The Three Entrepreneurs were able to successfully manage three business ventures. "Cookies for Cancer", "State Keyholders", "Kool Koozies".
Travis Bonham - is a Senior Management major who will be graduating in the fall. He has great communication, and sales skills which helped attract customers all semester. Four all three ventures Travis helped build the business model, develop products, and coordinate team meetings.
Randy Hart - is a Senior Management major with a TIE concentration graduating in the fall. Randy has great sales and communication skills and focused on the marketing aspect of the business. Throughout the semester Randy built product posters, advertisements, and sample products increasing each ventures exposure.
Shannon Tumelty - is a Senior Management major with a TIE concentration who is graduating this spring. Shannon had great ideas and contributed her part of the project by manufacturing a customizable product. She used different resources around campus to help her in her venture and she also contributed to sales in the Cookies for Cancer venture.
Cookies For Cancer Edit
Being three college kids who obviously did not have access to a lot of money, the first venture we embarked on was one that needed minimal start-up cost. These factors considered, we concluded that a bake-sale type venture would be an optimal solution. Since Travis had a couple popular homemade recipes passed down through his family, we decided that baking, and subsequently, selling cookies was a perfect cash cow to start our entrepreneurial adventure. We quickly gained eligibility to sell our homemade cookies in Zane Showker Hall, and did so for multiple weeks. We also sold cookies off campus at any chance we got. During this process however, we learned that to really exploit the college market, we needed to find a way to allow them to pay us using credit or debit cards.
Enter the square app. The square app significantly increased our sales, and eventually led us to obtain a comfortable amount of capital that we could work with. We also contributed 10 percent of our total cookie sales to (blank), which is a walk that takes place in Washington D.C. anually to raise awareness of breast cancer.
While this venture did prove to be profitbable, we ultimately decided that selling cookies was not an innovative enough business model. So we used money that was generated by this venture to help fund the final two ventures.
Shannon decided to branch off and start her own venture at the beginning of the semester. Her business plan was to turn ply wood into customize-able laser etched key ring holder that resembled any state a customer wanted. The key ring holder was made to help customers develop a habit of placing their keys in a place that they would remember. The product helped solve the common problem of misplacing keys, and was very profitable.
Shannon recieved feedback from customers saying that they would buy the product even if it did not have the "key ring" component included, so she also sold them without that feature and was very profitable.
Randy and Travis towards the last third of the semester decided to start selling customize-able koozies. The koozie designs created by Randy, and featured two phases that targeted JMU students. The first koozie "aint nobody got time for that" focused on JMU students that preferred spending time out drinking soda instead of spending time in libraries studying. The second koozie "JMaddy, work hard play hard" was created to help inspire JMU students to do well in their classes so that they could have fun on weekends.
The Koozie venture had tremendous success, it generated 34 pre-orders and received great feedback from customers.
Start Early - create models or samples to get your product out into the market asap.
Fail Fast - Dont get hung up on one business venture. If the venture is not profitable in the first week I would recommend quiting the venture and tweaking it or moving on to another idea.
Choose the Right Target Market - selling on campus generates the most exposure but not necessarily the most sales. Make sure you explore other ideas such as selling to neighbors, gas stations, and anyone on the weekend.
Square App - It is rare that students have cash and even rarer that they have it on them; credit cards is a different story.
"Team" - Our team decided to split up and created three seperate ventures. It increased our ability to raise revenue and also increased our creativity and innovation. Although we all worked on seperate ventures we still helped each other with the sales and production of each different product