Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 2 months 1 week ago

Previously, in Phase 1, I proposed some questions that I wished to further continue my research with in Xizhou. Now, in Phase 2, I will be reaching out to experts in the business field, as well as discussing about the sources that I had looked into.

When researching about businesses, I had to recount what exactly it was that prompted me to choose this topic: economics, the story, the produce, the design, etc. Although, what I am interested in does play a leading role while conducting research, I definitely had to include the basic structure of how to run a business. This led to me searching up the question of, how does someone start a business, this led me to the basic steps to be granted a business permit in China and such. This website is something similar to a finance advisor with a couple million users on their site, so it is most likely a reliable source. After this, I thought about my own life compared to business owners, having worked at a local shop before (and losing my motivation within a few days), I wondered about how these business owners found stimulus to be able to continue maintaining and running something of such difficulty. These thoughts allowed me to be able to ask in the search bar, How do entrepreneurs find motivation to be able to run their business? This further lead to searching up the question, What are some difficulties of running a business? Which soon also prompted the search of, pros and cons of running a business, this allowed me to be see both the positives and negatives, which will help prepare some background knowledge before conducting interviews. While finding information, I had to remain weary of the authors and their credibility, luckily, I found that the authors of these websites had years of writing experience in this type of field. One writer in particular, George N. Root, author of several articles that benefited me in my research, has had 15 years of writing experience in topics like business management, sales process, etc.  

Throughout the process of looking for experts, I made sure that my experts would be able to benefit my understanding in businesses in Xizhou, as well as broaden my knowledge in the "real world" about business. I ended up contacting 2 sources, one is a website that exclusively features and posts about Yunnan, the other being the dean of the College of Business, which is a part of SUFE (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The website would help provide a clearer insight on businesses inside of Xizhou, rather than in general. The dean of the College of Business would also be able to help how show just how businesses really function, from both a professional standpoint as well as personal, seeing as they are the dean, and how that compares to my research.

Below is the email that I had sent to the Yunnan website:

Hello,

I am a student from SAS, otherwise known as, Shanghai American School, and am part of a program called, Microcampus. Microcampus is a program, in which I, and 15 other students, will embark on a 28 day learning trip to Xizhou. During these 28 days, we will be conducting interviews and research with the locals and will be focusing on one specific topic, mine being, Local and Small Businesses. For the past few months, each of us have been researching about our topics in our project space here, http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/students/dashboard/9983/page-2 and after reading one of your articles (this one in particular, http://www.yunnanadventure.com/city_list/Xizhou-Old-Town-Shopping_146_65...) , I would really appreciate it if you were able to give me some feedback on my work so far. In my workspace, I also included possible questions that I would look into a bit more while in XiZhou. If you could give me advice on my questions (not to answer them, but to review, receive some general feedback, and possible readings that would help), that would be great.

1) How do the business owners find the motivation to continue to run their business?
2) In what sort of different ways has your consumers impacted your business(difficulties, regulars, etc.)?

3) How do you manage the produce you market (advertising, profit, gaining produce, etc.)?
4) What was the origin of the business?
5) Have you thought of the future of the business? If so, what do you plan for?
6) How was the business when you first started working?
7) What were some of the most significant ups and downs throughout your line of work?
8) How has your business been, financially, throughout your career?
9) How has this line of work affected your life and wellbeing overall?
10) How has your personal life affected your business and growth (education, family, etc.)?

Sincerely,
Shirley 

Currently, neither of my experts that I contacted has responded, although, if they do, I will update this phase immediately.

I made sure that my experts would be able to benefit my understanding in businesses in Xizhou, as well as broaden my knowledge in the "real world" about business. I ended up contacting 2 sources, one is a website that exclusively features and posts about Yunnan, the other being the dean of the College of Business, which is a part of SUFE (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The website would help provide a clearer insight on businesses inside of Xizhou, rather than in general. The dean of the College of Business would also be able to help how show just how businesses really function, from both a professional standpoint as well as personal, seeing as they are the dean, and how that compares to my research.

Now, having arrived in XiZhou, I had to find and contact some people who knew about my topic. To be able to do this, I had to be able to get some contacts through my 3-to-5s. 3-to-5s are 3-5 adults that work with the Microcampus students to be able to help start and commence their research of their topic by providing them with basic information on their topic as well as suggesting some local people with even more information about our topic. I needed to interview Mr. Tafel, Ms. Mai, Mr Chen, and Ms. B in order to be given a list of people around XiZhou who run their own business. Below, are a list of the many contacts that I was provided with.

Mr Tafel:

  • Mr. Yang (Golden Flower restaurant owner)
  • Mr Yang (former horse carriage driver)
  • Mr. Yang (Baba maker)
  • Mr. Yang (antique dealer)
  • Du family (Baba makers)
  • Mr. Zhao (Silversmith)

Ms. Mai:

  • Cake roll makers 
  • Fried pancake makers
  • Ms. and Mr. Mai (bakery)
  • Hui couple (LaMian Noodle Shop)
  • Chinese tea shops
  • Ms. Zhan (cheese factory)

Mr. Chen:

  • Ms. Young (clothing shop)
  • Zhou ayi (Jin Hua)
  • Ms. Li (Yuan Zi Ko)
  • JiaJia (tourist souvenir shop)
  • Xiao Bai (experiential shop)
  • Marco (Ji Wu Workshop)

Ms. B:

  • LanShi owners
  • Tea shop by SFJ

Once I have collected enough contacts, I will be able to further continue my field research in the village of XiZhou as it will allow me to be able to reach out to a number of people but still maintain a healthy relationship with each of them.

If I were to borrow or find some books from the Linden Centre Library, I would think that books on tourism and economy over time would definitely be a helpful source. This is because it would allow me to be able to see how businesses were influenced to change as the years go by.

The next phase in my Inquiry Project will be Phase 3, in which I will be talking about the information I learned throughout the process of Microcampus.

Hi, I'm Shirley X. and I was part of the 2018 Voyagers Group. I am from the United States but moved here to Shanghai in the sixth grade. After returning from Microcampus, I feel as though the experience has shaped and changed me in so many different aspects. The month long journey has helped me grow and I have learned so many lessons from the locals, the teachers, as well as my peers and hope to be able to return to the sensational town and community of Xizhou one day. After this, I will continue to apply everything I have learned to my life and onwards.