Throughout my time as a student at the University of Utah my dreams and desires have changed and so has business. In 2007 when I started school most people still had flip phones and we weren’t nearly as connected to one another as we are today. In 2008 I was in a life changing accident that changed me physically and mentally. I quickly learned many new things about my self and new I was going to have to work a whole lot harder than I ever used to, as I lost much of my math memory and focusing became a bigger challenge. I became very depressed and tried to get through school but it seamed that I had much bigger issues to deal with. After struggling through nearly two years of school getting bad grades I took a long break to get my head on straight and find myself again.
I came back to school to get a communications degree to finish school as quickly as possible. During that time although motivated to finish I wasn’t passionate about the things I was studying. I knew once again something had to change. I took another break and started a few businesses with friends and learned a wide range of skills. I came back to school took one entrepreneur class and started a new business, I was hooked. To much of my surprise business took off, and I had an act and passion for it.
I have now been in business for 3 years in my current venture. I have received seed funding from the E-club to help get started, been featured in a few dozen Entrepreneur of the year articles, and have made amazing relationships. I am about to hit my millionth dollar in total sales. Trying to get a bachelors degree while running a business I realized I had to learn the hard way through trial and error rather than learning it in a classroom. I began taking random classes that I felt would benefit me and my business. I even started being a guest speaker in all sorts of classes to help other entrepreneurs learn from my hardships and successes. As my business first started to take off at the beginning of my three year adventure I knew my business needed me and I decided to take yet again a short break from school.
Now that I have decided to come back once and for all and finish my degree I want my time spent here to be as useful to others and myself as possible, but still be efficient in my time spent here at school. I have identified that when I have taken business school classes they have helped prepare me very well to be good at a very specific job, but not necessarily how to be a business owner. When taking Entrepreneurship classes I have been more motivated than ever to start new companies and felt invincible, but really all I learned is how to start something not how to make the business sustainable and last the test of time. Ultimately I don’t feel there is anything that can truly prepare you to start a business and build it up to last decades and still have tremendous growth and goals. However I do believe that when putting certain training, mentorships, and skills together it will make the journey a whole lot easier.
My proposed degree of The Life Cycle of Entrepreneurs B.U.S will consist of three major modules that will help accelerate what an individual will need when becoming an Entrepreneur , not just to start a business, but to build a sustainable business. Each module includes specific courses decided by many advisors and myself to emphasize a particular attribute.
- Business Accounting and Venture funding
The Entrepreneurship module focuses on how to start a business and come up with a business idea. When starting a business many people think every idea is a great idea but learning how to be scrappy and make your business stand along from similar business is a whole other ball game. How to determine Value in use, exchange, distribution, finance, and fitness of your business is a core part of setting up how you will operate. Entrepreneurs need to learn how to think outside the box, how to differentiate themselves and exhaust every recourse possible.
The Management Module I have identified as a major issue for many entrepreneurs because they come up with a great idea start growing their business but when the hockey stick effect hits and they have a giant spike in growth they need to turn themselves into a manager instead of doing everything themselves. Making that shift is something I have struggled with growing a sales team and how to structure different management roles throughout the company.
The Business Accounting and Venture funding module is in place to help Entrepreneurs identify different types of funding for their business and how to negotiate a proper deal. I had Venture Capitalists crawling down my throat wanting to dump a bunch of money into my business, but I had no idea how to negotiate a proper deal to get the money my business needed without loosing control. There are so many different types of funding and most people don’t know what would be best for most scenarios. In addition to raising capital, how to manage your books is a critical part of running a business. Whether you do your own books or hire it out you still must have a basic knowledge how to read a report so you as the business owner can make educated decisions to help your business grow.
Lastly my senior project will be to organize a business model plan that can be executed as my business grows to ensure that will be self sustaining and be able to last the tests of time including organizing an advisory board group. I will use this plan and advisors to help make decisions as I enter different stages of business and expand throughout the US.
I feel that by completing the described program I will be able to get my degree in a timely manner of two semesters from where I currently stand because I have already put in much of the work needed. Not only will this be faster route I will be able to learn much more in comparison to starting from scratch and getting only a business degree. I will be able to continue growing my business with a better knowledge and understanding along with a plan to execute. Among having a degree I will be a great success story, and contributor to the University of Utah, and Lassonde’s Institute.