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What should be the main focus of students majoring in Business-management, in hopes to start a business that can change the world, but in a good way?

I do not want to get out of college and work for someone but I do not want to start a simple day to day business that does not do anything for the good. I want to start something that employs those that need jobs, those that are struggling to get back on there feet not to bring these people down
#respectablebusinessmatters #business #management

Hi Sade - I love your question too! A goal of running your own business that adds value and gives back to the world is a noble endeavor. With that said, it may be a difficult task to pull off right out of college, unless you have funding lined up and a clear business plan. If that's the case, you might consider working for a non-profit or similar type of agency for a few years, to build experience, build your skillset, and network. If you can find a job you are passionate about, you can give to it while you are learning all you can in preparation of your eventual goal of running your own business. Lisa Black

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Derik’s Answer

If you want to start and operate your own business, regardless of who it's serving, you'll need to have a well-rounded business education. You'll need to understand how to create a business plan, find financing for your company, market and sell your products or services, as well as how to operate your business (e.g. finance, accounting, HR, business law, operations, etc). If your school has programs or classes in entrepreneurship, that's a good place to start.

Given your particular focus on building a business that gives back to the community, I'd encourage you to do a web search on "social entrepreneurship". You'll find a lot of information about people, programs and articles associated with this idea of wanting to build a business that solves a societal problem. Models for social enterpreneurship range from non-profit to for-profit organizations, with hybrid models in between.

Spending some time researching social entrepreneurship and learning about how other people have approached creating companies that solve needs in the communities around them, would be a good place to start. In addition to a lot of the articles that have been written on the topic, you'll find there are organizations & programs designed to support social entrepreneurship, like the Schwab Foundation (schwabfound.org). Some colleges and universities have created social entrepreneurship programs, like Standford's Program on Social Entrepreneurship (http://cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu/docs/program-social-entrepreneurship#2), and there are online courses like Coursera's Social Enterpreneurship Specialization (https://www.coursera.org/specializations/social-entrepreneurship-cbs). I'd also encourage you to search for and learn about organizations in your community already serving people who are looking for jobs and trying to get back on their feet. Volunteering with these organizations would be a great way to find out what's already being done, and more importantly, to identify what potential unmet needs or opportunities exist for which you can create a solution -- which is at the heart of any entrepreneurial endeavor.

With this idea of social entrepreneurship in mind, in addition to business and entrepreneurship classes, consider taking classes from other disciplines as well, like non-profit management, public administration, or social work to provide exposure to the unique challenges and opportunities associated with the non-profit or hybrid side of social businesses; as well as with the tools, techniques and challenges associated with helping people get back on their feet.

Derik recommends the following next steps:

Explore classes in other related disciplines like non-profit management, public administration, and social work
Explore what entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship programs and/or classes are available at your school, nearby schools, or online
Research social entrepreneurship - learn about it, people who've done it, and the resources and programs designed to support social entrepreneurs

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David’s Answer

I would recommend that you connect with like-minded people. Often the best ways to do that is either through an internship or starting at a company who shares your values. Getting this experience will be invaluable to helping you understand where the needs are that you could address with the company that you want to start.

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FNU’s Answer

Hey Sade,

I loved your question. Young minds that want to move forward in their career by helping others is what we need in this world. Definitely put a smile on my face. For that matter, to start any business, you would need a well rounded business exposure. Jot down a list of business that you are interested in and align with helping others as well.

FNU recommends the following next steps:

Talk to your professors in college and make a list of all the businesses that you are interested in.
Do market research on these businesses, competition, market value, how much investment will you need etc.
Be organized, and focussed towards the goal. Dont lose heart or your aim if you fail. Failures are the pillars of success.
Talk to any present business owners that you know of, what advice they can tell you, pros and cons of these businesses. Start making rounds to your local businesses, maybe write a research paper for this as well for extra credit. Good luck! :)

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G. Mark’s Answer

The best way you can do this is to look at it from the other point of view. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must find a problem to solve. While you could sit for years trying to come up with some new product or service that would be a hit with customers, problems that need solving are just about everywhere. And once you find them, you'll do research and investigation. The reason is that almost every problem has either had a solution or there is usually a solution for a problem very much like it. The key is in applying those solutions in a different way. Change the setting, change the people, the material, the timing, the situation.... Over 80% of innovations are applying known principles from other fields. Once you've decided on the problem to solve and you've decided people are interested enough in getting that solution, you'll be on your way to changing the world. And since you're already majoring in business management and will likely have a good handle on business principles, you've got the winning combination. Just focus on solving a problem for someone first.

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Joshua T.N’s Answer

As you grow older, you should take a class on design thinking or User centered Design activity class where you will create new ideas or products/services based on user needs.  Do a google search and watch youtube on design thinking. Mesmerize yourself learning how other big branded companies like Pepsi, Amazon, Google started creating and recreating their distinct products and services

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Eula’s Answer

Dear Sade,

Your concerns are understandable and your intentions are noble.
Service to people, especially those at the lower tiers of society, is a way to help stabilize economies and social imbalances. Seems to me like causes in Social Justice might be an area of interest to you.
There are many. Here's a starter. Movie The Zeitgeist Movie :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2FPZrbYWK0 ( A little strong for some, and heart wrenching )

Many millennials want to find meaningful purpose in their work life. Something that serves their personal convictions as well.
Nothing is more frustrating that working in an environment that does not align with your values or seems to serve an unworthy purpose.

And given the state of our planet and global concerns of the future, it is very encouraging to see this development.
You are smart in your desire to complete your studies in business you will need skills in finance, human resources as well as technical skills and be able to understand human development and each one's individual interests and aptitudes. Search concept that speak to your heart, whatever they might be.
Self Awareness is the portal to self discovery.
Also insight into what causes displacement of people in the workforce, competition, technology taking over human work activities, and also cultural and regional barriers to employment, social barriers and stigma as well.

the good news is that people abound. There are 7 billion of them roaming the planet, you will be in business forever in your quest to better the world.

Its a matter of choice of where to start and what cause to take on.
Poverty, and serving the under privileged, Underemployment or the unemployed, legislation and legal defense protecting laborers. Under Education, tackling fair and unfair practices and competition.
Breaking stigma against the unemployed. Affordable Housing. Fund raising, Activism.

Those that are struggling to get back on there feet need dignity before anything else. Meaning how is your ego ? is it in check? Can you find worth in all people, also those of so called 'lower social fortunes'?

Also at what tiers of social levels are you willing to serve and what can you bear?
Do you prefer to work in an office or on site in the slums of India?
Do you have ability to persuade and change minds in favor of your cause?
Can you help restore broken lives from broken families?
Are you a patient person? Can you listen well and attentively?

I hope I have given you some points to consider and to start you of in the direction of your future.

My company too strives to better the world. We do it one home at the time.
Please let me know if this helps. OK?

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Edward’s Answer

What you need to be aware of as a business management major (as opposed a specialized business major like supply chain, accounting, or management of information systems) is that the knowledge is very general. It is important to realize that the management major does not have its own defined career path and that you will have to make your own.

It's important while you are in college to not just try to get through your classes, but to spend time thinking on what you want to do after your degree. You should be considering either specific roles and/or industries that you are interested in. Learning specific skill sets and background on industries you are interested in (who are the big companies, who are their customers, what is their business model) will help you to define a path for yourself as a business management major.

If you want to start your own business, you should be thinking about what type of business, working on a business plan, learning about the applicable regulations and licenses, etc. It takes a team to run most businesses so networking with people, especially those who have skills that you lack, will be critical to future success.

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Kathy’s Answer

As a business executive with over 35 years of experience I am at the end tail end of my career. I have one of the best educations that money can buy, including an MBA from a top 5 school. I got these degrees because I wanted to run companies, and in hindsight, I wish I had approached my early studies and career - like you are - with more purpose-oriented career in mind. There are lots of people out there with business degrees who can help you run your business. But there are not enough of us out there with the passion of purpose to make change happen. So, I would like to offer some advice as food for thought.

  • What is it what most interests you? Health, financial security, homelessness, hunger, political oppression, the environment? Consider a degree in economics or health policy or international studies or environmental studies. You will likely be able to take several business courses along with these degrees.
  • What are the greatest needs / where are the needs greatest? In order to answer these questions you will want to take every opportunity you can to volunteer or intern with organizations like Feed My Starving Children, Habitat for Humanity, Doctors without Borders, and the like. Travel to the ends of the world to learn first hand not just what the problems are and where they are, but WHY.

I genuinely believe that this is how you will find your passion, and that passion will naturally lead you to your goal of building a business to help others by solving the problems you have first hand knowledge of. As one of your advisers already noted, businesses grow out of solving problems.

And once you have your idea, call me. I'll help you run it, and I'll bet you will find a long list of other people willing to help you too!

Kathy recommends the following next steps:

Target your studies to the specific interests
Work with organizations who are already involved with helping solve the world's problems and learn from them.
Travel and volunteer as often as you can.
Continue to network with professors and the leaders at the organizations you volunteer or intern with after your projects are completed. Keep in touch with classmates.
The rest will all be up to you!