Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hiring the Right Employee

Here at ManCans we just hired our first employee (excluding me and my parents). He is a older retired gentleman we know through my Grandpa. He has been interested in my business from the start, and he is someone we can trust to work at our shop alone. We interviewed several candidates, but he seemed most excited about working for ManCans and being a part of my business. The right employee isn't always someone you know personally. In fact, we knew him the least of any candidates for the position, but he was the most interested and willing to learn. Hiring a friend isn't always a great idea because if worst comes to worst, and their employment needs to be terminated, you should be able to fire them. Our new employee has taken over the duties of pouring the candles and mixing the wax, and also relieved alot of stress off my parents and I. He is a very innovative thinker who has brought a lot of real life knowledge to the company. Your employees aren't always the obvious choice of a friend, but someone who shows interest and excitement in what you are doing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Commitment to Your Business

     Starting and running a business requires a lot of dedication and commitment. I put in alot of time and hard work for my business, and ask any other business owner and they will tell you the same thing. I spend around two hours a night with my parents working on the business. I also spent three hours the Friday after Thanksgiving at a homeless shelter volunteering with a few other families who volunteered as a family tradition. These people give up their own time to help others even if they don't get anything out of it. They get the satisfaction of helping others. There are some who give there entire lives to helping others. A woman I met who worked at a homeless shelter said she didn't have a day of work off from Thanksgiving to December 27th. Another person I met has given his life to working at a soup kitchen for a much lower salary than he could be making. There are Men and Women in this world who are commited and have given there whole lives to helping make this world a better place. By starting your business, you can use your business to help your community and to help your world.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Don't Let Your Age Get In The Way

I have had several young entrepreneurs email me and ask how I got adults to take me seriously. I had problems with this at times, with stores not really listening to me when I was trying to sell my candles. After a few disappointments I learned when you act professionally and business like, you will be treated with respect and people will be interested in what you have to say. Your age can be an advantage though; it's what causes you to stand out and get the extra media attention that will get your business going. Here's some tips for being professional:
- dress appropriately, wear nice clothes and look good. It's ok to wear jeans and a nice shirt as long as no underwear are showing and you look put together.

- act confident, if you are mumbling and are unsure of yourself and your product, the adult will doubt you. Talk to them like you are the same age because you are on the same level in this business relationship. Don't behave disrespectfully though.

- leave a good impression with an owner. When you walk in, be sure to shake the owners hand. Make good eye contact and speak clearly. More often than not you won't have a deal when you leave the store. Give them contact information and don't be afraid to followup in a week or two. This will make you look good to the owner.

- Be organized. I have learned a lot about invoicing stores from store owners. They will see you as a professional if you keep a record of what they purchase and what they owe you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making Changes

It's been almost a year since I started ManCans and I haven't changed the product much until now. We are changing our label from our original brown paper wrapper to a more professional looking vinyl wrapper. It will include our same logo and warning label but will also include our new "One Candle,One Meal" motto. It will also be more efficient in the candle making process. We are trying to make a better quality product and are trying to cut down on spending. I have been considering this change for a long time and have decided this change is needed. I hope our new label improves our product while not changing our companies image.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marketing 101

On Sunday I spent most of my day making and labeling candles. I normally don't make the candles at home but we were making candles to send to the Wildlife Film Festival. We weren't making any money by selling these candles but we had a huge marketing opportunity. By sending 50 candles to people from National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and representatives from other companies, we could sell a lot of candles.

What I've learned is that when a marketing opportunity comes up, you can give up a little bit of product for the chance to sell a lot of products. I have had many marketing opportunities, and after looking over all of them have taken advantage of some, and declined others. Marketing is something everyone should have a plan for and when you have an opportunity discuss it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Balancing School and Business

 Ever since I started my business, ManCans, I have had trouble balancing it and school. In March, I had 1,400 orders in 48 hours because my candles were on news channels across the country, and this was on a WEDNESDAY! It was right in the toughest part of the school year and I was having around 3 tests a week. I started missing school to try to fill orders and to work at soup kitchens so I could have cans to make candles. I was up until 12:30 at night on a daily basis, when my bed time was normally 9. I was missing so much school, that my friends started expecting me not to be there. I started missing assignments and quizzes because of interviews. I was a nervous wreck. My teachers were supportive, but you could tell they were a little annoyed. I relied on Swim Team and Running to relieve my stress.
 By mid-April, I had found someone to make the candles and was back at school. My grades had suffered though and I lost my middle school 4.0 GPA because of an English assignment I'd missed on a day I had an interview. I made it through middle school ok, and everyone else at school thought my candles were really cool. I had lost my middle school GPA, but I had gained an experience that I would never forget.
 Anyone that gets caught in the same situation I did, don't be afraid to ask for help, whether it be asking parents or friends, and don't turn down anyone that is volunteering to help you. I have good friends that spent Saturdays with me making and labeling candles, and in return got candles of their own. Also don't forget to relax and be a kid every once in a while, your business can wait but being a kid can't. If you are having trouble at school with keeping up. ask a guidance counselor or a teacher for help or what they think you should do. Most of all though, enjoy the experience and satisfaction of owning a successful business.