Abby Honeycutt, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Spring 2016 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: “One of the draws to starting your own business is creative control. You get to create a culture, choose employees, make rules, etc. If you were to build your own business from the ground up, what would your ideal business look like? Get creative and be specific.”
An ancient Chinese proverb eulogizes the importance of taking timely initiative in all areas of life by offering the following counsel: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” This colloquial analogy—though limitless in application—proves especially relevant to the enterprise of entrepreneurship. Acknowledging the fact that the conception, launch, and success of one’s own business is attractive for a number of reasons, perhaps the most appealing is the principle of complete creative control in each and every stage of the process. If I had the opportunity and the means to design my own business from the ground up, I would capitalize on work that I love and am good at doing, creating a workplace culture true to my values and personality; hire employees based not only on merit, but also on potential and personal appeal; and draw up rules that would both facilitate the success of my business and safeguard the loyalty, ingenuity, and enthusiasm of my employees.
My ideal business would most likely be launched around some sort of writing-consulting or literature-optimizing platform. In essence, it would be comprised of a team of skilled wordsmiths and expressionists that are outsourced to edit, revise and reinvigorate companies’ mission statements, website text, brochures, publications and other distributed literatures. Not to be confused with a PR firm, my start-up would concern itself only with the crafting, integrity and optimization of the written, spoken and implied words through which companies express themselves and communicate their messages. Thus, rather than crafting the content of the messages themselves, we would craft the vessels and instruments (e.g. words) through which these messages are best and most elegantly articulated.
The culture I would seek to establish among employees would be one very in line with and reflective of my own personality and way of doing things. This means that there would be small spurts of extremely productive, focused and high-grade activity interspersed with plenty of time to relax, plan ahead, and maintain one’s sanity. Rather than paying hourly, I would base pay off the amount of work and projects completed and in appropriation to the degree of quality in which they were done. This would facilitate intrinsic motivation as well as reward those who work hard and consistently strive to improve. Naturally, this environment would be most appealing to people prone to self-tasking and who respond well to freer reign for themselves and their work. If these individuals prove anything like myself, they won’t respond well to any rigid set of rules, therefore the office would operate under a collaborative social and professional contract that they, themselves, help create, amend and enforce. In this way, I feel as though I could successfully create a business attractive in both principle and in the service it performs, enabling and beneficial to all key players, and facilitating of perpetual learning and growth in all professional and personal capacities.
Abby is a junior at Pepperdine University majoring in Public Relations.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.