David Roberts Capstone

Last summer, I made an outdoor enclosure for my cats. It has stood outside my house since. After showing it off to my family and friends, I received a lot of positive feedback. More people that I had imagined showed interest in the idea, and I took this opportunity to create a small business of sorts around the Catio. 
My first step was to create two basic models. I took the design from the Catio I made for my cats and improved it, making it more suitable for creation and distribution. I then had to evaluate the cost. I found out how much wood and screen I would need for each design and added up the cost. I then decided on a retail price that would satisfy my needs for building materials and an hourly wage. All this I combined into a website that is currently published at www.tinyurl.com/phillycatios and then into a brochure.
My first customer is a doctor at my mother’s vet. She had expressed interest in a Catio, and after some back and forth over email, I got to work. I visited her home and took pictures and measurements of where she wanted the Catio to be placed. I made a custom model that fit her needs, and priced it accordingly. After purchasing the required materials, I spent most of Easter break building, painting, and enclosing the Catio. And then on the 28th, I took my creation back to her home and installed it.

Attard, Janet. "39 Low-Cost Ways to Promote Your Business." Business Know How, January 6, 2019. Accessed January 25, 2019. https://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/24waysto.htm.

This is another article about advertising written by Janet Attard. She highlights 39 low cost ways of advertising. This is essential because while I have some financial support, I don’t have hundreds to spend on advertising. These low cost methods will be vital to growing my business.

Babich, Nick. "A Comprehensive Guide To Product Design." Smashing Magazine, January 31, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2019. https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/01/comprehensive-guide-product-design/.

A product is central to a business. This article will help me understand the ins and outs of designing a profitable product. I don’t want to go through all this work designing a product and then realizing it won’t be profitable. This article will help me avoid everything that might lead to that ending.

Bernazzani, Sophia. "7 Ways to Make Every Interaction With Customers Fantastic." HubSpot, June 20, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2019. https://blog.hubspot.com/service/interaction-with-customers.

I will no doubt interact with my customers over the course of this project. This interact can often decide the customers opinion of me. This article will help me over the course of these interactions and give me pointers and suggestions. The customers are the basis of any business, and no matter the conditions, all interactions should be positive.

Driver, Saige. "Social Media for Business: A Marketer's Guide." Business News Daily, October 15, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2019. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7832-social-media-for-business.html.

Social Media will most likely be the best way to grow my business. This article by Saige Driver will be my guide to using Social Media to my advantage. She discusses what the dos and don’ts of the Social Media world that will allow for the best chance of success.

Iwuoha, John-Paul. "10 Cheap and Interesting Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Small Business." Smallstarter, February 10, 2014. Accessed January 23, 2019.  http://www.smallstarter.com/know-the-basics/10-ways-to-attract-more-customers-to-your-small-business/.  

One of the hardest part of this project will be attracting buyers. This article can help me expanding my business and reaching out to potential customers. The ideas presented by John-Paul Iwuoha can help me understand what customers like and how to convince them my product is worth buying.

McCreary, Matthew. "The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business." Entrepreneur, October 23, 2017. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/297899.

This source will provide me with more information on the process behind starting a business. Having two articles on the same subject can give me opposing or agreeing ideas that will help me further understand the topic. The two different authors will most certainly have different views on what is most important.

Odjick, Desirae. "How to Price Your Product: What You Need to Know About Pricing Before You Launch." Shopify, May 28, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2019. https://www.shopify.com/blog/how-to-price-your-product.

In addition to product design, effectively pricing my product will be essential. Too high, and people won’t buy it. Too low, and I won’t make enough profit to sustain my business. This article will help me in that process.

Rivera, Andreas. "How to Start a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide." Business News Daily, June 7, 2018. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4686-how-to-start-a-business.html.  

Going into this project, I have not a single clue about how I could start a business. This article written by Andreas Rivera outlines some basic steps that I could take to start a business. This article covers finances, themes and ideas, advertising to customers, and the whole nine yards. I can also use this article to start thinking about how I want to run my business.

SAGE Publications. "Customer service is an emotional experience." ScienceDaily.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120831123651.htm (accessed January 23, 2019).

This last article by Science Daily goes into the science behind customer interaction. It states that there are many emotions behind customer business interactions and that there are many things that I can do to improve that interaction.

Wood, Meredith. "The Ultimate Guide to Managing Small Business Finances." Fundera, Inc, November 19, 2018. Accessed January 24, 2019. https://www.fundera.com/blog/business-finance.

One of the most important things about running a small business is managing finances. I will need to know the essentials when I start my own. If I cannot fund my business, I will lose customers and my reputation will suffer. I need to know how to managed my business’ finances or else it will cease.