful because he provided me with tips and the things I need to do in order to be successful. He told me what I need to stay away from and what I need to do if I want my business to succeed in this market. By talking to him and learning what he struggles with will help me to prepare for my business. While talking with him I also learned that starting my own business wont always be easy, it will be hard work especially if I am going to do it on my own.
I think what i will take away from this experience is that if I set my heart on something, and work hard enough I can do it, just like he did. If I prioritize my life and strive to open my own business one day I will be able to do it. As long as i make smart decisions and work with the correct people I will be successful. What I also learned was that school plays a very important role in opening a business. In order to start a business I need to have some sort of idea what I’m getting myself into and by taking business and marketing classes I should get some sort of idea and will have more knowledge about those topics when I need to put them to use. The entrepreneur I interviewed told me that one of the most important things in running your own business is having prior work experience in the field so that way you don't jump into something I have no clue about.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 14:17:52

I worked in retail in my 20's for most of the decade. I know work online and telecommute so I almost forgot what it was like to run a store day to day and building personal relationships with people. To hear the passion in this mans voice about how important getting to know your customers is and how crucial being their best friend is was an awakening to me. I also admired the passion he has for the clothing brands he carries and how much he study’s each clothing label and the history. He truly is more educated about urban clothing styles than any manager at your typical store in the mall would be. Fashion is not a trend to him it is what he studies and is most knowledgeable about and seems to be always intrigued by it. The amount of time he puts into his stores surpasses the hours of the day it seems. He is a very focused entrepreneur and nothing can stop him. Educating people about clothes and his store as an urban lifestyle motivates him.

I also appreciated the insight he gave on how to treat your employees. His employees are former customers who became friends. They respect him and care about the store. They support his vision and are a family. They are hand chosen and knowledgeable about fashion and the culture that he sells to. His company succeeds with the help of his employees so he does what he can to keep a family vibe going and make it as fun as possible. He often hosts club nights and bike outings and barbeques for the employees and customers and this has created more than a brand name and store but a true lifestyle to his customers and store family.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 14:19:52

The most meaningful part of this project was talking to my brother about why he chose to follow my dads footsteps. I always knew he liked the wild life, so when he chose to do what my dad does for a living, I wasn't too surprised. However, as the years passed by I did have some curiosity. Having this project to let me ask my brother these questions, were very helpful to understand him. I liked asking the questions, it made me feel powerful, but what interested me the most was listening to what he had to say. He is my brother, so some of the questions I'd ask I thought I knew what he was going to say, but I was wrong It was completely different. I had a general thought to some of these questions, and when he answered them they had so much more meaning and thought to them then what I had in mind. He really helped me open my eyes about businesses, and how to deal with certain situations. I may not have the same ones as him, or you, but they are challenges, and working together to help figure out a solution is the way to go. I also liked the fact that he was very sincere. There wasn't a question I asked that made him seem like it was a lie just to make himself look good, and he wouldn't second-guess himself. He would think about what he was going to say and spoke his mind, I think this is very important when dealing as an entrepreneur.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 15:34:22

Being aware of your Competition and how they affect my business.
There are several different alternatives out there for my products, so I have to make sure I'm confident and competent in all areas, by using research, other marketing students, google maps and secondary research to better understand what other bakeries are doing to succeed.

Pricing is more important then I thought. I don't want to under price my product, although  I don't want to make it unaffordable as well. I will really have to research the what the norms are for those competitors around me.

Finding my target market and Niche is going to be key for me. I'm going to have to be more active to notice opportunities when they themselves to share my brand and products to people.  When the business owner talked about using her grandchild's bake sale fundraisers, I realized that is a free and easy way to do buzz marketing.  The business owner really brought that to my mind.

In doing this project, this business owner was my second choice, my first was so overwhelmed and unhappy with her bakery she didn't even have time to meet with me. Her behavior made me really see what the interviewed business owner was talking about concerning balance.  In business, balance is extremely important. In the near future, I'm going into business for the simply reasons that; I want independence and the responsibly of my own success or failure. Even if I'm not making ends meet I don't want to be dreading life itself every time I set foot into my bakery. Life is too short to not be happy, however that doesn't mean I'm going to be naive either. Being denied by that first business owner made me realize how important planning and having adequate financing is to your well-being and longevity as a business.

I'll also take away the helpfulness of the trade organization info and magazines she mentioned. In addition, I love that she told me to be persistent and to follow my dream.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 16:37:46

I liked this project.  I found myself more willing to take on the challenge of owning a business now than ever. Talking with the business owner and receiving his opinion firsthand really changed mind about being a business owner myself. What impressed me the most was the owner's honesty about the economy, weather and reputation being the biggest challenges he's facing in his business.   
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 18:48:05

I think that the most meaningful thing about this project to me was that I got to spend time with my dad. Ask him questions about how he got to do all the thngs that he did. Like who taught him how to do all the things that he knows. However even though I allrady knew the answer to some of the questions it was good just to hear the answers again. And have him explain to my how came to the US and how he got his first job and what it was. It made me feel like we were getting closer becuase we hardly ever do that.
I also liked doing this project becuase it helped me gain some experience on what to do when I start my business. Like what to do what not to do and how to do it. I think it gave a great insite in the business game. Who knows maybe now that I know all this information it will help me get to owning my business quicker.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 18:48:38

With this project, I’ve really gotten a sense of why someone would want to start on their own. Not for maximum profit, not to control employees, but to make your own happiness. To put forth the risk and effort that hopefully will pay off. Whether it be $5 million a year or $40 thousand a year in your pocket, you know it came from something you built, and no one can take that away from you. It’s the accomplishment factor, a very personal drive and satisfaction. I am a friend of his son and a frequent customer. And even before they knew me, I could always rely on them greeting and giving a smile when I walked in. Both because they want to provide good, honest service, but the fact that when a customer walks in, it’s to buy something they made, not just selling someone else’s product, but their own. Their recipe, labor and presentation.
I have always wanted to have my own business. I’m not quite sure what field to pursue, but I want to make something of my own. I want that joy and self-accomplishment. My mother owned a seamstress shop; she started when she was only 19/20. She eventually gave it up due to overseas competition and the long hours. But she built it on her own. With her own money, and 2 other employees she did it, and it eventually grew taking on larger contracts. My father’s employer, a civil engineering firm in Pomona started with less than 10 employees, now has about 50. Still small and hold a family feeling (you can step into the owner’s office and talk to him about anything), though it handles multi-million dollar contracts regularly around the world. And from them I always hear that they love having something they built.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 19:03:56

The most meaningful to me about this project was that it helps me realizing the difficulties in operating the business. When I was young, I thought managing the business was really easy, and there was nothing to worry about, but it was actually an opposite of my thought. To managing a good business, I need to know all the information relating to the type of business I want to start. I must also have some good or basic experiences in operating and managing the business. Besides the information and experience in the operation and management, I think I need to do some kind of survey to know what the entrepreneurs in my business think about it. From that, I can slowly make a good business plan for my company.
In business, the most difficulty are the financial. Without money, the business will go low and be ruining after all the hard work I put in it if I am an owner. In order to make the company successful and stronger, I need to have a good control in the financial (money). Besides the good control of financial, the bank and loan are also necessary and important to the business. When the company have difficulty in financial, the bank can help it going back on track by lending the owner a limit amount of money with the interesting that can be high or low. Although bank is important, it can sometimes be a risk to the company because it can make the business going bankruptcy at anytime if the entrepreneur can not pay back the money. After all, bank helps the business surviving in the difficult time, but the entrepreneur needs to be careful in managing the business and controlling the financial.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 21:14:34

This project was meaningful to me because since I interviewed my mother, her advice will really help and push me forward to what really want to achieve. It opened my eyes to be able to see the difference between a job and something you may just love to do as a hobby but turned into an occupation. In addition, since I know how hard my mother works on a daily basis I would rather work with something I love to do to not have as much stress as she does. Also to learn from her mistakes of not preparing enough for the future of her occupation would help me in life. I would take these advices as truths because it is coming from someone with so much experience. Also it was meaningful that my mom would elaborate about what she does so much because she usually isn’t that open about her occupation that much.

Another meaningful thing about this project was how much I learned from this project. It helped to learn that preparing for the future is a very important thing to do. It will tremendously come in handy in the future and help out when you need it most. By studying and going over what you want to do it’ll help you compare to the small details of this to that. If you may want to get into this occupation comparing to this other very similar occupation. Also to have a set and definite goal you look forward to everyday and keep in mind will lead in me in the path to achieving it. Because my mother strayed away of what she wanted to become, it was a very costly mistake, but I know not to do that.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 21:44:45

The most meaningful part about this project to me was conducting the interview. It made me come out of my comfort zone because i had to go to a business and ask the owner if he would be willing to be interviewed at first he did not want to, but then I told him it was for school and running my own business was my ultimate goal. It showed me to see that people are always willing to help someone that is just getting started. Also in doing this project I found a mentor something we talked about in class that was important for a entrepreneur to have.   
The most meaningful question to me was the last question what advice can you offer to an aspiring entrepreneur? When I asked him this question he took his time answering it he told me he took so long because it is important to tell people positive information. He told me it is important to stay positive because there are going to be hard times but you have to stay strong and always keep moving forward and do not be afraid of change because things will change and nothing will stay the same for long. You and your business must adapted to the change. This reminded me of the movie we watched in class Who Moved the Cheese. It seems to me that change is a recurring problem in business so one must be prepared to change and be able to adapt to anything. I think the person I interviewed gave me good advice for a up and coming entrepreneur.
Date Submitted: 2010-10-06 21:47:15

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