Benefits of Action Learning

Action learning is where the curriculum taught is put into action by the students. The method of education requires all senses which enhances the experiences and makes it more memorable for participants.

What is Action Learning
What is the last class or training you can remember taking? Did it happen to be a lecture that made you feel drained afterward? Well, action learning is a tool that instructors can use to create an energizing training or class for participants.

Action learning techniques can be used individually, as a team, in a small group setting, or within an organization. Action learning can be conducted one on one, in person at a physical location, or online. Using this method of teaching can aid in the education of an individual because it uses audio, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile learning styles to develop successful strategies.

What are the key elements of Action Learning
The Key elements of action learning can be a combination of any or all of the items listed below:
a. Problems & Questions
b. Active listening
c. Coaching & Reflection
d. Sharing & Learning
e. Develop Plan
f. Take Action

In a group setting, one could start a session off with a common problem or pose a question to the class to get the thought process warming up. Then, the team could have a discussion, and by using active listening and engaging with the group, they can start to brainstorm to formulate more questions and different solutions.

The instructor of the course contributes as a coach on the sideline, providing encouragement and guidance. As the group collaborates, they can also reflect about items that have been discussed and create a priority list. This style of learning and sharing experience allows for everyone to add ideas or formulate new ones quickly because the activities are timed. Once the time is up, the group should be able to present what they have developed and receive feedback. Once they have done so, they can make modifications and take action to implement what they have learned.

How to Apply Action Learning
Action Learning can be applied to anything you may be teaching by take the material and create a hands-on learning experience. An example of an action learning activity that I have used involves smarties candies, a timer, and one hand. In this exercise, we have three rounds where participants are asked to write down how many smarties candies do they think they can stack in one vertical column within one minute. After one minute, we observe who stacked the most, the least, and discuss why. Next, we do it again, and I have them write down what they think they can get, but before we start the timer, I tell them they have to use their non-dominant hand. Some are surprised with the outcome, and others struggle stacking their column of candy.

In the third round, they can use either hand and get to work with a partner. During these rounds, the candy that they stack that reaches the goal they have written down counts as ten points and they get five points extra for every candy stacked over their goal. If they do not achieve the set goal, then the candies only count as five points.

After all the rounds are complete, we discuss SMART goals and set goals for the group and work on individual goals. This exercise gets participants thinking how goal setting can work in their business. Reflect on how the environment influences the goals (say the table shakes and knocks over all the candy) and what motivated the individuals to stack more or less candy. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed. Goals should be adjusted from time to time to reflect changing circumstance and priorities of the individual and company.

How Can Action Learning Benefit You
One of the main benefits to individuals that are participating in Action Learning is that they can use their learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile) to make the learning experience enjoyable. Teaching this method to individuals keeps them actively engaging in the learning process making the experience fun which, makes it “sticky” and memorable. As individuals continue to participate in active learning, they also improve on their problem solving, creative, communication, and management skills.

Resource Box:
Sabrina S. Arch is a Native American a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Enterprise Development Specialist, and is interested in helping others. Sabrina is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Sabrina S. Arch. Visit her website at

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Family or Friends, A Risky Gamble

Remember as a teenager you would probably ask your parent(s) to “borrow” money to go to the mall, movies or purchase something you admired for what seemed like forever. With this request, you probably were greeted with responses like: ‘I will give you some of the money, but you must earn the rest’ or ‘How are you going to pay me back the money you are borrowing”.  I am not sure why the word borrow was often used but let’s be real, how often did you really pay your parents back.


The term borrow is a very interesting word.  According to, borrow is defined as taking and use (something that belongs to someone else) with the intention of returning it.  As a teenager did you really intend to borrow money from your parents or were you saying whatever you thought would increase your chances of getting the money you wanted to see that movie, got to the mall or purchase something.


Borrowing money as a teenage to invest in your hobbies and wants is completely different that borrowing money as an adult to invest in a business venture.  I highly doubt that your parents stopped speaking to your because you never repaid the money you borrowed to buy the sweater you just had to have.  I also doubt that your friend or cousin unfriended you on social media because you never repaid the money you borrowed for pizza.


While those scenarios seem trivial and petty, it is never either when it comes to those very same people investing in your business venture.  Yes, those close to us want to see us succeed.  Yes, these very same people will cheer us on along our journey.  And yes, a couple of right arms would be given to assist us along the path to success. However, things may turn extremely ugly when there is a bump in the road, or your business venture has fallen into a ditch and lying next to the venture is the money of your friends and family members.


Receiving money for investing from friends and family has some perks.  For one, you get to avoid the most dreaded process of securing money…dealing with banks.  Two, you get to set your own terms and guidelines on how the money will be used. Three, you will most likely receive the money much quicker than you would from a bank.  And four, if needed, the ability to adjust the repayment deadlines may be a little bit more flexible with much less harsh repercussions.


While all those perks may paint a picture of borrowing from family or friends ideal…well, it is not.  For every perk, there are at least two disadvantages.  Yes, you get to avoid the banks, set your own terms with a soft repayment plan.  This would be an entrepreneurs’ utopia, however, if things should ever not go according to plan the perks would quickly fade and be replaced with an unimaginable nightmare.


Could you imagine your parents, cousin, uncle or close friend whom you have had a lifelong relationship with abruptly stop speaking to you?   Could you imagine being uninvited to your best friends wedding?  Even if you were the maid of honor or best man. Could you image a Christmas, Thanksgiving or Birthday without those you love?  How about being the recipient of unpleasant text or voicemails from these very same people.


If you should ever default on a loan with the bank, you never have to worry about running into them at the supermarket resulting in an awkward and negative exchange however that is a plausible situation if you default a financial agreement with a family member.


While doing business with family may have good intentions for both parties, remember that entrepreneurship is a risky avenue and if you are not comfortable with gambling the future of your relationships, then keep your financing formal.  It is important to remember that within the realm of business and entrepreneurship the only feelings that should be allowed is your passion for your business.




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Some Key Points on Angel Investment

Startups seeking funding may consider angel investment. Angel investors are individuals or small groups who invest in startups in exchange for a percentage of equity of the startup. The amounts invested vary greatly depending on the startup and angel investors involved. Terms of investment also vary greatly and are specific to the startup receiving funding. Determination of investment is largely based on a startups funding or investment pitch, which covers all details of the startup. The main considerations for investment are market opportunity, a clear realistic business plan, and evidence of future business success. Angel Investors will want to see prototypes of products or details of services to be offered. The angel investors will ask specific questions regarding the startups finances, marketing, customers or clients, founders and management teams and so on. The startup must be thoroughly prepared to answer these questions.

A startup must complete proper, in-depth research and planning before, during and after seeking funding through angel investment. Not only should the startup be knowledgeable of their market and business plans but also knowledgeable of the angel investors they are seeking funding from. The startup and angel investor will remain in consistent contact starting from their initial meeting. Startups typically update their angel investors on their business status, both good and bad, on a monthly basis.

There are many positives and negatives of investment for both the startup and angel investor. Angel investment is very risky for the investor. If the startup is not successful all money invested may be lost but if the startup is successful there is potential for huge earnings. The main positives of angel investment for the startup, other than receiving necessary funding, is that it often results in many more business contacts and opportunities. Angel investment also often increases the startups business knowledge and experience and creates business advice avenues. Angel investment often gives the startup more credibility through association with their angel investors along with giving the angel investor credibility through association with investment in successful startups. Angel investment is often time consuming and difficult to obtain but may be a good option for startups to receive funding, often large amounts of funding, if they are willing to exchange equity for investment and meet additional terms of investment.


Resource Box:

Kristen Gaul, RVT, VTS(ECC) is the founder of My Pet’s Care, LLC and is an experienced Registered Veterinary Technician and a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care. Kristen is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as the article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Kristen Gaul.

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Lending Benefits of Business Incubators

What does lending benefits have to do with business incubators? Well, business incubators are set up to offer assists with business plans, financial pro formas, workspace and can also provide lending for startup and existing ventures.

Business incubators are organizations geared to helping start-up and existing business. A business incubator can provide capital, offers advice, provides services, and space for clients looking to start a small business or needs help to expand an existing business. Usually, a business incubator is used to accelerate business growth and strengthen locally owned businesses. Essential features may include assistance with rental space, computer labs, capital, advice, and support services.

Sectors that can benefit from an Incubator are construction, manufacturing, information technology, professional, scientific, technical, management of companies and enterprises, arts, entertainment, recreation, biotechnology and other services. There is a network of entrepreneurs and linkages to economic development resources. Having a network of entrepreneurs, community planning and development teams, Chamber of Commerce, local universities and community colleges, and other local sources like SBTDC and SBA’s housed at one central location can be beneficial to entrepreneurs.

Being able to go to a physical location that is a business incubator offers entrepreneurial needs and benefits, plus it can have additional resources such as a desk, computer lab, meeting spaces, a break room with coffee and snack machines. The business incubator offers entrepreneurs with a rental office space without having to invest rent or leasing space. They can provide a desk, conference room, classroom, a private desk or office for a monthly or weekly fee. Having these options available plus having the tools near them start their business up can help save on overhead cost.

Although business incubators usually have standard monthly rates and additional charges to have a working space private or social meeting areas. These costs are minimal compared to having to purchase all the office equipment and rental space to start a business that may not need a storefront right away. Other necessities incubators assist with are making business decisions that can help an entrepreneur when they are making life considerations to what type of industry they are thinking about starting and if they are ready to take the leap. They can also help in financial projections, help develop a marketing plan, offer printer, copier and fax resources, help promote your business with networking and social media tools, provide training to help get your business website up and running, also help you find legal business attorneys, business insurance, business and commercial lending services, and certified accounting professionals (CPA’s).

Resource Box:
Sabrina S. Arch is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Enterprise Development Specialist, and is interested in helping others. Sabrina is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Sabrina S. Arch. Visit her website at

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Grooming an Entrepreneur

When you ask a child what would they like to be when they grow up, you often hear repetitive answers such as a doctor, teacher, astronaut, athlete, lawyer, and actor.  But how often do you hear a child say they would like to be an entrepreneur.

Why is this?  Does the term entrepreneur sound unexciting or lacking prestige?

Is it as appealing as broccoli or squash to a child?  Is the visual promotion of entrepreneurship to children scarce?

It is typical and popular to see parents grooming their children to become actors and athletes starting at the age of two but how popular is it for a parent to groom their child to become an entrepreneur?  They want their child to become the next Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Angelina Joile or Jake Gyllenhaal.  However, rarely will you find parents who want their child to become the next Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Earvin Magic Johnson, or Sara Blakely. And even more so rarely to find parents grooming their child to become an entrepreneur at the age of two.

I am a mother of three, who is currently navigating through the forest of entrepreneurship.  My six-year-old son, often asks me, “Mom, how come you are not a teacher?”  I tell him it is because I am an entrepreneur.   I receive a blank stare followed by being asked the same question again with eyes hopeful of a different response.

Because of this question accompanied with a blank stare, I have decided to let my children accompany me on my journey to entrepreneurship.  Although most of my work is currently non-tangible, I will try to create a visual in which they can comprehend. I have created a tentative child entrepreneur grooming plan in which I will practice with my children. The primary goal of my plan is to encourage them to establish analyzation, communication, creativity and leadership skills.  While my children are not required to choose entrepreneurship as a career, I do feel that developing and practicing analyzation, communication, creativity and leadership skills will serve helpful in any profession they may choose.

How to groom an entrepreneur:


  • Consult with them regarding decisions that need to be made. The next time you make a business decision, present the situation to your child and ask them what would they do. Also, they may provide a new insight to the situation at hand.
  • Share unsuccessful moments. By sharing unsuccessful moments, children can understand that every profession is not always glamorous.  Also, this would be an excellent opportunity to brainstorm possible solutions. In addition to brainstorming options, allow them to brainstorm how they can help or contribute.


  • Discuss daily events. Just as we ask our children ‘how was your day,’ parents should share the events of their day as well.  Addressing both the high and low points of entrepreneurship while practicing communication skills.


  • Bring, or include, your children to work as often as possible. Let them see what being an entrepreneur is like first hand. The more they are exposed to such an environment they better they will be able to understand it.
  • Identify entrepreneurship opportunities in things they already have an interest.


  • Allow them to ‘be the boss’ for a day. Placing a child in an opportunity to lead reinforces confidence and creativity.

While entrepreneurship may not be for everyone, being exposed to and practicing analyzation, communication, creativity, and leadership skills are essential and useful tools which may be transferred and implemented in any career path.



Tanisha C. Smoot is an entrepreneur undergoing the grooming process. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Tanisha C. Smoot


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Innovation or Invention

There are a multitude of ingredients that go into the entrepreneurial mix and it’s important to discern each of them individually. Two ingredients in particular share a distinct parallel yet are commonly interpreted as one in the same: invention and innovation. On one hand, the similarities between the two involve critical thinking and development for solutions to unsolved problems; on the other hand, innovation can happen without inventing, but not the other way around. To invent something is to create a totally new product for its first debut generation. When we find ways to improve this new product with enhanced features, better design, or any number of progressive changes for subsequent generations, that’s innovation.

If innovation is about improving products and making them new again, shouldn’t that be considered inventing as well? Technically, no. Take a look at Apple’s new wireless headphones, AirPods. The new and highly innovative AirPods are a game changer for the way we listen to music, take phone calls, and even source information from Apple’s beloved AI, Siri. Imagine never having to untangle a wire or plug a cord into your phone again just to use your headphones. AirPods are practically our closest form of sorcery and, quite frankly, they have been a long time coming. Bluetooth technology was invented during the millennium and yet it has taken until 2016 for Bluetooth headphones to go mainstream. Wired headphones and microphones have been around for generations. What I’m trying to say is that while AirPods are a groundbreaking piece of technology, they are a product of immaculate innovation derived from a melting pot of previous inventions.

Innovation works in a market cycle where quarterly deadlines dictate product improvements that become available to the public. Improvement, however, is a questionable concept to product design because it would imply that solutions are being found for consumer problems. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? It’s not uncommon for companies to focus more on the exciting new product and its unlimited potential – leading to a “black hole” of addressing problems that don’t exist – instead of approaching innovation from a consumer standpoint. In an article from Innovation Management on critical approaches to successful innovation, Venkatakrishnan Balasubramanian developed the 5 Dimensions of Framework for Conceptualizing an Idea:

  1. Competitive advantage
  2. Business alignment
  3. Customers
  4. Execution
  5. Business value

These five dimensions share a mutual alignment between new inventions and innovations. Instilling a key element in your new creation or improvement that’s not on the market yet is a straightforward approach to getting ahead of your competition. Make sure your creation or improvement correlates with the direction of your company to paint a future perception. Understanding your customer and target market is one of the most critical values to discerning the future design of your products. Executing your idea with outstanding service to the market throughout production and distribution is a strategy that retains customer satisfaction and loyalty. Finally, mapping out a plan for revenues, market share profits and cost structure that complements the ethical image of your enterprise will be a reputable way to gain consumer trust.

Understanding the differences between invention and innovation and how that can apply to your ideas is a counterpoint to writing a business plan. Instead of exhausting all effort into a masterpiece idea, try taking it slow and build a business around a generational product. Invent something simplified and leave lots of room for improvement. Innovation can be applied from any angle you choose.




Kelley, Tom. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. 1st Ed. New York: Currency/Doubleday, 2001.

Grasty, Tom. The Huffington Post. The Difference Between “Invention” and “Innovation.” 2012.

Balasubramanian, Venkatakrishnan. Innovation Management. Five Dimensions to Conceptualize Your Idea to Make it a Successful Innovation. 2012.


Trevor Ottaway is a rising entrepreneur and the sole proprietor of Sunsational Rentals, a vacation rental company for beach equipment and cottage needs on Topsail Island. He is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Trevor Ottaway.

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Content Marketing for your Small Business

Posting great content is the key to marketing your business and engaging customers on social media.  Just having a profile on multiple Social Media sites isn’t enough to keep followers engaged or attract new customers. To get and hold people’s attention, you need to post new, trending and engaging content consistently.
You’ve probably heard that your social media content should NOT be all promotional for your product or service. Mix it up! Have a variety of different content about a wide range of subjects.  So, what do you talk about across your Social Media Channels, if you aren’t supposed to sell, sell, sell? Try these topics, put your twist on them.

1. Company: Give insight to your business. If people are coming to your pages to learn about who you are and what you do, then some background information is a great place to start. Give your audience a better sense of what’s going on with your business and why they should be your followers.

  1. Behind the Scenes Photos
  2. Staff Showcase
  3. Testimonials
  4. Product Photos and Videos
  5. Business awards and accomplishments
  6. Business News – what’s new?
  7. Product tutorials
  8. Music Playlist – do you play music in your office? Showcase what you are listening to so your followers can appreciate your taste in music.
  9. Company #tbt – Throw Back Thursdays are always fun! Share a photo from when your business was just getting started. Let your followers see how far you’ve come.

2. Audience Engagers: Social Media allows you to interact with a broad audience of customers and potential customers directly. Ask your followers to be engaged, start up a two-way conversation and let your customers know you are listening.

  1. Fill in the blanks: My favorite product is___________ or If I had a Million dollars I would ___________ (Be creative)
  2. Ask Questions
  3. Hold Contests
  4.  Either or Debate: Everyone loves to share their opinion. Get people to weigh in using an either-or debate. Ask them a question about your company (think this product over that product) or about something that’s trending.
  5. Audience Photos: Did your followers/customers attend a meeting/event, ask to see these types of pictures.

3. Business | Industry: Many people like to follow the 80-20 posting ratio. You should post about other stuff 80% of the time and only 20% about you. Show what you know and how your followers can learn from you.

  1. Industry News: Post a link to a news article that is related to what you do. Set up Google Alerts using relevant keywords.
  2. Infographic: What do people share the most? Images, yes. Images are an effective social media content ideas –, especially regarding shares. Share some helpful information about your business, field, or industry by posting or creating your infographics.
  3. Books: Read any good books lately? Will these help your customers/followers? Share, they’ll probably love your reading list too.
  4. Share your LinkedIn Groups: Many groups on LinkedIn are a great source of industry/business related info. If you find interesting information share the link with your social media followers so they can join too.
  5. Weekly Roundup: Create a top 5 or top 10 list of business news, announcements and anything else you find to be awesome! Share this on a regular schedule will have your followers checking your pages’ week after week to get it. Think This week in……..
  6. Promote your Partner: Do you have other businesses or professionals that help you get business done? Someone that provides you parts or promotes your services? Plug them into your Social Media strategy by linking their websites or social channels. Ask others to promote your business too.

4. Re purposed Content: Already have content? Re purposing and promoting existing content is an excellent way to fill your news feeds and deliver your message to newer audiences.

  1. Blog Posts: Do you have a blog?
  2. Re-share an old post: Find a previous social media post that performed well, and re-share it. Chances are your new audience hasn’t seen it.
  3. Share Promotional Videos: If you’ve created and uploaded promotional videos on YouTube, share those on your social media channels.

5. Entertainment: Sometimes you just need to have a little fun to get your followers engaged.

  1. Memes: Everyone loves a good Meme (you know the funny images with text).
  2. Inspirational Quotes: We all can use a little more positivity in our lives. Humorous, inspiring or motivational quotes always perform well.
  3. Funny YouTube Videos: Find a video that makes you laugh, then share it with your followers, so that they can laugh too!
  4. Posts that show you’re human: Putting a personal face on a company helps people relate. Share occasional posts from your own, non-work life: cute photos from vacations, meals you ate, etc.
  5. Holiday Celebrations: Every day is a holiday! Help your followers enjoy each day!
  6. Support a Cause: Share what you is important to you, not only for business but in life too.
  7. Share a joke: Laughter is the best medicine, right? Share a laugh or an ecard with your fans.

Christina Williams is the owner of Savvy Tech Consulting, an Entrepreneur, a public speaker, Microsoft Office Specialist, Graduate School Student and a Social Media Enthusiast. Christina is a computer consultant/educator who trains small business owners to use Social Media to enhance their digital business footprint. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Christina M Williams, Savvy Tech Consulting

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Suggestions for Creating a More Organized and Productive Lifestyle

At the start of a new year it is often tradition to compile a list of resolutions. Some are simple things but others are personally challenging. For example, I am in the process of starting an in-home pet care business. I have been in the planning stages for several years but I’ve been afraid to actually put my ideas out there and finally start my business. Over the last year I realized that my daily habits, or lack-there-of, were the main reasons I wasn’t making my business happen. I’m really good at making lists of things I need to do and I am very aware of all the steps I need to take to make everything happen, I just haven’t been as organized or productive as I need to be. Perhaps resolutions should not be a once a year tradition but a year round lifestyle change to ensure organization and productivity.

Based on my personal life, here are a couple of my suggestions for creating a more organized and productive lifestyle. Instead of sleeping in on your days off, wake up and get ready as if you were going to work. Once you are awake and ready spend an hour or more working on completing tasks that need to be done, such as, clean or organize a room or space in your house or garage, plan out the coming weeks meals or even pre-prep meals, run errands that you may have been putting off, or work on projects for your work or business. This extra hour of work won’t take much time away from your day but you will notice how much more you can accomplish by making this a habit.

Another suggestion to ensure you work on your to do list is to get a planner or calendar and actually schedule or plan out everything you need to do in the next days, weeks or even months. This may mean that you write a task for a certain day, schedule a task for a certain time or plan out the order of everything you need to complete on a certain day. This will help keep you organized, stay focused and enable you to better prepare for upcoming tasks.

These suggestions are not major life changes but they will make a huge impact on your organization and productivity. For me, making these things a habit for the past few months has allowed me to finally get my business out of the planning phase and it is now open and growing. Had I not made these changes I may have continued to be in the planning phase for a few more years. I believe these suggestions can help anyone determined to follow through with their resolutions by creating a more organized and productive lifestyle.


Kristen Gaul, RVT, VTS(ECC) is the founder of My Pet’s Care, LLC and is an experienced Registered Veterinary Technician and a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care. Kristen is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as the article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Kristen Gaul.

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Why Entrepreneurship is the Ideal Career Choice for Millennials

If you have ever taken a second to look at the founders and creators of your favorite businesses and brands, you will find that many are under the age of 34. Even in my local community, the entrepreneurial landscape is thriving with twenty and thirty-somethings all out to create a future for themselves. I plan to join the ranks of being an entrepreneur. When asked why I wish to do so, I have realized it was never really a choice for me, but a notion that was always there, a trait that was embedded within in somehow long before I knew it was there. This, then, begs the question; why are so many Millennials flocking to entrepreneurship as a career choice?

What is a Millennial?

To answer why Millennials are choosing a life in entrepreneurship, you first have to know what a Millennial is. There aren’t set start and end years for this generation, but the consensus typically places this group at being born in the 1980’s and 1990’s, coming to early adulthood in the early 2000’s. A business dictionary defines Millennials (or Generation Y) as such, adding that it consists of the offspring of the Baby boomers (Generation X, and that having access to technology at an early age has not only forced businesses to incorporate use and updates of technology at a faster rate, but also to update hiring strategies. So, how Millennials view the workplace and a career?

Millennials Behavior Towards Careers

Needy, entitled, arrogant, overly relaxed, are many of the terms you’ll find used to describe the Millennial generation, and in all fairness, they can be true, but what I think the more seasoned workforce veterans perceive as negative attributes could be a misunderstanding of what each generation is looking for in their lives and a career.

Jeff Fromm, Forbes contributor and author of “Millennials in the Workplace: They do not Need Trophies, but They Want Reinforcement” learned the average tenure for Millennials was only two years, while the average for Baby Boomers was seven, with Generation X decreasing that to about five years. In the same article, Fromm explains the cause for this low retention rate to Millennials putting the focus on growth. If growth does not seem evident to a Millennial, they have no problems changing jobs to get it.

Why Millennials Rather Forge Their Own Path

Fromm shares that Millennials growing up in an era where resources are virtually infinite, have gained and embraced an entrepreneurial mindset that allows them to always be on the hunt for opportunities. MindTickle, exploring  the “10 Millennial Personality Traits HR Managers Can’t Ignore”, listed number one on their list Millennials’ need to find a job or career that has “meaning”, with a Fast Company article uncovering that to include: having the ability to share their gifts, making an impact on other’s lives, and living a life they desire. Millennials have also had the privilege of growing up with role models who are entrepreneurs, allowing the idea of starting a business the expected logical thing to do, rather than an exception. (

Millennials Traits

So, what traits do Millennials have that makes entrepreneurship an appealing career choice and a successful one?

For starters Millennials are an open and collaborative bunch. I believe this is primarily from growth into adulthood with social media. Being willing to share and receive feedback from peers allows Millennials to naturally transition into a transformational leadership style that is key to successful innovation, a skill needed for corporations and entrepreneurs alike to thrive.

Jim Moffat, Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting, in his article “The Seven Positive Qualities of Millennials That Can Help You Improve Your Business” found Millennials to be motivated, natural leaders and innovators, thinking of innovation as a science, while also noting our inherited entrepreneurial spirit aiding in our ability to build a business.

Will Millennials be the Best Entrepreneurs Yet?

It is hard to determine, but the tools and mindset of a Millennial might make it possible. With the focus being placed on growth and opportunity, and business role models fashioned after entrepreneurs the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs. Big ideas coupled with the impatience of a career to reach them is what drives a Millennial and what makes a career in entrepreneurship a perfect choice.

Darius Thompson is an aspiring entrepreneur, and one of the needy Millennials described above. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Darius S. Thompson

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Best Friends Forever: Working With Chinese Suppliers

Recently, I began a business specializing in toys and games. I had some great ideas on branding and product creation, but I had no idea where to start looking for someone to make my products. I can’t get anybody to play my games or be entertained by my toys if I have none, right? So I began some research through podcasts, blogs, and YouTube videos; focusing on small business owners who shared their journey from beginning to present. It is that I trust them more than a well-known magazine or website… I’m not a big fan of people faking information for financial gain. I learned many ways I could begin manufacturing my products and after weeks of negotiations, guess where I found a supplier? China!

The negotiation process is pretty straight forward: they offer you a price, you haggle because the price is too high, they say that’s their best offer, you say you’re walking away from the deal, then they come down on the price. Only, that’s the American way to negotiate. The one thing American business owners fail to realize is that Chinese culture is not the same as American culture. Working with a Chinese manufacturer is much like courting someone in a dating relationship. You start off with the preliminary “hello” and exchange of basic information. Later on you share information about yourself, but you also ask the other person many questions and learn more about their personality, interests, and aspirations. If things go well then you try a first date, and another, and so on, hopefully building a deep and lasting bond.  Perhaps this even leads to marriage (like the dating sites advertise).  The Chinese need to be nurtured in a similar way because they place much of their business risk in relationships, not price.

Claria Muriel Ruano writes a blog called Foreign Entrepreneurs in China. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics in Spain and an MBA in Europe and works in the export department for her company. She has 12 years’ experience in the field, where several years were spent in China. In her blog, there was an article posted called, “36 Tips on How to Deal or Negotiate with your Chinese Suppliers”, and I’d like to focus on two of those 36 tips. Number 14 states, “The best way to do business in China is face-to-face. Technology is great, but I do not think it is the way Chinese people are wired to work.” While going to China and meeting with a supplier is not always going to be an option, this illustrates how important personal relationships are to Chinese business partners. Number 36 reads, “… Your Chinese supplier sees the contract as the ‘beginning’ of the relationship.” This tip definitively informs the reader that business dealings are thought of as relationships, so treat your supplier in the same way you would treat those in your personal relationships.

In my experience so far, in dealing with Chinese suppliers, courtesy and respect are a must in every individual form of communication. A compliment, apology, formal salutation, thank you, or anything of that nature needs to be included in your communication… it will definitely be in theirs! The more active you are in getting to know your point of contact, the more willing they will be to just discount the price without you even having to ask. Here in America, when we are trying to sell something, we usually have two prices: “the price” and “the friend/family price.” If you treat your supplier like they are a real human being, and not like a computer haggling machine, you will find yourself getting the “friend price” more often than not.

It all boils down to respect and integrity. We’ve all heard that Americans have a bad reputation across the globe. This is because our culture is vastly different than many other cultures in the world. We aren’t rude, we’re just American. Be conscious of this when dealing with Chinese suppliers, respect their culture, and your worries about dealing with Chinese suppliers may be reduced drastically!

Ruano, Clara Muriel. “36 Tips on How to Deal or Negotiate you’re your Chinese Suppliers.” ForeignEntrepreneursInChina, 11 Feb. 2011, Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.

Phillip Wiseman is a Management Trainee at one of the largest automotive retailers in the world and earned that position due to his undergraduate studies in Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Phillip Wiseman.

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