Dr. Jeff Cornwall is the inaugural Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Dr. Cornwall's current research and teaching interests include entrepreneurial finance and entrepreneurial ethics.
Just who is the customer? This is a question that comes up in all corners of higher education. Is it the student? Is it their parents? Is it employers? Is it the community and the broader society?
As entrepreneur, this question leaves me more than a bit unsettled! After all, if I don’t know who my customer is, I have no chance of success in the market. How can I deliver what the customer really wants? How do I effectively communicate to the customer what I offer? How do I strategically set prices? How can I deliver the product or service to the customer the way they want it? None of this is possible if I am not really sure who is my customer.
Continue reading Who is the Customer in Higher Education?
Entrepreneurs need to be ready to pitch any time, anywhere.
Jake Jorgovan, an alumnus from Belmont’s Entrepreneurship program, is always ready to give his pitch.
“At the most random situations, I will find myself giving a pitch,” says Jorgovan. “Out at drinks with friends, or just out socializing and suddenly I run into someone who is a contact directly in the space that I am working in. It can catch you off guard sometimes, but you should have your elevator pitch prepared and not be afraid to deliver it anytime of day.” Continue reading Life’s a Pitch. Be Ready!
One of the greatest joys of my job is advising and mentoring the student and alumni entrepreneurs who come out of our program at Belmont.
Students take full advantage of my office hours for mentoring. Some come in with the seed of an idea, while others are actively growing their ventures even before they graduate. Continue reading Find Two Mentors
The number one goal for new entrepreneurs is to grow their businesses to the point where they can finally get paid and begin to make a living from their new venture. Tyler Barstow and Belmont alumnus Matt Fiedler, co-founders of Vinyl Me, Please, are trying to adapt their business model to reach that important goal.
Continue reading Scaling Requires Business Model Pivots
As my partners and I were pursuing an aggressive growth strategy in our business my late father frequently reminded me, “The leading cause of business failure is success!”
We also got similar warnings from our banker, who said he always worried the most about his clients who were growing the fastest. Continue reading The Two Ditches of Growth
It is not unusual for older faculty to get a little cynical. I have heard many faculty grumble about how hard it is to motivate today’s students. While I agree with them that it is hard, and have grumbled about this my self a time or two, I have learned that it is quite possible to motivate millennials.
I tried a little experiment a couple of years ago with my grading that has had remarkable results and has helped me better understand what drives this generation.
Continue reading What Motivates Millennials?
During start-up, entrepreneurs are desperate to make a sale. Revenues are needed to generate cash flow and affirm that the new company’s business model actually meets a need in the market.
Entrepreneurs will take just about any customer willing to do business with their new company, including those who really don’t fit with their business model. After all, a sale is a sale, and cash is cash! Continue reading When it is Time to Fire a Customer
One of my students sent along an telling tale from Spain. It seems that when times get tough enough, 26% unemployment in the case of Spain, people become incredibly resourceful. Continue reading When Times Get Tough
Unlike small business owners in other parts of the world, U.S. entrepreneurs do not tend to think globally about potential markets for their businesses.
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) reports that while 31 percent of exports from the European Union are generated by small and medium enterprises, only 13 percent of U.S. exports come from small and medium businesses. And another government report reveals that only 1% of U.S. small businesses engage in exporting. Continue reading American Entrepreneurs Late to the Global Economy
It began as unlikely partnership in the fall of 2010. Jonathan was a sophomore Entrepreneurship major at Belmont University. James was a senior Marketing major at Lipscomb University. Both students were members of the tennis teams of the two arch rival universities, which at that time were still in the same conference.
But, Jonathan and James shared a common idea to start an online grocery store for college students. The idea was to provide college students a convenient and affordable alternative to on-campus convenience stores. They would sell snacks directly to college students and also to their parents bundled up in care packages.
Jonathan and James also have one other thing in common – they are brothers. Continue reading Sweet Success