Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

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Summer Wrap-up

Friday, August 10, 2012 10:05 pm

Tomorrow morning I leave for my final trip to Toronto of the summer. I will be spending about 10 days working in our Ontario office before completing my internship. I had such an amazing experience on my last visit, so I am looking forward to the opportunity to return.

Looking back on the past few months, I have had a great experience at my internship. I really like how the company is a start-up yet has a big agency feel due to large volume of clients and the credentials and experience of the executives. I think my favorite part is the small firm dynamic where the organization is really flat in the sense that the formal hierarchy is typically never mentioned. It has been an incredible learning experience to work alongside the company president and senior executives. Finishing up my second summer here, it is still evident that the firm is only 15 months old from an infrastructure perspective. We have made significant headway this summer in getting the underlying foundation in place, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to see this development from the absolute beginning.Additionally, some of the projects that I worked on last year are finally closing, so I have been able to watch various projects within the sales cycle and also venture projects go entirely full circle from start to finish. I love the feeling of seeing an entire process carried-out, and it certainly makes the work more rewarding.

I know that the beginning of the school year is very busy, so I will not be taking on any new projects, but I will continue to stay on the projects at my internship that are midway through. A lot of these projects take about 16 months from start to finish, so I will stay on throughout the school year. I think it will be a great addition to senior year and I am looking forward to it!

Early August

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 6:50 pm

The past two weeks since the end of the RBC Canadian Open have been the busiest of the summer. During the Open, a lot of the daily operations were put aside as client meetings, sponsors and corporations were the priority. Since the entire office was basically shut down for nine days, it has been really chaotic ever since.

I spent the past few days writing sponsor exemption letters for some of our players to get into Fall Series tournaments that they may not qualify for based on their Tour cards. It was definitely a true test of business writing as it was being sent to executive tournament directors. I’m glad that I got to know some of our players ahead of time since I needed to make the letter have elements of their personality.Additionally, the agency has new signed clients as of the tournament. We have been working to revamp their websites, twitter and facebook pages, as well as logos for each golfer and/or any entity that they represent. It is interesting to see the process from the ground up-starting right from the beginning with all marketing and branding initiatives.

I am going back to Canada on Saturday to finish out the summer working in the other office. We have been trying to spend time making sure that all projects are complete/have went full cycle. The sales cycle is still in full swing, and I’m excited about some new marketing materials that we created this week to get more interest going. This should be complete before I head back to Wake, so I will see the entire process play out from start to finish. I am also making sure that the accounting that I have been taking care of is completely up to date. This project is very tedious, but extremely necessary to general operations, invoicing, and also creating forecasts and budgets. I’m excited to head back to Canada as I had a great time on my last trip.

Social Media

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 10:37 pm

Since the agency that I work for was founded in March 2011, we are just starting to get involved with social media. I spent today making the company LinkedIn page and purchasing the domain name for our website. We are also considering utilizing Facebook and Twitter, and have a Facebook page started that remains unpublished.

Going through this process, I have really noticed how important it truly is to have a strong onlinepresence. If we don’t pave our own online presence, it will be done organically through other website content and press/media, but I think that a combination of the two is truly ideal. We are trying to find a website designer that is within budget for the small company, but at the same time can create a distinguished and differentiated website.

I think that we should definitely use Twitter and Facebook to share updates and to link our page with that of our clients. Have any of you made a fan page before that has any content suggestions? I have made pages for our golfers, so I’m familiar with that process, but would appreciate your thoughts on content. Also, making the Facebook page is one thing, but generating a following/likes is more complicated. I’m currently working to find out a way that could get us a following going. We all feel that it is extremely important to be online, but it needs to be done properly to be effective! Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

RBC Canadian Open

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 10:28 pm

I spent the past nine days working in Canada at our Toronto office and at the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. What an absolutely amazing experience! I met the majority of our corporate clients and professional golfer clients during the week, and it was great to finally connect with everyone in person. Some days, we walked to ropes with our players as they completed their rounds. It became very apparent that despite the crowds following them, the players to appreciate having people they know with them showing support. I got to know some of the Tour wives as well this week, and really connected with some of them. The Tour wives are an important element of the agent-player relationship as they manage a lot of the schedule as well. I definitely commanded a good amount of attention at the golf course because I was wearing a PGA Tour Player Agent credential, and it seems very out of place on a 21 year old…

Each night we would go to the restaurant that the agency does branding and identity consulting for (and the agency is also an investor in the restaurant), and would invite clients, golfers, PGA Tour, Golf Canada and other significant people to join us for dinner. Every night my bosses dispersed around the restaurant and moved from table to table entertaining clients. By the end of the first night, I seemed to get the hang of it as well. Each night I networked with at least 10 new people and made really strong connections with some very important figures. It was my first time ever being in a social situation where I am much younger than everyone else, yet also expected to entertain and host our clients and guests. I think that this went amazingly well, and I think that my networking skills have grown tremendously from the experience. Over the week, I got to know over 27 golfers (including the Canadian Open winner), 15 Tour wives, and about 50 lead corporate figures and/or PGA Tour and Golf Canada key people.

The final day of the Canadian Open really pushed me in a different direction. Sunday’s are transition days between tournaments, and there is a lot of coordination needing to be done to get golfers off the course and to their next location. The women in charge of the coordination ended up very ill, so everyone was frantic. As a favor to a friend that directs the Reno-Tahoe Open, my boss had placed me as the coordinator for the day. My bosses were all handling press/media for our golfers, so I drove myself to the course and took on the role. With zero training or knowledge, I was able to coordinate with Golf Canada, Player Services and Player Transport to make sure the golfers got on the charter to Reno. Good thing I had been to the course all week and made a lot of contacts since I had to be extremely resourceful to pull this one off! It was probably one of the busiest days of my life with the least direction ever, but in hindsight, it was a fun andexhilaratingexperience getting to be thrown into a new situation so quickly!

I had a great week in Canada and have learned SO much. On my last day, I was invited back to the Canadian office for another week long trip, so I think that means they were pleased with my work. I’m headed back to Toronto in about two weeks, but until then we are in our Cleveland office catching up on all of the daily operations that were neglected during the Open. I’m learning that the week after an Open may be even more chaotic than the tournament itself! This week is also the Bridgestone Invitational, which is only 30 minutes from our office. I plan to get out there at least a few days, and try to reconnect with my new contacts from last week.

Accounting Upgrades

Thursday, July 12, 2012 4:05 pm

My newest project is definitely going pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the realm of accounting, bookkeeping and technology. Since the agency was founded in the spring of 2012, certain elements of the firm’s basic foundation/structure still require a lot of attention. It is interesting for me to see how much growth and success a start-up can experience while still requiring basic pieces. I sometimes forget how little a year is the life of a company, and this project is most certainly a reminder.

I have been asked to download small business accounting software, Intuit Quickbooks 2012, and set up the system for the company finances. After looking through the software, it seemed user-friendly but the biggest issue is going to be setting it up as it will be easy to use if that is done properly. I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased a 707 page manual to the program, and spent yesterday reading and taking notes the entire books before beginning on the database. It is a bit overwhelming of a project, and I need to brush up on my accounting skills especially since it has been almost 2 years since I took the course! This is a project where I think that I am going to need help in the set up, so I plan to map out what I think the chart of accounts and other aspects are and then see if I can get the help of one of my bosses. It worries me that I will do the set up incorrectly, and that could cause major issues when the database gets sent to our accounting firm to close the books and file taxes. It is also midway through our fiscal year, so backtracking in the books could pose a major challenge. Before I jump into the software, I want to be sure I can gain access into all of the pieces that I need to make it successful.

This project is definitely a major mix of the Financial Accounting and Management Information Systems classes that I have taken, so I am curious to see how applicable these courses will be to my internship. Part of me has regretted not majoring in accountancy and doing the five year program at Wake, so this project may even help to determine whether or not this is a field I may want to pursue. This is a major project that will probably take me a few weeks to just complete the set-up, so I will follow up with updates soon!

Preparing for the Canadian Open

Thursday, July 12, 2012 3:47 pm

The RBC Canadian Open is in two weeks in Ancaster, Ontario, and we have been doing a lot of work the past few weeks in preparation of the tournament. The agency has golfers playing in the Open, but is also working on negotiations to sign another golfer during that week. The past few weeks have been full of meetings to assess the negotiations ahead, and I have been working along with the other interns to create the content and design for the presentations used during that week. We are trying out some new formats using video and animation instead of our typical PowerPoint format. We go up to the Open the day before practice rounds begin and will be there through the finals and we will be staying in Toronto. It will be a busy week and I’m thinking that we will spend the day on the course with the players and the evenings working on negotiations as well as meeting with sponsors and endorsers. It will be my first time being present for contract negotiation, so I’m curious to see how it will play out!

The agency also does branding and identity work and consulting for a restaurant that opened last year in Toronto. The restaurant is planning on getting involved in golf and looking to host events during the week of the Open. They are also considering opening up a food stand on one of the holes during the practice rounds of the Open. Together with everything else, this calls for quite a busy week!

My favorite part of this project is that it is so multidimensional. I get to be involved in many aspects from sales to design to negotiations at the same time. The Open will definitely give me a taste of what a hectic week for a sports agency is like, and I will definitely let you all know how it goes!

The Sales Cycle, Els for Autism and Accounting Updates

Friday, June 15, 2012 5:23 pm

The past few weeks have been really busy with a lot of new exciting projects. Summer is the most important time for the sales cycle, so this process is where I have been spending most of my time. I have been working on updating and remaking presentations for each of our professional golfer clients. These presentations will be used in meetings with other companies to reveal the brand and personality of each client and therefore create a sponsorship or endorsement deal for the golfer. I have been using the ZSR Library databases frequently to also identify companies that may have interest in the golf world and also find out who the key decision makers are a these companies. The research is a bit monotonous, but once a corporate sponsorship, hospitality package or golf platform is sold, the activation is very exciting work! For different companies, we are at different stages of this process, and it is interesting to see each portion play out. Since this is my second summer at the agency, I have learned from my past experience with the project and really worked hard to come up with creative new ways in approaching the sales component.

Also, I’m working on the 2012 E4A (Els for Autism) Golf Challenge for the Ernie Els Foundation. It is a really exciting project with a significant charitable aspect….check it out at: www.elsforautism.com I have been helping with the activation for the Gallery Club, which is the way in which non-golfers can donate alongside the 30 regional golf tournaments with a finale in Las Vegas. The project is enormous and has our agency, the Foundation, and a few other companies working on it together. We recently launched a texting campaign for donations, and the interns are currently in the process of making advertisements for E4A that will be displayed in movie theaters and on golf courses. We also met Ernie Els two weeks ago at The Memorial Golf Tournament, and it is really impressive to see how dedicated he is to the cause.

Since I began working for the agency when it was just starting last summer, there are certain components that reveal that it is not fully out of its development phase. I’m working to update the accounting system and determine which database would be appropriate. I’m also using some skills from my Management Information Systems course to develop a customer relationship management (CRM) database. The CRM would be really useful to keep track of all sales cold calls made, important contacts at companies, and also keep track of our current project inventory. It is a difficult project, but will help immensely by keeping the firm up to date on technology and more organized.

I’m happy to be interning here again this summer and the growth over the past year is astounding! Many projects from last summer are live and we have a lot of new clients and projects as well. I’ve got to use my Spanish a good amount and I’m happy to be keeping it up after my semester in Spain.

Week 1: Back to the sports world

Friday, June 8, 2012 6:47 pm

This summer I returned to the sports management and consulting agency that I interned for last summer during its early development and start up phases. I’m excited to be back and to see how much growth the agency has experienced over the past year. I’m mostly based in the Cleveland office, but will be making trips to the Toronto office as well.

To kick off the summer, my boss, company president, and one of the partners from the Toronto office took four of the interns to The Memorial Golf Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. It was a beautiful week in Columbus, and a few of our golfers were playing. We walked with them during practice rounds and also took around a group of kids that have beenrecipientsof one of our client’s Foundation for Autism. It was great to be back and to spend some time with the golfers and on the course again. I’m continuing on a few projects that I had worked on last summer, and went with my boss to multiple meetings to further discuss the projects and their progress. For the final night of our trip, we hosted a dinner for our clients and their current and prospective sponsors. It was a great way to build excitement for the summer and to reconnect with many of the people that I will be working with.

Last week I also drove to Erie, PA to meet my boss for a meeting that introduced me to another project for the summer. I will be working on potentially signing two more golfers that are from Latin America. One of the other interns and I have been able to use our Spanish to work on possible sponsorships between Latin American companies and our golfers. It is definitely going to be a challenge trying out the sales process in a completely new context, but I’m looking forward to it!Now that the tournament is over, we will be back in the office for the next few weeks.

 

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