Published on December 4, 2018
The Australian Business Week (ABW) Program is an intensive learning experience for students in Year 10 designed to develop an enterprise mindset. Students are divided into ‘companies’ and then create and manage a business through computer simulation for a simulated 2-year period.
In 2018, students developed a cafe concept of their own, creating marketing collateral, developing business reports and business plans and engaging in team building. On the last day of ABW they presented their physical café concept and shared their business model with a group of external judges.
Creating a business from scratch is always challenging and our students were not immune to the difficulties.
“The most challenging part of establishing our cafe was trying to incorporate each of our various ideas into a central vision,” says Saffron Tang, CEO of The Studio Bistro. “Remaining organised and sticking to deadlines also proved quite difficult.”
Relationships are an important part of any successful business and working with others in sometimes stressful or high impact environments can at times mean a difference of opinion.
“As can be expected, we did see some differing opinions in our business, however we all tried our best to compromise and incorporate the ideas in where possible,” says Saffron. “Issues were raised and discussed as a group until an (almost) unanimous decision was reached.”
To be competitive against other HVGS café businesses, each groups was required to develop a Unique Selling Point (USP). For The Studio Bistro this came in the form of a community minded business with an emphasis on community collaboration.
“Our business showcased and assisted budding artists, featuring live music from local musicians and showcasing and selling works from local artists,” says Saffron. “Other features of our cafe included close partnerships with relevant charities e.g. Take 3 for the Sea and our bar, which opened with live music on selected nights with special rewards for loyal customers.”
This unique and community focused approach was one of the elements that saw The Studio Bistro take out first prize and named Grand Champions.
Although sometimes challenging, ABW opens students eyes to the various tenets of business management. It highlights the satisfaction that comes with success in business and importance in learning from past mistakes for the business to grow and succeed.
“ABW revealed the importance of skills such as creativity and problem-solving in business,” says Saffron. “I learned a lot about business and in my experience, I feel that a good business remains responsive to customer and employee feedback and market changes. It should be adaptable and be able to learn from mistakes to constantly improve. Organisation and planning is vital.”
“Good businesses are instantly identifiable by the way staff communicate, respond to adversity, and respect their customers.”
Saffron’s ABW experience came with extra challenge of being selected CEO of the business.
“I was fortunate in that I had a great team, but the responsibilities that came with being CEO were often quite challenging. I found staying organised and constantly thinking ahead and staying organised and managing not only my own tasks, but the tasks of my team members was hard. As CEO, I had to take risks with the knowledge that my team was relying on me and was pushed to always stay a few steps ahead to keep everything running smoothly.”
Overall the experience is a great learning opportunity and provides excellent opportunities for reflection.
“If I were to repeat ABW I would have liked to be more organised and take more time to properly reflect on our what worked and what didn’t.,” says Saffron. “By doing these, I feel I would be able to better assist and manage my team and see our business and team members grow.”