10 FME Good Business Fridays Takeaways
By Irene Laochaisri and Katherine Hendrickson, Babson Undergraduate Students and Undergraduate Scholars at The Lewis Institute.
On Friday Sept 12th we kicked off Good business Fridays with a conversation about how good business practices can be integrated into FME businesses to maximize their potential. Here are our top 10 take-aways from that discussion:
1. Get comfortable with pivoting.
Every FME experience is unique in itself, but a common thread in every company is that unexpected things will happen regularly: not getting paid, missing money and/or receipts, or a delay in shipment. This is where the most learning gets done, but can also be paralyzing if a plan is too rigid. Remain adaptable and act swiftly using whatever resources you have at hand.
2. Be conscious of the difference between your personal and professional relationships with your teammates.
Learning how to manage this balance will teach you SO MUCH about people management. Know where the line is and figure out how to be kind and productive at the same time. Encourage an open and communicative company culture: make a conscious effort to consistently ask for and give constructive feedback while focusing on behaviors rather than individual characters.
3. Quickbooks, quickbooks, quickbooks.
Keeping all your financial information on Quickbooks will ensure cohesion between the finance and operations departments. The software can also house your customers’ contact information and refine your company’s tracking system. When it comes time for the audit in April, having everything documented well will make the process much faster. Learn how to work with the system, trust it and encourage all team members (despite which department they are in) to understand its logistics.
4. Step out of your comfort zone.
Remember that FME is about learning. The more risk you’re willing to take, the more you will learn about yourself and what you’re good at. Take on a position in a new department, give selling a chance, or build a new relationship with a co-worker. These are the skills you can transfer to anything else in life!
5. Take ownership of your position.
Remember that an organizational structure exists only for the efficiency of decision-making and overall company cohesion. The success of your company relies on team members that empower each other to excel within their position, and always have the best interests of the company in mind.
6. Do your best to give your best: you will get the grade you deserve.
Your FME Experience will only happen once, so enjoy it, and be sure to put your best effort forth. Most likely you have heard this advice before in multiple classes, but any hard work into your FME company will be noticed, and grades almost always will reflect your dedication.
7. Be transparent and honest with your professors.
If an issue ever arises, the first thing to do is to discuss possible solutions within your team. Yet if a problem is ever more serious, understand that your professors are always open for advice during any stage of the process. They will always appreciate honesty, and it will only help the company move forward in the long run.
8. Don’t afraid to ask for help.
Remember- this is (almost) everyone’s first time running a business! You are not going to have all of the answers right away, but that is what your teammates, mentors, and professors are there for. Also reach out to past FME companies who could give you applicable advice. Everyone on campus has had their own FME experience, and all are more than willing to give advice and guidance.
9. Don’t limit yourself to buying and reselling products – there’s no one successful way of doing FME.
FME businesses can be services for the Babson Community or beyond, but also can include innovative products that are not yet on the market. Suppliers and distributors love working with first-year undergraduate business students, but they won’t be able to help unless you ask!
10. Experience before profit.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore something you’ve always been interested in. Making an idea into reality is a unique process, and the trials and tribulations which come with it cannot be found in a classroom. Understand that not all FME companies will break even, and that is more than acceptable, because at the end of the day it is far more important to find and cherish the lessons learned along the way.