Category Archives: Student Voice

The Entrepreneurship Umbrella: Why Uncertainty is Okay

Question Mark 238x300 The Entrepreneurship Umbrella: Why Uncertainty is OkayAs a bright, self-motivated individual preparing for college, choosing a major is a tough decision. Entrepreneurship sounds appealing, but uncertainty kills. What do entrepreneurs do? How does a major in entrepreneurship strike potential employers? What kind of job are you prepared for as part of an entrepreneurship department? The major decision is a major decision. What if you pick the wrong one and end up making change flipping burgers in the fast food industry instead of making bank flipping houses in real estate?

These concerns are very real and generally worth the contemplation. But good news is waiting. Entrepreneurship is an umbrella major in a good way. First, the major allows a student to cover many aspects of business. Business management, sales, marketing, organizational development, finance, communication skills, and time management are areas or skills cultivated in an entrepreneurship major. What CEO is going to turn a job applicant away because the applicant has a sense of the myriad of business aspects which is too well-rounded and balanced? Not a CEO that applicant ought to be interested in working with.

Entrepreneurship Post The Entrepreneurship Umbrella: Why Uncertainty is OkayThe umbrella aspect of entrepreneurship doesn’t simply apply to getting well-rounded perspective on running a business. The types of business which an entrepreneurship major lends itself to are likewise extensive. One Grove City Entrepreneurship alumnus may start a non-profit organization to provide clean water to third-world countries, while others may launch Internet enterprises, foreign tour businesses, or pursue opportunities in other fields. An entrepreneurship major doesn’t limit your potential, instead it frees you to pursue your passions more fully.

The Convergence of the Internet and the Entrepreneur

The Internet was possibly the greatest invention since the printing press, giving mankind the ability to instantly gather and contribute information and send it worldwide to anyone, anywhere and at anytime. There is no doubt that the business world is a lucrative and rewarding field, both economically but emotionally and spiritually as well. In the hierarchy of business, however, entrepreneurship reigns supreme. It is nice to contribute to the world economic engine by working for a large bank, manufacturing plant, or clothing store. But when all is said and done, there is nothing quite like creating a business with your own hard work and creativity, and subsequently seeing it flourish.

Think for a minute about combining two great things: the power of the World Wide Web along with the power of an entrepreneur. The world is addicted to the Internet, and it is never going back. We will continue to utilize the wonders of the information superhighway and those entrepreneurs who can use the internet to their advantage will benefit enormously and surpass their competitors. With a class like Internet Entrepreneurship, students are given the skills they need to tackle the two big challenges they will face upon graduation: starting a business and using the power of the world’s greatest invention to their economic advantage. Subject like ‘content marketing’, ‘mass collaboration’ and ‘search engine optimization’ will no longer be technical buzzwords but real life topics that can be relevantly applied to a business setting.

The Internet is our greatest tool as the world economy continues to morph and grow, and those entrepreneurs who buck the trend and decide to set off on their own will be the greatest beneficiaries of what the world has to offer. Entrepreneurship is not just raw talent, however. The secrets to success involve real and tangible lessons that can be learned in a classroom, provided the right professors teach the right topics. In a school like Grove City, there is no better place to learn about the great benefits one can gain from striking it on their own while at the same time understanding how the world revolves around the continuing growth of the Internet.

Creative Commons: Free, Frictionless Marketing

A Creative Commons license is a way to legally share content. The significance of such a license is that current copyright law prohibits the exchange of ideas by prohibiting the reproduction of original work. The laws are outdated for 21st century because on the Internet, the transfer of any work requires its reproduction. When you save an image, you’re copying it. When you forward an email, you’re copying it. When you remix a variety of clips into a video, you’re copying each every one of those works. According to the law, an original work is copyrighted upon creation. To press charges against someone who has stolen that intellectual property, the work must be registered with the Copyright office, however, it is still technically illegal for someone else to reproduce a work without the author’s permission. The effects of this tension between law and the nature of the Internet results in a particular kind of culture. This culture’s defining characteristic is that they are violating the law. Copyright law does not reduce illegal reproduction. All it does is beget a culture of so-called “piracy,” so that sharing information is not hindered, but instead is villainized. It creates antagonism between citizens and the state.

The Creative Commons are a private solution to this public problem. Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford, saw this inadequacy of the legal system. After losing a case involving the long-standing copyright of Mickey Mouse, Lessig decided to work from the outside. He applied his legal expertise to develop the Creative Commons.

The way it works is that a CC license is appended to the existing copyright on a work. It provides a standing permission from the author for others to share the work. A variety of stipulations can be added, such as attribution and non-commercial use. This way if the work is shared, the reproducer must attribute the work to its original author and they may not use it for monetary gain. The licenses are completely customizable, so the author has broad control over their work is used. They are free and easy to generate.

The result of such a framework is that Internet users now have a way to legally share content. The value of this for entrepreneurs is that they can allow their content to go viral. Without the default legal prohibition to disrupt the free flow of their ideas, entrepreneurs can gain a greater scope of influence. The idea of importance of mastering the ability gain a foothold in the world of ideas is described in Seth Godin’s Ideavirus. Notice that it was published in 2000, while the Creative Commons was founded just a year later in 2001. The Creative Commons enables people to spread their ideas, which is the fundamental goal of marketing. Thus, all Internet entrepreneurs should know about it.

Social Media Actually Works…

Hey, what do you know?  This new social media thing actually works!

As a student deeply passionate and involved in a sports team, I am always excited about and interested in ways to connect with fans, alumni, and parents.  I am a member of the Grove City men’s lacrosse team and as the program has grown over my four years at school, so has its base of alumni and faithful followers.

Being business students and having taken several entrepreneurship classes, we as the leaders of the team looked to apply some of these concepts to our alumni relations side of things.  Not only did we start new social media initiatives, but we have updated them, made them appealing, and have seen great success follow along with it.

First was updating our website.  A more accurate and recognizable domain name, a professional-looking WordPress setup, and multiple links that have news, pictures, videos, questionnaires, information on the team, a sponsors page and contact information all served to beef up our main hub of information and connect better with our followers.

Next we created a Facebook page.  The key to this channel of communication was all about content and creating a conversation.  News and statuses are constantly updated, pictures uploaded, and discussions are started on this page, making it extremely appealing to alumni, friends, family and fans, and gives them a reason to come to the page.  Fan interaction has been huge and the page has gained over five hundred followers and built connections that otherwise would not have happened.

We also created a Twitter account for the team.  This is used to comment on news with the team as well as to tweet in-game scores at our games.  There has been a lot of positive feedback from alumni who are not near Grove City and use this as a means to stay updated quickly on how games are progressing.  There is also a Picasa link on the team’s sites that take users to a page full of photos of the team at different games.

Clearly social media has worked for us, and I believe it is because we have tried to go about it the right way.  Creating new, exciting content that draws users in, getting interaction to create conversations, and staying up to date with our followers’ needs.  As a current business student, it is exciting to see these things happen…to take concepts from the classroom and find out that practically applied, they can actually work.
 Social Media Actually Works...

How To Make an Entrepreneur

With all the talk of a collapsing economy, political reform, and the frightening prospect of socialism hot on our heels, the biggest question raised has been the impact on the entrepreneur. The term “entrepreneur”, however, is one that is easily employed by many, yet not so easily defined. So, with that said, what exactly is an entrepreneur?

The entrepreneur is one that recognizes value. Wherever he or she goes, they are able to see the inherent potential within things. With this said, the next point highlights the fact that all entrepreneurs are future-oriented. In order to recognize hidden value, entrepreneurs must have their eyes on the prize. They can see the potential for a concept, product, or idea and the necessary steps to bring them to fruition.

Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that before you classify “entrepreneurs” based on this criteria, there is one prerequisite: they must have an ideology that supports their efforts. You’ve all heard of countless success stories of people such as Michael Dell or Bill Gates or even – to cite a recent example – Mark Zuckerberg; the underlying commonality between these three is that they all possess a burning passion or desire for what they do. This concept is absolutely central to understanding the entrepreneur. He or she loves what they do, and this is what allows them to successfully accomplish their objectives.

Thirdly, the entrepreneur must be self-reliant and resourceful. Many entrepreneurial ventures transcend preexisting norms and trains of thought. The skeptical backlash entrepreneurs receive is a harsh deterrent because the majority of people do not share their vision. Entrepreneurs must be steadfast in their beliefs and forge on, despite criticism. Additionally, they must be resourceful because that is the nature of their endeavors. Their ideas are sexy, timely, innovative, and threatening; the entrepreneur goes where few dare to venture.

This brings me to my last point: profit. Profit is a tool entrepreneurs utilize to determine progress and improvement. Entrepreneurs are successful because they have monetary limitations; therefore, to maximize output, they must fully understand their customers. Successful entrepreneurial ventures are profitable because they cater to the needs of the consumer. This is the leading indicator/tool entrepreneurs use to measure progress and determine improvement. It is reassuring to know – as a consumer – that entrepreneurs have me in mind as they’re creating new products and marketing ideas. The entrepreneur is, in many ways, more customer focused than his competitors, because it is “do or die”.  His or her product idea, production costs, and marketing strategy, must be better, lower, and more effective than the other guy’s; it must be the best.

Where is the entrepreneur hiding in you?


Internet Entrepreneurship: Learning by Doing

I spent every Monday night this semester taking Mr. Sweet’s Internet Entrepreneurship course learning about things like Social Media and SEO.  It’s interesting stuff – and important to any company with an online presence.   But it wasn’t until I was forced to use them for my business plan entry that I both truly understand and valued their use.

In order to reach our target market, my business plan partner Joel Shindeldecker and I realized that we needed to learn masterful use (or at least, competent use) of social media and the Internet.  Halfway through the semester we created a WordPress blog and website, a twitter account, and Facebook page.  We also have a YouTube account though getting our videos up is still on the “to-do” list.

It was when I actually started using all of the tools discussed in class that I began to “own them” and really learn.  As I practiced using our social media tools, I was able to actually digest everything discussed in class much better.  This is how I learn best, which is why working on the business plan for Grove City’s competition has been the biggest learning experience of my life.  I’ve had to both sit down and think as well as “shoot from the hip,” constantly figuring out how to apply what I’ve learned in my classes to my specific business plan project.

As Joel and I continue on with our plan, we expect our social media and online marketing to be a huge part of our business and look forward to more tinkering with these tools as we learn how to attract online attention.

3 Ways to Utilize Web 2.0 to Enrich your College Experience

The Web 2.0 paradigm has brought about substantial changes in the way content is stored and transferred across the Internet.  The advantages to both providers and simple users that have come about as a result of Web 2.0 are tremendous; This simple shift in the way people think has proven to be particularly useful in my career as a college student.  The following are 3 Exciting Ways to utilize Web 2.0 to Enrich your College Experience.

1. RateMyProfessors.com: Scheduling for classes, especially at Grove City College, can be an absolute nightmare. Our academic exploits are already accompanied by a high amount of stress. The difference between an enjoyable learning experience and a nightmarish, academic catastrophe is, more often than not, the professor into whose class you choose to enroll. Available to help you make your decisions is RateMyProfessors.com, a product of Web 2.0 which enables users to log in and post comments and stories about professors at college. This web site has been tremendously helpful to me as I made tough choices about professors.

2. www.craigslist.com: Short on cash? Looking to sell some junk that’s been lying around your dorm room for days? Looking for free stuff in your area? Craigslist will help you out. I am in my 4th year of college. I have acquired four couches, a microwave oven, a fishtank and an enormous trash bag full of ball-pit balls… without paying a nickel. Craigslist takes advantage of Web 2.0 ideas to provide a forum through which people can either sell unwanted items or give them away for free. As a poor college student, I am extremely grateful to Craigslist for helping me score some pretty great free stuff for my room.

3. Facebook.com: Obviously. This site is easily the most prevalent result on the average college student’s browser history. I can’t get through a day without it. In a world where I am consumed by time constraints from every direction, Facebook is a quick & efficient way to, utilizing the concepts of Web 2.0, connect with my friends not just from college but from all over the world. If you haven’t heard about Facebook… it’s about time you did.

Want to Read the Most Boring Article in the World?? Try This One!

I was thinking about writing a poem about paint drying or your last math class, but I think I’m going to write about the most boring subject of them all:

THE SUMMER BEFORE YOU GO TO COLLEGE!!!

So.  The summer before college has arrived.  High school is over, you’ve gotten into GCC but you have no idea what your major you are going to choose (horror of horrors).  Never fear! The most boring article in the world is here! But things are about to get exciting…

I’m going to give you THE TOP FIVE THINGS TO DO THE SUMMER BEFORE COLLEGE.  In the process I’m going to convince you why Entrepreneurship is the most exciting major at GCC.  Buckle your…computer chairs…and get ready:

1) Hug Your Parents!

They’ve put a lot of time, effort, and love into the project called you.  Make them feel appreciated.  While you’re at it, set them up with a Facebook, Twitter, or Skype account so that you can stay in touch with them while you’re at school.

2) Get Entrepreneurial, baby!

Remember that soccer team you’re playing with this summer?  Make them shirts on CafePress and sell them to players, parents, and friends!  Looking for some extra cash for a late-night college snack?  Use Google to find Internet employers like Cha-Cha!  If you enjoy these activities, it’s because you’re an entrepreneur at heart!

3) Surf the Web

When I say surf the web, I mean SURF the web.  Don’t sit on one or two sites.  Explore!  Try sites like stumbleupon.com or alltop.com to find interesting articles that are useful and relevant, no matter what major you choose!  If you find things you want to share with others, start your own blog using WordPress!

4) Grab the nearest GCC student

It doesn’t matter where you live.  With a computer at your fingertips, you can come into contact with most students at GCC.  If you have any questions about college, ask!  I don’t care how stupid your question sounds in your head, ask it anyway.  You can start with me, find Joe Dorris on Facebook and ask away!

5) Don’t just think about a potential major…try them out!

For example, ff you are interested in an Entrepreneurship major, call a local entrepreneur!  Ask them if you can shadow them for a day or two and see what the life of an entrepreneur is like!  Not sure where to look?  Click on this link to GCC’s Entrepreneurship Facebook page and ask us for a list of GCC entrepreneurs who you can talk to!

The summer before you go to college doesn’t have to be boring.  There’s so much to do.  So get thinking and get started…your college awaits a prepared student!