Students Experience a Day in the Life of Business

More than 20 students spent the morning of October 26th with local business and organization representatives learning the ins and outs of what it takes to run a successful business.  Experiences ranged from learning about the hotel business to running your own coaching business.  Students and business representatives then came together at KeyPoint Credit Union for a luncheon provided by Entrees Unlimited.  The luncheon speaker was Larry Kubo, Managing Partner of 1st Wave Marketing Group. His talk, “Starting Up Your Career(s)/Lessons from New Ventures,” highlighted the changes he’s seen in his career. He shared with the group that the average person will have an average of 11 jobs over their lifetime (based on statistics for Baby Boomers).  He also shared four lessons from start-up businesses that apply to anyone in their career:

1. The road to success is seldom straight – it’s full of all kinds of turns.  He explained that if you don’t fall down, you won’t understand failure and ultimately won’t be able to succeed.  As an example, he talked about the up and down successes/failures that Paul Orfalea had when starting and running Kinko’s over more than 30 years in business.  He encouraged the attendees to stay open to new opportunities and be ready to adapt.

2. Ordinary people and ideas can achieve remarkable success.  Larry shared with the group some statistics from the Inc. 500 list:  63% of the founders on the list come from middle class backgrounds, 48% have a 4-year college degree, and 71% of their ideas were derived from previous employment, in other words, unmet needs.

3. Trust Yourself.  He talked about the founder of Ubiquiti Networks, Robert Pera.  Starting in 2005, Mr. Pera created WiFi Internet broadcast systems for developing countries.  By funding his venture first through his stock options and credit cards, he was able to create the prototype and then find a manufacturer in Taiwan to bring it to market.  In 2010 he received venture capitalist funding, and in 2011 he took his company public.

4. Know your stuff – value people.  Larry told the group the story of Chobani Yogurt and how they went from their first shipment of yogurt on one milk truck a day, with 200 cases a week of their yogurt to 75 trucks/day and 1.5 million cases per week.  He shared their philosophy:  Know what you do better than anybody else; be real-you can’t fool customers; and set an example-respect your workers (Hamdi Ulukaya, owner of Chobani, worked every part of his business, so he understands what his employees are doing).  Larry reminded the group that your success (no matter what business) depends on people.

Larry advised the attendees to be ready for change and to trust their instincts.  He wrapped up his talk with a quote from Bruce Bochy, Manager of the San Francisco Giants, after his team won the 2010 World Series:  “It’s not what happens; it’s what you do about it.”

We would like to thank the following companies and organizations for their support of Business Experience Day 2012:  ActionCOACH of Santa Clara, American Airlines, Biltmore Hotel & Suites Silicon Valley, City of Santa Clara/City Manager’s Office, City of Santa Clara/Fire Department, City of Santa Clara/Police Dept., Entrees Unlimited, Hilton Santa Clara, Intel, Kaiser Permanente, KeyPoint Credit Union, Marvell Semiconductor, New Valley High School, Pizza Party, Pomeroy Elementary, San Francisco 49ers, Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitors Bureau, Santa Clara High School, Santa Clara Unified School District, Santa Clara Unified School District/Information Technology Group, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Swinerton Builders, The Mlnarik Law Group, Inc., The UPS Store #4636, UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley, Wilcox High School, Wilson High School, and XCEO, Inc.

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