Here’s an Exciting Activity to Educate Students about Entrepreneurship

“The Apprentice” is one of my most favorite reality shows. The best part of the series, for me, is the interesting and fun entrepreneurial activities given to the participants who are already established in the field of sales, marketing and business. It is amusing to think that these professionals who join the competition go back to basics just to prove that they can sell anything.


“The Classroom Apprentice”

I’m not suggesting that business educators should follow the format of Donald Trump’s famous series. I just want the teachers to focus on the activities and the lessons students learn after analyzing the results.

Staying inside the classroom is definitely not enough to learn business. As a former student of Business Administration, I loved how my professor challenged us to big class activities that require us to find connections, promote the products and push sales. Because of the passion I discovered during those activities, I started an online business as soon as I graduated. So far, I’m satisfied with the path I’ve chosen.



In order to encourage business students right now to pursue entrepreneurship just like I did, I’m suggesting this group activity “The Classroom Apprentice” to educators. Don’t worry because I’m going to give steps on how to prepare, execute and analyze the activity. I used a program designed by PACE as an inspiration to my suggested activity.

1. Students have to formulate a business plan.

One of the worst mistakes an entrepreneur can face is stopping right in the middle of business. The reason? It could be that the entrepreneur picked the wrong products to sell. Discontinuing a business is a waste of money, time and effort. A good entrepreneur must own a business that fits his interests and skills. If you want to sell shoes because it can generate a lot of money, that’s not reasonable enough. You have to love shoes, know the popular brands and identify what the customers are usually looking for.

Now, a business plan is composed of questions, guidelines or checklists about planning and expectations. It can also help the students decide on what kind of business to undertake. Its major components are description of the business, strategies for marketing, plans on how to manage the business, and ways to generate investment. This is a good way to teach students that they must be cautious in making big decisions in life, especially when it comes to career.

 



Here are some suggestions so the students can decide faster what kind of business to pursue during the activity. The students can also mix multiple suggestions:

  • A business helpful to the neighborhood
  • A business requiring personal talent or skill
  • A business that can be done at home
  • A business that fits the budget
  • A business popular in the country
  • A business popular worldwide
  • A business good for partnerships
  • A business good for large groups

Meanwhile, here are some specific suggestions for a simple business that’s fun, exciting and unique for a class activity:

  • Repair services
  • Band gigs
  • Computer services
  • Personalized jewelry
  • Secondhand clothing
  • Cleaning services
  • Pet services
  • Shopping services
  • Web page developer services
  • Yard care services
  • Hotdog stand
  • Babysitting services
  • Refreshment stand

On the other hand, here are the sections a business plan should include:

  • Short description of the business (one paragraph)
  • Service or product to sell
  • Personal brand name
  • Target market or buyers
  • Location of business
  • Promotion or marketing strategies to attract buyers
  • Brands currently selling the same product or service
  • Cost of service or product
  • Names of connections for business advice
  • Responsibilities of each members of the group
  • Ways how to gain the products
  • Total amount of required investment (based on expected expenses)
  • Expected number of customers and amount of sales every day, week, month and year (depending on the professor’s desired duration for the activity)
  • Expected profit based on expected investment and sales
  • Ways to generate investment

These lists are still subject for changes because the teacher has every right to decide what’s good for his students. I just gave guides for an easier class implementation.

2. The business plan must be discussed with the adviser.

Obviously, the business plan should be checked by the educator to ensure that nothing goes wrong in the middle of the actual process. Students must avoid changing their business after the launching because it would definitely affect their grades. After all, there is an assigned deadline for this activity.

 


3. The business plan must be discussed in front of the class.

After everything is finalized, each group must present their business plan in front of other groups. I think it would be more exciting if groups are aware of each business plan. I also believe that groups with the same products or services to sell are going to be more motivated because of competition. Let’s face it – the real world of business is full of competitions. The students must face that reality before pursuing entrepreneurship for real.

 


4. The students must give updates regarding their sales.

The groups should report their progress every week. Again, it is nice to be informed. The class can also weigh in their encouragements and suggestions to help groups that are having weak sales. Another purpose of this step is to know which group leads the pack. To give the students motivation, aside from high grades, the winning group by the end of the project must win something as a prize.

 


5. Analysis of the numbers.

After the deadline, the class must analyze the results by comparing their expectations they indicated in the business plan to the actual one. The adviser’s part is to discuss the strongest points of the groups and the weakest. Every mistake along the way should be discussed as well.


6. Celebrate the successful activity.

After all the serious stuff, it would be nice to celebrate the success of the activity. The winning group should be given prizes such as tokens, certificates or trophies. And, if it is okay for the students, the class can have a party with the profit they generated during the activity. If the students prefer saving their money, then that’s fine too. As long as proper acknowledgements are given, “The Classroom Apprentice” would conclude with flying colors.

 


Final Thoughts

Having a taste of what’s out there in the business world while still schooling is essential. Teaching business should not be confined within the four walls of the classroom. Surely, the students would face challenges along the way during the activity. But, that’s really okay. It is part of the learning experience.

New Features of Windows 10 UI

Despite the upcoming release of the Windows 10 Creator’s Update, Microsoft still pushed through in adding fresh features rather than eliminating bugs. Are the newest changes worth the trouble? Well, let’s take a look at these new features of Windows 10 user interface one-by-one:

Compact Overlay Window

The newest Windows 10 Insider Preview, build 15031, was just recently launched by Microsoft. In all fairness, the “Compact Overlay window” feature is trendy and even more modern-looking. It is similar to the smart TV’s picture-in-picture interface.

Now, we are going to find out the purpose of this new Windows 10 feature.  As we have observed being computer users, we can only see one window on the screen. That means, you can’t do multiple computer tasks manually especially if you’re watching a video in full screen. Sometimes, we need to check our email or browse something for a few seconds while watching a movie, for example. This process can be possible without this new Window 10 function, but you have to own more than one monitor.

Compact Overlay window allows users to watch a video while chatting on Skype and other quick tasks. Or, to amaze professionals, the feature allows them to conduct an interview on Skype while typing on MS Word. To sum it all up, you can do whatever you want at the same time in just one monitor.

Unfortunately, since Compact Overlay window feature is still new, the interface is not yet applicable for Netflix analogy. It can only be applied, for now, with Movies & TV and Skype.

Dynamic Lock

We’ll head now to a more futuristic feature of Windows 10. The new feature is called the Dynamic Lock function, one of the features as well of Windows Hello. For Windows Hello, your face becomes the password because the Webcam is being used as the security device.

For Windows 10, Dynamic Lock enables the Webcam to detect if the user is in front of the computer. If the user disappears, the feature locks the PC. When the user comes back again, he can just sit in front of the monitor while Dynamic Lock unlocks the PC. No more hassle of typing your complex password after being gone for a few minutes.

User Interface

A total transformation of Windows 10 UI is being finalized for launching of the so-called Project Neon. Microsoft recently gave a sneak peek to excited techies. Project Neon focuses on transitions and animations. It wants extra fluidity to the interface while blurring the operating system and apps.

Reports suggest that the new UI would include every single Window device, even the Xbox One console, phones and HoloLens. Microsoft wants Project Neon to be a hit for everyone, not just PC users. It also wants Neon to stay programmable despite the overhaul. Neon uses Microsoft Design Language 2 (MDL2). Design language controls essential features such as desktop icons, fonts and controls. For mobile, it supports dialog windows, pickers, toggles, switches and other features.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft services became essential in our daily lives, especially when working in the office or managing businesses. So, it is exciting to think that the company still works on providing infinite possibilities for our PC experience.

How to Make Your Business Successful in the International Market

Area expansion is a great way to make your business become a go-to product or service provider for millions of consumers. International demand for new products and services is getting stronger every year. But, a huge promise of success ahead comes with huge risks. That’s why aspiring international entrepreneurs need constant research about strategies to ensure that they will take the right path.

Entrepreneur recently shared life-changing tips after an interesting interview with global executive Ryan Patel. Pinkberry managed to expand from less than 95 areas to more than 265 outlets because of Patel. As Global Development’s V.P., Patel helped the company expand to 23 countries. Here are some guidelines based on the business expert’s experience:

Be dynamic in strategy-making.

Since the international market is so diverse and constantly changing, entrepreneurs should not stop strategizing. Plans must not focus on long-term goals alone – short-term goals are also crucial. Leaders must research carefully about their target areas for business expansion. They should get familiar with their potential consumers’ culture and environment. One business model is just not enough for different countries. Aside from learning about the international business arena, leaders must also know the strengths and weaknesses of their companies. Strategies and results gathered through time must be studied as much as possible.

 

Work closely with your team.

Being open with the team doesn’t mean compromising your authority. Constant and open communication is important to establish rapport with the workforce. Patel put emphasis on paying attention with every employee’s concern or suggestion. Some team members can even share remarkable ideas that can challenge the existing company dynamic. By successfully overcoming challenges with the workers, the company would even be more ready with bigger risks internationally.

 

The team must be aware of the company’s goals.

It is possible that some team members might not be able to handle area expansion, especially if they have no idea beforehand. Patel believed that the leaders must be transparent with their workforce by educating them about future goals and challenges. The team’s trust on their leader will contribute to a longer and more unified international company.

 

Different cultures but one need – consistency.

McDonald’s is an American fast food chain which became a longtime leader in the food industry worldwide. One of its major strategies that must be an inspiration for aspiring international entrepreneurs is modifying products to cater to one specific culture’s needs. For example: McDonald’s India serves special products such as Chicken Maharaja Mac and Masala Grill Chicken. Same strategy goes to other countries. Another example is McDonald’s special Bulgogi Burger in South Korea. An international company must not settle with its original or classic line of products. Instead, it should focus on consistency with its brand, values, and the country’s culture. Patel added that other modifications can be the company’s packaging design and tagline in another language. International companies must relate with different cultures.

 

Final Thoughts

A global entrepreneur must be strategic, diligent and focused. The international market will never stop changing. So, company leaders must keep on modifying strategies and plans. They must also do their homework in understanding different cultures. Despite changes, they should stay focused until a goal is reached.