As we all know, NCEA can be challenging at times. Everything will be chill for weeks, then suddenly internals for all six subjects will be due the next day. What makes it worse is when your grades are dependent on the work ethic of four other people. It can be tough, and overwhelming, but when the business activity comes to a close, you will look back and realise just how much you have accomplished.

Here are some tips to help you along the journey:

Communicate your ideas

Being assertive and communicating your ideas in a way that makes other people want to listen is perhaps the single most important thing in business. There is nothing worse than when your group sits in silence and no one is comfortable sharing their opinion. Speaking up about any concerns you may have is crucial, whether it is regarding the product, production process, advertising or anything else along those lines. Voicing these concerns now, will prevent bigger issues from arising in the future.

If you are really passionate about environmental sustainability and your group decides to sell lemonade in a plastic cup with a straw, obviously it will be harder for to put your all into a business scheme that you don’t support. Communicating with the group will not only benefit you but will likely increase your interest and motivation in the business activity, thus benefiting the whole group and increasing the business’s chances of success.

Make effective decisions

Ensure that you have a system put in place before any decisions are made, so that people feel comfortable sharing their opinion. There are three types of decisions you will have to make as a group: trivial, multiple choice and complex. Try not to waste too much time on trivial decisions, such as what the group email should be.

In most cases, when you have multiple options, just go with the majority vote. If it is a very important decision, ensure that you allow each group member to voice their opinions before going with the majority vote. Complex problems (e.g. what price should you sell the product for) will require a lot more time and research.

The head of finance will need to decide on a pricing strategy, and operations will need to figure out all of the business’ expenses before deciding on a price that everyone is happy with.

Don’t be overly critical

Looking at a business plan and knowing what needs to be done to improve it is a brilliant skill in Business Studies. However, it can be frustrating for other group members if you are constantly critiquing their work. A better way forward would be to recommend specific things that they can do to improve the quality of their section of the business plan, or to ask if it is okay for you to make some minor changes.

Have fun!

Business Studies will be tough at times. You may be struggling to decide on a product or overwhelmed by the word count requirement for the business plan, but remember why you chose to take Business in the first place, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride. Now is the time to experiment with different ideas and to learn from the challenges you may face along the way.

Jessica is a year 13 student from Wellington. She enjoys physics, canoe polo and trying new things.

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