Hello, dreamers and entrepreneurs! My name is Calijah Burton. I am majoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics.
As I get closer to opening my business, Burton’s Bakery, after graduation this May, I want to share some of the invaluable lessons and insights I gained during my time at WVU.
Building Relationships: A Recipe for Success
In the world of entrepreneurship, relationships are the secret ingredient that adds flavor to your venture. I discovered the great value of connecting with customers, taking transactions into chats and check-ins. By building genuine relationships, you not only create loyal customers, but you also strengthen a community of supporters. Some of my clients have become long-term friends who have stood by me on this entrepreneurial journey.
Find your target audience
WVU taught me an important lesson: you can’t cater to everyone’s needs, and that’s totally okay! It is important to define and understand your target audience. In many business classes, this principle is emphasized as the cornerstone of success. Specialization allows you to tailor your products or services to the specific needs and preferences of your target audience.
Do what you love
Following your passion isn’t just a cliché, it’s powerful advice. At WVU, the importance of pursuing what you love is instilled in every student. For me, Burton’s Bakery has been a dream of mine since I was 12 years old, and the unwavering support of my teachers and friends at WVU was instrumental in making that dream a reality.
Take advantage of every opportunity
My mentors at WVU, Drs. Frank Demarco and Dr. Ajay Aluri taught me the importance of seizing every opportunity, no matter how small it may seem. From class trips to networking nights and career fairs, these experiences are key ingredients in your recipe for success. Through the Hardy Family Hospitality and Tourism program, I had the incredible opportunity to join the pastry department at Nemacolin, an opportunity that would not have been possible without heeding this advice.
Learning to Sell: Life’s Constant Pitch
Dr. Emily Tanner’s words echo in my head – “We’re always selling something.” This applies to every area of our lives. Whether you’re selling your product, your ideas, or yourself, the art of selling transcends the business realm and becomes a valuable life skill.
Make the Most of WVU Resources: A Buffet of Opportunities
WVU is more than just a place of learning; is a treasure trove of riches waiting to be explored. From industry experts to state-of-the-art facilities, the university provides a nurturing environment for aspiring entrepreneurs. Whether it’s mentoring, networking events, or special programs, take advantage of all that WVU has to offer. The university is a powerful ally in your entrepreneurial journey. One place that helped me on this journey was the Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab. The staff there encouraged me to open Burton’s Bakery my freshman year, and I’ve never looked back.
I owe a large part of my life and passion to my family and friends who have supported me along the way. One of the many reasons I love running Burton’s Bakery! I have often found myself bringing a counselor or professor a slice of cake and making their day better, which is why I chose this line of work. You’ll never know whose day you might change or what laughs you’ll get until you get out there and try.
If I could give you any advice, it would be to make the most of your time at WVU.
Student at Chambers College
Specialization in entrepreneurship and innovation
Owner of Burton’s Bakery
Let’s Talk Business is a series of guest blogs written by members of the Chambers College community. All opinions expressed in this article belong to the author.
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