4 Tips to Keep in Mind When Starting a Business [Guest Post]

[Guest post courtesy of James Smith, co-founder of James+James. Scroll to the bottom to learn more about James and James+James.]

Twenty-two months ago I was unemployed. Today, I’m blessed with co-owning a furniture manufacturing company called James+James. Currently, James+James has over 17 full-time employees and has sold products in over 30 states and it’s still growing! My college friend James and I started the business in my garage and it has been one heck of a ride so far.

I was honored when Lawson asked me to pen a post about what I believe has been the main contributing factors to our continued growth. While I look forward to writing more in the future about our specific online and social strategies, I thought it best to start at a higher, less tactical level. With that in mind, here are four important tips to keep in mind when starting a business:  Read more of this post

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The Entrepreneurial Race Part 1: Getting to the Track

 

Cobra_28

This is the first post in the “Entrepreneurial Race” series. Click here to read Part 2: Picking a Pit CrewPart 3: On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!, and Part 4: Getting Sponsors.This blog post is adapted from a video lesson I did as a part of middle school entrepreneurship curriculum being put together by the Enactus program at John Brown University. See a teaser of the video here

Start in the Garage

Owning a startup is a lot like owning a race car: you invest a lot of time and energy building the frame, outfitting it with the necessary parts, and deciding what trade offs to make between weight, performance, and cost. Of course, you also take a lot of pride in what you’re building and enjoy telling others about it whenever you can.

Just like any race car, you will never know how well your startup will perform until you get it out onto the track against other businesses. A race car in a garage is useless much like a business that stays in the idea and planning stages indefinitely.  Read more of this post

Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

 

...Hope...

Tragedy is never something that we look forward to, especially when it is unexpected. Whether it is a personal tragedy or one that affects a whole community, often our first instinct is to shrink back, ask questions, and lose hope.

This weekend, a young lady passed away at my alma mater. It is one of several tragic events that have happened in the Siloam community over the past six years that I’ve lived here. In a small community like JBU or Siloam Springs, everyone is affected to some degree. People always deal with suffering caused by these events in different ways.

What should be the Christian’s response in times like these? Read more of this post

The Tale of Two Dorm Rooms: The Lack of Authenticity in America

Building out of the norm....

During my senior year of high school, I visited several colleges and universities across the country during my “college search.” At each one, I met with admissions counselors, sat in on classes, and took campus tours. Many of the campus tours included visiting (or staying the night in) a dorm room.

On one particular college visit, the other prospective students and I on the campus tour were taken not into an actual dorm room dwelt in by actual students, but into a “model dorm room.” This room (much like the one pictured above) was setup to look like an actual dorm room: not only did it have desks, chairs, beds, etc; it also had a wall posters, tshirts hanging in the closet, toiletries on the counter, and even an open textbook with notes written in a notebook. Basically, it was setup to look like students lived there, but no one actually did. It was all staged.  Read more of this post

College Reflections: Advice

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. The first two posts were about my experiences with School and Church. This final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

I’d like to wrap up my College Reflections series with some advice that I have learned over the past four years.

  1. Prioritize: One of the hardest things for college students (and people in general) to do is prioritize things. Freshmen show up at JBU and instantly are presented with a plethora of activities, clubs, and friends to connect with and get involved in. As a result, many fill their schedules with 25 hours of activities in a 24-hour day. In order to really get the most out of the four years in college, it is important for each person to get his or her priorities. Of course, school/homework should come first for all students (if you don’t do well in school, you won’t be at school, and won’t be able to do any of the other stuff). Behind that, each person needs to decide what is most important and what they feel like will be the most fulfilling. For me, the list of priorities was school, church, internship at Harvard Avenue Baptist, internship at the Arkansas World Trade Center, JBUltimate club frisbee team, and everything else. Setting priorities makes it much easier to say “no” to certain things, prevents becoming overcommitted, and makes college even more enjoyable.    Read more of this post

College Reflections: Church

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. During the next few days, I will be reflecting on different aspects of my time in college, namely School, Church, and Work. The final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

Looking back over the past four years, probably one of the best decisions that I made while at John Brown University was to get involved in a local church. Not only have I made some great memories and met some incredible people, but I have matured a lot in my spiritual life as well. My college experience would have been much different had I not gotten plugged into the local church.

Read more of this post

College Reflections: School

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. During the next few days, I will be reflecting on different aspects of my time in college, namely School, Church, and Work. The final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

I arrived at John Brown University four short years ago driving a white Jeep full of furniture, clothing, and other items to outfit suite 18C in the J. Alvin dorm. A lot has happened in the four years following that day. As I prepare to pack up my Dodge Avenger in a few weeks and drive off into the sunset, I decided it would be a good time to reflect on some of the things that have occurred during my time at JBU.

Read more of this post

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