My Internship with Cottage Lane Kitchen by Arya Ranjan

My internship with a small business

For the past two years, I have been working alongside Samantha in Cottage Lane Kitchen, and it has been an experience I cherish wholeheartedly. Not only have I developed crucial skills that have helped me tremendously as I explore the world of business, I have also gained a love/passion for our brand as it grows.

While I started out as a high-school junior unsure of what help I could be to the company, as time has gone by we have both collaborated to create a harmonious system that enables me to help her in any way possible. Therefore, I wanted to share a little bit about what I have learned to other small-business owners who may find this concept of their interest.

Small businesses play a crucial role in the growth and development of the economy. As a small business owner, you understand the importance of finding creative ways to maximize resources and increase productivity. One way to achieve this is by offering internships to students seeking work experience. Internships provide numerous benefits for both the small business and the students. In this blog post, we’ll explore why internships are essential for small businesses and what small business owners need to know when starting a program or offering one.

Why Internships are Important for Small Businesses

  1. Fresh Perspectives: Interns bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the workplace. They come from different backgrounds and have different skill sets, which can lead to innovative solutions for small businesses. Something I have thoroughly enjoyed is having the chance to just be creative and propose my ideas to Samantha, who always encourages me to keep building on and improving my thoughts. 
  2. Future Talent Pool: Internships provide a unique opportunity for small businesses to identify and nurture future talent. If a student does a great job as an intern, further down the line they could start assisting you in a greater amount of tasks or tasks with more depth. 
  3. Networking Opportunities: Internships provide an opportunity for small business owners to network with academic institutions and other businesses. This can lead to partnerships and collaborations that can benefit the small business.

What Small Business Owners Need to Know When Starting a Program

  1. Determine Your Needs: Before starting an internship program, it's essential to determine your business’s needs. What skills do you need to develop within your business? What tasks can interns help with? Having a clear understanding of your needs will help you find the right interns for your business. I have done a range of tasks and have certainly learned a lot from each. Examples of these include creating and posting social media content, drafting email newsletters, doing research on different topics,  helping with giveaways etc. 
  2. Develop a Clear Structure: Develop a clear structure for your internship program. This includes the length of the internship, tasks the interns will perform, and what they would like to do. Samantha has always been super considerate in asking me what I have interest in doing, which has made the internship incredibly engaging and rewarding for me. As for organization, we rely on a Google Sheet to track and assign my work, which has worked seamlessly. 
  3. Provide Appropriate Training: Provide appropriate training for interns. This includes training on your company’s policies and procedures as well as any technical skills they may need to perform their tasks.
  4. Establish Clear Communication: Establish clear communication between the small business and the interns. This includes regular check-ins and feedback sessions to ensure the internship is productive for both parties. I always look forward to speaking with Samantha, since I know I will come off the call with new ideas or new exciting things to do. It also makes me feel active in the company. 
  5. Just Have Fun! Your intern will be happy to do whatever you hand them just because they know they are experiencing something fresh and unfamiliar. I have had an incredible amount of fun these past 2 years, and now I will continue to as I navigate working for Cottage Lane Kitchen.


Why Most High School and College Students are Looking for Experience and Value All Types of Learning

High school and college students are looking for experience and value all types of learning. They understand that gaining real-world experience can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Internships provide hands-on experience and a chance to develop skills that can be applied in future job searches.

In conclusion, internships are an excellent way for small businesses to access talent, bring fresh perspectives to the workplace, identify future talent, and network with academic institutions and other businesses. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, small business owners can start an internship program that provides value to both the business and the students.

As for me, Arya, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined, all thanks to this opportunity. Small businesses like yours make a large impact on the lives of students like me! 


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