Building a Business in the Classroom Part 3: Grit9 Emerges

Posted by on Monday, October 31, 2016 in edcorps, grit9 | 3 comments

A force to be reckoned with.

Grit 9…a force to be reckoned with.

We finally have a name, we are “Grit 9 Design”.

Grit9 came out of many iterations and consults with trusted peers, former students, colleagues, and other business owners. We even utilized the pros-in-the-classroom services of Nepris, who hooked us up with Colin Dwan, owner of Prologue Games, to help us choose a good name.

Why the name Grit9?

Ultimately, it came down to being simple, memorable, and having an available domain, grit9.com. The term “grit” is somewhat of a buzzword, which was actually a detriment, but the word “perseverance” was too long. The runners up were “8bittwist.com”, “cryptechlabs.com”, and even “8bitmisfits.com”. There were lots of good student suggestions, many of which stemmed from the school name and mascot Elida High School, and “Bulldogs”. We opted to create our own brand, one that would feel more “from scratch”. We have aspirations that are actually right in line with our schools’, (Just last week, my principal sent an email to staff about building the right CULTURE despite the pressures of testing, love it!) but we wanted to do it all ourselves.

Now the Fun Really Begins

The gas pedal is down:

  • We have elected officers using a Google Form (feel free to look through it)
    • Judges are local business owners and previous students. The applications are anonymized of any age or gender. I want the best, not necessarily the oldest.
  • Our business model canvas is complete, (not familiar? here.)
  • We’ve established 2 main services to offer: web design (fully hosted WordPress sites including client training) and photo digitization (We bought the Epson FastFoto)
  • We have a workable method of employee training that demands students seeking to be assigned as a project lead for web design or photo scanning first undergo training and a timed performance test to get “Certified”.
  • We are designing our business card on Canva.com that we will send to the folks at Real World scholars to print for us.

Logo Design

We tried our hand at designing our logo, and being a design company, you’d think we’d be better at it. We had lots of ideas and drawing that were “good” but nothing that said “whoah, these guys are legit.” So we enlisted two pros on fiverr.com. I searched “logo design” and picked 2 designers, and got the following logo design specs. One cost $5, one cost $10, plus a few bucks in fees = $17. Do you have a favorite? We do, not telling until we get our revisions back (included in the $17).

 

Elected Positions

 

They're kind of a big deal.

They’re kind of a big deal.

From left to right: Kennedy – social media, Jency – blogger, Evan – President, Chelsey – Secretary, Dakota – VP, Kylie – Treasurer.

Each group meeting of Grit9, they each give a brief, fast-paced report of what they’ve done and what they will do next. I report as well on next steps for the club and the individuals. I’m experimenting with making the WordPress certification simply a series of lessons in Classflow, so I can track who is where in the process, and assist as necessary.certification

We hold more “officers” meeting than group meetings. This is when the most work gets done. We’ve been reviewing the logos, making phone calls to Chambers of Commerce (speakerphone to demo friendly yet professional phone skills, they know they’ll need to be doing this soon too), and refining certification processes. We now have a board to identify who is ready for what responsibilities.

Next Steps

Our action steps are now:

  • Call Chamber of Commerce to schedule a 10 minute informational presentation. We make it about teaching small businesses how and why they need to have a strong web presence through web sites and social media. Conveniently, this results in a lot of business for us.
  • “No ads”. This means I am refusing to spend any dollars on paid advertising. We have a really strong positive story line here that news media locally and even nationally would love to have. So strong in fact, that if we can’t generate buzz using our wits and clever use of resources, then we really shouldn’t be in business in the first place. Restrictions generate creativity. We will NOT dump money into ads, then sit back and “wait for a bite”. We create clever fish gathering tools and lures, even if that means we dive in after the fish with a crudely made wooden spear to survive. Techy’s gotta eat.
  • Create a portfolio of student made content. Through the “certification” process, students are creating a website for an actual business (It’s my family’s business, Suterproduce.com, and sorry, cider sold out Sunday for the season). We are also approaching other businesses and asking them, “Would you let us practice our web design skills and make you a website? All we want is feedback as though you were a paying client”. This almost always works. We create a few sites, and learn critical “newb” mistakes this round. We then also have a growing portfolio of sites and references. When we pitch to potential paying clients, we simply say, “Take a look at some of the other sites we created for businesses all over town.”. This eliminates the client’s, “Uhh, neat that you’re doing this, but not sure I want to take a risk on you” feeling. If the practice sites aren’t good, they don’t go in the portfolio. This quickly separates the wheat from the chaff of web designers and not-so-much web designers. Up to them which category the fit into. If it’s not beautiful, IT DOESN’T GO OUT. PERIOD. No one wants a “I donated $500 and all I got was this crappy website” site.

And so begins the revolution. We have entered the fray.

3 Comments

  1. Such a detailed post, I’ve enjoyed keeping up with the progress of the new Tech Club. I am a fan of the last Grit9 logo from Fiverr. I have gigs on Fiverr and is a great resource if you ever need to outsource work if necessary. Fiverr makes my operations smooth as I have a bigger team if I need one. Anxious to watch the Tech Club progress through the years and see the success of your students!

  2. This is amazing work. Kudos! You have given me a lot of great ideas. Thanks for sharing!
    We are starting our edcorp PantherPressDesign.
    Going to be offering student art, sublimated on products and raising awareness for ALS.

    • You should contact us! We’d love to see what you are up to with your students. You can reach out directly through our new company website, grit9design.com

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