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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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I think the most meaningful thing i learned from this project was, learning how to ask around for people with a business. This project really helped me get to know others and what type of business they have. It has really brought me out of my comfort zone and made me go out and openly ask people what they did and what business they are doing. This project also allowed me to see different perspectives of Business, such as, helping the poor, furniture, flower shop, manufacturing, importing, and etc. It has opened my eyes to see that there are alot of businesses out there and alot of opportunity. This project also helped me alot because, before i took this class i didn't really look into business, now i sort of got an understanding of how to make a successful business. This has made me less shy to ask people about anything, not just business. Also I Learned, Business is like a team, you have to work together to succeed and you have to Trust your workers.
Date Submitted: 2011-10-10 10:32:57

I initially intended to interview individuals who ran import businesses on products particular to bamboo fly rods, but time was critical.  So my focus shifted to an individual who ran a micro-business out of his home.  What I found was an individual who is self-employed, doing what he has always wanted to do, is knowledgeable, and good at what he does.  He relies on his product results and his reputation to generate business and does not take on more than he can realistically handle.  You may think this person's approach is limiting and not well thought out, but what this researcher sees is totally the opposite.  At one time, he was in a partnership and found his partner was in it for the money; this created questions about the future and the
way he intended to live, so he made a change:  a clean break.  

When an opportunity presented itself to expand his business by adding a product service, he did so, but not before examining the situation:  he performed a feasability analysis.  The purchase of additional equipment did not require additional capital or a business loan:  the equipment was purchased out of cash on hand.  Did he have a hard and fast business plan with business proujections by quarter, with costs and income tracking to an estimated bottom line?  No, but there were conversations with his Accountant, and the plan was to add a service with a piece of equipment that provided the best possible opportunity for payback in a business territory he knew well, with a client base that used his services and provided word of mouth referrals.  He does not take jobs just to take jobs; that is a recipe for disaster in the construction business, so his customers must provide an opportunity for a reasonable profit for his company's efforts.  All in all, this business fits most all definitions of an entrepreneur.

The advice I received, most striking in its consistency with a positive outlook on business and life in general, is to ask customers and your business partners what they want, and build a business around doing just that.  Be an expert in what you do, and surround yourself with individuals that will help you be seen as an expert, helping to define your business.  Where you do not have expertise, and cannot realistically expect to be proficient, use those experts to stay professional:  accountants, business attorneys, specialists, and any other profession you see fit to add to your staff that will add value to what you do.  There are no shortcuts to complying with government regulations, so be sure you do just that.  Make sure you comply with labor law, and use this as a way to set yourself apart from those businesses that do not.  Be clear to your staff how you do business and what you expect; clarity makes it easier for people to work with  you, and want to keep working with you.  If you purchase technology, be sure these tools will actually help set you apart from competition; use tools to give your company a competitive
edge. And if you are not an expert, make sure you are one before you commit time and money to your enterprise.  Research any way that makes sense for you:  if you have to, hire a research firm. Talk to competitors, attend trade shows, spend some time getting your arms around what the consumer wants, then do so.  
Date Submitted: 2011-10-10 15:06:10

The most meaningful part of the project was actually sitting down with the owner of a place that I like to go and eat. The owner, [name removed], was the youngest owner in the company and his youthfulness says a lot about the company. The fact that he is so young and is half owner of the company proves that he really loves his job and loves this company. [name removed] gave great answers and took his time answering each question. His information gave me the opportunity and took what doubt I carried about eventually owning my own business.

The fact that he took the time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me was awesome; especially last minute. Even though he received the questions last minute and did not have the time to review them, he answered all questions earnestly. He even asked me questions about school and what he thought would be good courses and how the professors were. The fact that he valued my opinion about school and that he was interested in switching his major over to business was the best part.
Date Submitted: 2011-10-10 19:54:08

     This project has been extremely informative.  Not only did I get to know my friend better, but have gotten a more intimate look at what being an entrepreneur is all about.  The most meaningful aspect of this assignment in my opinion has been that these answers are coming from the horses mouth.  With all due respect to the authors of many business textbooks, you just can't get real answers like these from a text.  I truly enjoyed getting this first hand knowledge and understanding her view on the business climate.  I believe this to be very valuable for anyone to have, not just aspiring entrepreneurs.  
     In a couple of the answers, the interviewee was very forthcoming about business in California.  Some of her answers made very clear what her values and beliefs are.  So honest, that she felt I might want to edit it out.  But after much thought, I decided not to.  I came to the conclusion that my friend took time out of her busy schedule to do me this favor.  The least I could do is to honor her answers and validate her opinions.  For example the over taxation burden put on businesses.  Especially in this state where money is taken away from businesses in way of taxes and given to special interest groups.  Instead of reinvesting in her company, her success is punished and her money given to those who may not contribute to society in an equal way.    
     Not only is over taxation a challenge for her business but also spending  less than you make.  In past experiences, getting rid of executives who spend too much with no return on investment is hard to do.  This is something that can run a business into the ground.  This is one area a business leader has to work hard on, yet politicians in this state violate this everyday.  Government does not realize that when you take away from business, the costs get passed on to the consumer sooner or later.  In a nutshell, California needs to give more incentives to businesses if a thriving economy is to be achieved.  
     This project has earned my entrepreneur friend much more respect and admiration than ever before.  Her success and integrity is an inspiration to me.  I believe hard working entrepreneurs are the engine of society.  For this they should be rewarded.  What a great mentor to have and not just because we share the same values and morals.  This family has worked endlessly, and sacrificed to be where they are now.  I consider it an honor just to know her and to have had the opportunity to give this interview.    

Date Submitted: 2011-10-10 20:00:26

Everyone has dreamt of being his/her own boss, the biggest perk is one can decide on everything including time, money, and space. I have dreamt of this too. After interviewing the entrepreneur, I am not quite sure I have the quality to be one yet, at least not until I am prepared. I realize being a boss is such an uneasy job which takes all the responsibility, money burden, personnel issue and decisions. Any mistake may leads to a devastating consequence. Each phone call can be an opportunity, a leads or a prospect; if not handling carefully, one may slip the chances away. And the chances of grasping the opportunity are highly based on preparation and experiences.
The most meaningful part of this project is I am able to ask the right question with a successful entrepreneur who gives me real advice and information. I realize that it is not money that brings a success; it is the hard work, preparation and experience that bring a higher chance of success. The entrepreneur also said, it is harsh every day because one has to think about where’s the money to pay for the salary, utility, rent and expenses every day. Just imagine myself waking up and starting to worry about the money, I realize being a boss is hundred times harder than being a staff. And this is only the money issue, there are much more complex issues such as dealing with client, winning a project, training staff, cultivating company, and finding vendor. None of these can be easily manage, just to think of them give me Goosebumps.  Running a business is not like selling at the flea market; it is so much more than having a right product, finding a place and selling to customer.
Date Submitted: 2011-10-10 23:52:00

What I found most meaningful while doing this project is how much insight a person who is successful in their business is willing to help others seeking the same. The person I interviewed works a 6 day workweek and found the time to help me complete this project. As I was asking the questions and writing down his response I could tell in the tone of his voice he was quite proud of what he accomplished. One thing I did note that was quite interesting is how he grew to become the person he is today. His original goal was never to be a business owner himself but when opportunity came he decided to take a chance and ended up being his own boss. After the interview we talked a bit more and he told me more success stories but also some of great failure, not to discourage me but to note that not all business ventures are successful. In his case he bought an existing business and that’s what he believes made it easier to maintain and stay in business.     
Date Submitted: 2011-10-11 15:55:43

The most meaningful part of this project was doing the interview itself. While conducting the interview I learned a lot about business that I have never thought about. I learned that business isn’t only about doing business but it’s also about the relationships you have with your vendors and customers. I always thought that business was business and the people you do business with can’t be your friends but that idea I had was wrong. After conducting this interview I learned how important trust is and how it can help a business sky rocket. Putting God in your business will help it grow dramatically, like how [name removed] business grew from a small business into a corporation.
This information is very meaningful because I learned that business is all about trust. After the interview with [name removed], I want to be fair to all my employees when I start my own business. She taught me the importance of keeping a good relationship with your customers, vendors and employees and how this can help your business grow. I never thought that trust was needed in business but after the interview I learned that trust is very important and the importance of doing ethical business.  She also showed me more thing, if I let God lead my life and business, it will prosper.
Date Submitted: 2011-10-11 17:13:35

I found this project to be very interesting to me because it allowed me to go more in depth of what is considered when looking into ownership of a business. How hard, but easy at the same time the start up could be. And also just how much can be in everyday life as the owner. As i interviewed a female business woman, i noticed it takes a lot of hard work along with financial obligations.
For example, when asking "How does a business begin" or "How does a business move, The female business woman replies, "It takes a lot of long hours, and learning the background of what you would like for your business to consist of. As she took me deeper into all the strategies and paperwork, I never know a business would come with a lot of productivity and success. If i get a chance in the future, i would love to interview another business owner.
Date Submitted: 2011-10-11 20:15:15

     This project was really inspiring and helped me realize that if you really put your mind to something, you can do it. This is my fathers business and he worked really hard to get it where it is at today. Although it is not a huge company, that is why his customers have grown to love and enjoy this small family business. I really like how this business is not just business, it builds a personal relationship between the consumer and the entertainer. Customers' relationship with [name removed] entertainers have helped improve the strategies of our services over the years, since the business started in 1993. [name removed] will do his own customer research by calling customers back and asking how their show went and receive feedback in order to see what can be done better.
     The difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur is that an entrepreneur has the passion to make the product or service better, and share it with the public. I found it very interesting that it is not just about making as much money as possible, it is also about caring and nurturing a business like a child. You want your business to grow and become successful, and in order to do that, you must have a passion for it. Having a love and passion for what you do is what makes "work" not work anymore, and you actually enjoy making your living. This project has made me seriously think about starting my own business, just like my father. Not in the Children's Entertainment field, but in my own field of expertise.  
Date Submitted: 2011-10-11 20:27:27

What I found most meaningful about this project was learning from a successful business entrepreneur in a career path that I am interested in.  Early on, I have the goal of owning my own pharmacy and I felt that I had gained some insight from an entrepreneur who already succeeded in the pharmacy business. Prior to the interview, I had no knowledge of the business side of pharmacy, only knowing about the clinical side.  I had no idea of how much regulation can affect community pharmacies.  With lower reimbursement from insurers today, it is sobering news that opening up a pharmacy today could be difficult if you stay with traditional business models of independent pharmacies.  Also learning specific resources that he regularly uses in his business was important to find out because I had never considered that vendors are valuable resources for current business information.  It now seems obvious now how vendors could be used to help expand a business by providing the latest information or services that can set your business apart from another business.  Also I found his passion in always trying to better his services to patients is important to keep his business competitive among the myriad of pharmacies.  Creating a niche market became his company’s cornerstone in creating a service that is innovative and continually innovate patient care.             
Also I learn that in order to continually survive and thrive as an entrepreneur, building relationships is important.  For example, when trying to start out in a business, established connections with people could help finance your business and networking to connect with prospective clients.  The entrepreneur felt that his relationship with the vendor who took the initial risk in investing in his business was essential to build his business.  Also I learn that creating a reputation of customer satisfaction in the start of your business is essential to exponentially grow your business. Most of the opportunities that the entrepreneur received came from his dedication to improve the quality of his services. He thus created a system of trust with patients as well gain trust with future business opportunities.   
Date Submitted: 2011-10-11 20:42:40

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