Who We Are
The Business subgroup, established in 2019, moderates The Force Team’s finances and relationships within the community and with sponsors. This non-technical subgroup has an appreciable impact in organizing fundraising efforts and advertising the team brand. All throughout the year, these students record The Force Team’s income, spending, and estimate expenses to facilitate the team in reaching an annual predetermined fundraising goal that will accommodate the yearly budget.
In an email congratulating The Force Team’s qualification for the 2019 Detroit World Championship, Richard D. Barnes, Hollis-Brookline High School’s principal, described his intense impression of the Business subgroup:
Their communication via letters, social media, etc would be some examples. Highly professional correspondence. As you can imagine, I receive all kinds of correspondence for a variety of purposes. Their communication from a business standpoint stands out among the best...even among many of the adults.
The Business subgroup informs team members and sponsors of events that The Force Team will partake in within the community. Upcoming events are always reflected on the team’s calendar found here on the team’s website, another element that the subgroup works on.
This subgroup produces and refines all of The Force Team’s written works such as news articles, sponsor letters, and blog posts. With this responsibility, the Business subgroup strives for consistency and high-quality work. In order to guarantee consistent products, this subgroup manages team branding as well; making sure that all letters include the team’s iconic claw and the signatures of the two team co-CEOs. The majority of the writing produced by the subgroup goes through a strenuous process that usually takes around a week. The subgroup strongly believes that improvement is always possible, and strictly adheres to a rigorous editing process. Only after multiple editing revisions, peer feedback, collaboration, and source-checks, will a work be considered to be published or sent out to a news outlet. The Business’s productivity creates an effective work environment that boosts the quality and speed in which projects are completed or submitted.
Additionally, all team merchandise is proudly handled by Business students, who compile orders and manage merchandise designs. As promoting the team is a major part of fundraising, it is the students’ job to market the team and products appropriately. Though all of The Force Team’s products contain the claw, new competition t-shirts are designed annually to display the FIRST® Robotics Competition theme of the season. These shirt designs are submitted by all interested members, regardless of their subgroup, and voted upon. The designs are refined before the team orders the shirts. This way, all students have the same competition t-shirt that correlates to season’s game. The process has been very successful and is upheld every year, managed by the Business subgroup. As of 2018, an online merchandise store was created to expand the range of merchandise that The Force Team produces. The store enables a large variety of products to be designed, produced, and refined by students on the team. With this new system, a broader audience can be reached with the store’s online presence. This online merchandise can be accessed by not only team members, but also by the local community. Merchandise is a fundamental portion of The Force Team’s marketing.
The Entrepreneurship Award is another proudly handled task taken upon by the Business members. During the 2018-2019 Official Competition Season, this award consisted of writing a summarized business plan that displayed the team’s business aspects, as it is a very important part of the team. The creation of an up-to-date business plan ensures that the subgroup is informed of all aspects of the subgroup, as a large range of tasks are handled by these students. Furthermore, Business holds a bi-monthly SWOT analysis, along with more information on team funding and fundraising, between all members of the subgroup ensures that the team’s concerns are addressed and strengths are emphasized. Though this subgroup is relatively small in comparison to the size of the team’s technical subgroups, tasks are managed smoothly and efficiently. The Business students led Team 1073 to earning the Entrepreneurship Award at the 2019 New England District Championships.
May the Fourth Raffle
As one of the primary reasons The Force Team received the Entrepreneurship Award in 2019, the May the Fourth Raffle is a very lucrative and unique fundraising method for The Force Team. As this raffle is moderated by the Business subgroup members, the Business students are very involved in the process. Students are in charge of monitoring the sold tickets, making sure all team members contribute to sales, estimating the greatest prize money that could be obtained by the raffle winner, and manually inputting all of this data into a spreadsheet to be referred to when calculating analytics. All of this adds to the importance of this event for the team, as it not only is responsible for a large portion of team fundraising, but it also was a way for all team members to contribute to team fundraising.
Business members facilitate sponsor relationships through sending out informative emails and sponsor visits, both at the Hollis Brookline Middle School, where the team meets and works, and at competitions. Emails are fabricated and developed by students, and, after the finalizing process, are sent out and signed by the team’s co-CEOs. These emails contain information about the team’s past events or invite them to attend competitions that the team part takes in. Sponsors are also invited to the team’s “home base,” HBMS, where student members bring sponsors on a tour of the team’s workspace and summarizes the purpose of each subgroup.
As Business monitors finances, which ties into sponsor relations and budgeting, members are responsible for recognizing the importance of these elements and overseeing them accordingly. This entails directing efforts towards maintaining healthy relationships with sponsors through communication, tracking an annual budget, and fundraising.
During the summer after an official Competition Season ends, each VP from every subgroup puts together a budget of what they need and want for the upcoming year. Each item of the budget has a date in which it must be acquired, so that higher priority items can be addressed before lower priority ones. The Business VP and two co-CEOs review each item and cut out items accordingly in order to accurately project The Force Team’s annual operational costs. This becomes the budget for the year, and the total cost becomes the team’s prospective fundraising goal. Halfway through the school year, the budget is revisited. If the team hasn’t fundraised much at this point, the budget is abridged to remove the wants, but keep the necessities. The fundraising goal shrinks to accommodate this.
Various tasks are taken upon by different members, and these elements are overseen by their fellow members to help equally distribute goals. Students use resources to facilitate the procedure, expediting the process of writing letters, news articles, and emails. This allows for more to get done in a shorter amount of time, teamwork making long-term projects seems moderate. Overall, finances are the majority of what Business deals with, but actions are taken to ensure students are properly taken care of. All aforementioned processes are overseen by the subgroup’s VP, along with mentors and the co-CEOs, as it is a very important component of what makes Team 1073, The Force Team.