By Kim Del Prado
When it comes to businesses in a high school setting, things can get difficult. During d.tech intersession, a class called “Found a Business” provided students an opportunity to make and run a business for two weeks in the hangar, while earning money. Each student’s grade depended on how well they ran their businesses, but not all were successful. So, what makes a high school business successful? Here’s what students said.
Trisha Chen, Junior
Business: Custom Art
Personal Gain: about $40
Hot tip: Have a unique product
Chen sold logos for businesses, profile images, and stickers. People were drawn in by how adorable the products were. She also did custom images, so people ended up getting exactly what they wanted. Business owners have to hope that their customers are willing to take a risk for their product.
Koby Kern, Junior
Business: Breakfast Items, Music
Personal Gain: $7
Hot Tip: Divide and Conquer Tasks (Have Better Teammates)
Kern didn’t have the most successful business, even though he had products that you’d think most people would buy. I mean, who doesn’t want French toast for lunch? He realized that his team had let him down, lounging around as he did all the work. During the two weeks, he had to make all the food himself, which cost him potential profit for that day. When having a business, the owner must have a team that they can rely on. Don’t pick your business partners because they are your friends. Pick people who work hard towards a shared goal.
Sofia Schofield, Junior
Business: Selling candy for charity
Personal Gain: Donated money; $180.58
Hot Tip: Perseverance
Schofield ran a business selling Easter eggs with treats inside them called “spring grams” as well as chocolate bars, delivered to classrooms. The proceeds were donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Carlos. Prior ideas included “Great Gatsby grams”, which are treats that to be given to people before the Gatsby-themed dance, however, they found that people only bought the Gatsby Grams for themselves, rather than for others. Schofield stated that, “Even though not all of our ideas worked, we learned from the different things we tried, and it helped us improve our business. We took risks by trying out different product ideas and marketing strategies. When ideas didn’t work, we learned from it and moved forward.” Taking the risk of trying out new things finding that they failed, is a huge bummer. However, you can’t just let a failed idea bring the whole business to the grave.
Wyatt Mathers: Junior
Business: Art, Baked Goods, Clothing
Personal Gain: about $70
Hot Tip: Adapt
This was junior, Wyatt Mathers’, second time in the class, and he a offered a diverse range of products. It included macarons, muffins, custom-designed t-shirts, drawings, stickers, and hoodies (all artwork was done by his partner). His product offerings drew people’s attention, but the price point was too high. When Mathers looked at what people were buying, he lowered the prices of the muffins and cookies as far they could go. Other businesses couldn’t afford to compete, and he ultimately sold more than 300 macarons.