In Phase 1 I created a list 10 big questions about small businesses in China. In Phase 2 I will find helpful resources to help find possible answers to my questions or create new ones.
I started with a broad digital search on google using the words small businesses in rural China. These key words showed me links and websites of the basics of small businessess, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantes of a small business versus a larger corporation. I then did a more detaied search and searched for small businesses in rural china advantages and disadvantages. There were advantages like being able to control the business or offers a good learning experience. Disadvantages like not being able to get enough customers because bigger, corporate owned companies can attract a lot more people.
The information and research that I gathered in Phase 1 was taken from mostly websites. The truth is, I do not know if the information is valid or not, but the URL of the website can give you an idea whether or not it is. Usually webistes that end with, .edu or .gov have mostly correct information, because they are educaton and government websites, respectively. Orgs are sometimes correct, sometimes incorrect, and when looking for information I generally try to stay away from .coms, unless they are famous or well known websites. Also, websites like Wikipedia, where anybody can change the information, is generally not good for specifics. You can find who is publishing the information by either going to the bottom of the screen's information or clicking on a tab that tells you who is the maker. The websites I used were .orgs and .edus, so I believe the information was valid.
This is my email I wrote to my expert, Mr Ying, who is a professor at Canterbury Christ Church University and who did a study on 'Chinese Peasant Entrepreneurs: An Examination of Township and Village Enterprises In Rural China.'
Dear Mr. Ying,
My name is Alex L. and I am an 8th grader attending Shanghai American School, an international school in Shanghai. I am going on a one month school trip, called Microcampus, to Yunan to do a service learning project. My topic is small business case study. We are advised to seek out experts and mentors of our topics to help us learn more. I read your report on 'Chinese Peasant Entrepreneurs: An Examination of Township and Village Enterprises in Rural China' and think you would be a great expert for me.
The process is divided into 4 phases, in phase 1 we pose real questions, in 2 we find helpful resources, in 3 we interpret information, and in 4 we prepare our ideas into a final project. In phase 1 we created 10 big questions about our topics, mine are listed below. If would be great if you could see if my information was correct and maybe give some ideas for new questions.
Before The Business Starts...
1. What type of person does it take to start a small business?
2. What do you need to keep in mind when starting a business, economically?
3. How do you come up with a business idea and plan?
When You Have A Business...
4. How can you keep control, economically, over your business?
5. How do you get people to join or work in your business?
6. How do you keep your business prosperous?
7. What types of businesses will succeed in this fastly changing paced economy?
8. What supplies are needed in a business?
9. In face of adversary what are some strategies used?
10. When your business has competition what do you do?
Thank you Mr. Ying for taking the time to read this. I hope you will take my proposal into account and help me with my service learning project experience.
Mr. Ying replied and believed that his report was not up to date enough to do super in depth research with me, but still was willing to help me with some very basic stuff.
When we got to the village our first task in our inquiry projects was to conduct our 3 to 5s. 3 to 5s are short interviews with 3 to 5 different people to get information on who we can use for our projects. I interviewed Mr. T, Frank - the manager, Cecily - one of our Linden Centre guides, Ms. Mai, and Mrs. Linden. These are some key points they told me. Other information they gave is in my Phase 3 section.
- Compare old and new businesses
- Different areas, different shops
- Over time
- His sister's clothes shop
- Bao Cheng Fu
- Gave me a map
- Er Kuai factories
- Si Fang Jie
- Market Squares
- Compare old and new businesses
- Baba makers
- Shi Shou Baba
- Family businesses
- Restaurants and how to make the food
- Er Kuai factory
- Bao Cheng Fu
- New businesses
- Frank's sister
I know I am finished with my 3 to 5s because I have more than enough possible clients and have a bunch of different ideas for my project. Some books from the Linden Centre library that might help are books about China's economy or businesses.
Now that I am finished with Phase 2 I will now continue my project with Phase 3, where I get information from different people and interpret all of it.